Operational Bulletins 154 – September 1, 2009

Minors Who Do Not Have Proof of Canadian Citizenship and Who Need to Travel to Canada

This document has expired. Please refer to the appropriate Program Delivery Instructions for current information.

Background

Due to a variety of factors, some minor children of Canadian parents may need to travel to Canada before they are able to obtain proof of citizenship or a Canadian passport. This operational bulletin clarifies the procedure for visa offices processing such cases.

In general, provincial/territorial birth certificates and Canadian citizenship certificates are acceptable proof of citizenship for persons wishing to acquire a Canadian passport. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) issues Canadian citizenship certificates to citizens who file a proof application with the Department. Canadians most affected by the need to obtain a citizenship certificate are primarily those born outside Canada who are citizens by descent (through a parent).

Passport Canada has a policy whereby a limited validity passport may be issued to children under the age of two who have never been issued a proof of citizenship; provided they are satisfied the child is a Canadian citizen. Therefore, persons over two years of age will require a proof of citizenship before a Canadian passport can be issued; however, current processing times for overseas proofs may extend to more than a year.

Current policy and procedures

At present, and as outlined in section 20 of OP 11, facilitation (F-1) visas are used in the instances where new, replacement or emergency passports cannot be issued in a sufficiently timely fashion and where the travel is urgent, for the following persons:

  • Canadians in distress (lost/stolen documents);
  • dual nationals coming to Canada for the first time;
  • dual nationals who did not obtain a Canadian passport prior to leaving Canada; and
  • children born in Canada to foreign nationals who have returned to their country and do not wish to ‘claim’ the citizenship automatically granted to Canadian born children.

Since the implementation of Bill C-14 in December 2007, facilitation visas are also issued to children who go through the citizenship adoption process overseas and where their country of birth only allows them to leave on that country’s national passport.

New policy and procedure

Effective immediately, facilitation visas may also be issued to presumptive Canadians under the age of 18 years who are coming to Canada either to reside with their Canadian parent(s) or for humanitarian and compassionate reasons as determined by the visa officer. The person must be unable to obtain a new, replacement or emergency Canadian passport in a sufficiently timely fashion and the travel must be urgent. The person may or may not be travelling with the Canadian parent. The person must also be in possession of a valid foreign national passport or travel document in order for the facilitation visa to be issued. Satisfactory evidence (a Canadian passport, Canadian birth certificate, citizenship certificate, etc.) must be presented to prove that at least one parent is Canadian and the visa officer must be satisfied of the parent-child relationship.

Section 11 of the Immigration Refugee and Protection Act (IRPA) specifies that a visa officer must be satisfied that a person is a foreign national in order to issue a temporary resident visa (TRV). A foreign national is defined in IRPA as “a person who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, and includes a stateless person.” Someone who is a Canadian citizen is not, therefore, eligible for a TRV. There are, however, exceptional circumstances where CIC can facilitate the travel of a dual national by placing a facilitation visa counterfoil into the passport of the Canadian’s other nationality, including if there are evidentiary concerns with respect to a person’s Canadian citizenship. For example, if a child of a Canadian citizen has not yet obtained proof of Canadian citizenship, a facilitation visa can be issued where the identity of the child is not in question.

The issuance of a facilitation visa will not impact the citizenship status of an individual and has no effect on the official determination by CIC on an application for proof of citizenship.

It should be noted that these individuals should be counseled to submit an application for a citizenship certificate (proof of citizenship) as soon as possible, if they have not already done so. The facilitation visa issuance process should nonetheless be sufficiently rigorous to minimize the risk of admitting persons without status into Canada.

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