Revocation of citizenship

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the IRCC website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act (SCCA) introduces new grounds for revocation of citizenship and provides for a streamlined revocation process. Previously, the citizenship revocation process generally involved three steps: the Minister, the Federal Court, and the Governor in Council. Under the new revocation process, the Governor in Council will no longer have a role except for some transitional cases.

The new process has two decision-making streams:

  • the vast majority of revocation cases will be decided by the Minister;
  • certain complex cases will be decided by the Federal Court.

The new process comes into effect on May 28, 2015. Existing revocation cases will be processed according to transitional provisions.

Note: The Case Management Branch handles all cases considered for revocation of citizenship. Local office staff are not involved with these types of cases, other than to alert the Case Management Branch should information come to their attention regarding a case that should be investigated for possible revocation.

Grounds for revoking citizenship

Canadian law allows for revocation in certain circumstances. Subsections 10(1) and 10.1(1) of the Citizenship Act provide that a person’s citizenship or renunciation of citizenship may be revoked if the person obtains, retains, renounces, or resumes citizenship by

  • false representation;
  • fraud; or
  • knowingly concealing material circumstances.

Citizenship may also be revoked if a person (who is a dual citizen), before or after the coming into force of subsections 10(2) and 10.1(2) and while the person was a Canadian citizen,

  • was convicted of terrorism, high treason, treason, or spying offences, depending on the sentence received; or
  • served as a member of an armed force of a country or as a member of an organized armed group and that country or group was engaged in armed conflict with Canada.

Revocation and Canada’s international obligations

Article 8 of the United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness states that a state is not in breach of its obligations should it render a person stateless for having obtained the status through fraud or misrepresentation.

In order to comply with Canada’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, subsection 10.4(1) of the SCCA provides that revocation of citizenship on the grounds of being convicted of terrorism, high treason, treason, or spying offences, or of being a member of an armed force or organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada will apply only to persons with dual citizenship. The Minister must have reasonable grounds to believe that the person is a citizen of another country before pursuing revocation under these grounds. Subsection 10.4(2) of the SCCA provides that the onus rests with the individual to prove, on a balance of probabilities, that they are not a citizen of another country.

Status of person under revocation proceedings

A person under revocation proceedings remains entitled to all rights and privileges of Canadian citizenship until the person’s citizenship is revoked. Under the new model, the date the person’s citizenship is revoked is either the date of the Minister’s decision to revoke citizenship or the date of the declaration by the Federal Court. For transition cases that still require a decision from the Governor in Council, the person’s citizenship is revoked on the date of the Order in Council.

Renunciation of Canadian citizenship during the revocation process

A person may not make an application to renounce their Canadian citizenship if they were given notice of the Minister’s intention to revoke citizenship or if the Minister has commenced an action seeking a declaration from the Federal Court.

If a renunciation application is made and the Minister subsequently provides the applicant with a notice to revoke citizenship or commences an action for a declaration from the Federal Court, the processing of that application is suspended until a decision is made on the revocation.

Refer to Renunciation of citizenship for the specific procedures to follow in such cases.

Status of a person post-revocation

If the person’s citizenship was revoked due to false representation or fraud or knowingly concealing material circumstances during the citizenship process only (e.g., lying about residence in Canada during the relevant period), the person becomes a permanent resident as per subsection 46(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Revocation in such situations does not itself jeopardize the right of the person to remain in Canada; however, the person must meet all obligations under the IRPA. For the residency obligation under the IRPA, the five-year period begins on the date the person becomes a permanent resident. If the person’s citizenship was revoked on the grounds they became a permanent resident by false representation or fraud or knowingly concealed material circumstances, the person will revert to foreign national status. If the false representation or fraud or concealing of material circumstances was with respect to a fact described in sections 34, 35 or 37 of the IRPA, the Federal Court, in certain cases, may also declare the person inadmissible and issue a removal order.

If the person is a dual citizen and the person’s Canadian citizenship was revoked due to convictions for terrorism, high treason, treason, or spying offences, depending on the sentence received, or for serving as a member of an armed force of a country or organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada, the person becomes a foreign national.

If the person, who is a foreign national, is in Canada once citizenship has been revoked, the person is in Canada without status. The person may be reportable under subsection 44(1) of the IRPA and may be subject to removal from Canada.

Impact of revocation on future citizenship applications

Any person whose citizenship is revoked for false representation, fraud, or knowingly concealing material circumstances (including in the permanent resident process) must wait 10 years from the date of revocation before applying for citizenship. A person whose citizenship was revoked cannot apply for resumption of citizenship under subsection 11(1). The person must meet all requirements of the Citizenship Act under subsection 5(1).

Any person whose citizenship is revoked due to a conviction for terrorism, high treason, treason, or spying offences, depending on the sentence received, or for serving as a member of an armed force of a country or an organized armed group engaged in armed conflict against Canada is permanently barred from being granted citizenship.

Notification of partners following revocation

The Case Management Branch advises the Operations Support Centre and partners (including the Passport Program, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police [RCMP], and the Canada Border Services Agency [CBSA]) once citizenship has been revoked, as necessary.

Transitional provisions

The transitional provisions in the SCCA indicate that, if on the day immediately before the new provisions come into force, the Minister was entitled to make or had made a report to the Governor in Council, revocations are to be dealt with and disposed of under the former legislation. This means that for cases where the Federal Court has made a determination that the person obtained citizenship by fraud, or where the person did not request that the Minister refer the case to the Federal Court and the time for making such a referral has expired, CIC must continue to proceed to the Governor in Council with these cases.

Any revocation proceedings that are pending before the Federal Court under the former legislation must be disposed of in accordance with that legislation. For these cases, if the Federal Court determines that citizenship was obtained on the basis of fraud, false representation, or knowingly concealing material circumstances, the Minister will prepare a report to the Governor in Council. The Governor in Council will decide whether or not to revoke citizenship.

However, any revocation proceedings that are pending before the Federal Court with respect to allegations of false representation, fraud, or knowingly concealing material circumstances with respect to facts described in sections 34, 35, or 37 of the IRPA are to continue under the new revocation model, with the Federal Court making the revocation decision. Under these cases, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness may become involved.

For any case not captured in the above-mentioned transitional provisions and where a notice of intent to revoke citizenship was given under the former legislation, that notice is cancelled and any proceedings arising from it are terminated. Such cases are to proceed under the new model. The Minister may send a Notice of Intent to Revoke Citizenship or a Notice of Intent to Seek a Declaration of the Federal Court.

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