Replacing citizenship certificates that contain administrative errors

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

An applicant may ask for a replacement citizenship certificate if the original certificate is not acceptable because of an error by a citizenship official. This could include, for example, a misspelling or poor lamination for citizenship certificates issued before February 1, 2012. An applicant must surrender all original, previously issued certificates before receiving the replacement certificate.

After the ceremony results have been applied for all candidates who became Canadian citizens, if the certificate needs to be cancelled and a new certificate requires to be generated and printed because of an administrative error, only CPC-Sydney can perform these functions. Therefore local offices must complete the form Certificate(s) Returned for Correction(s) (CIT 1-0048), put a strike across the certificate with a black marker, leave the stroked certificate on file and transfer the file to CPC-Sydney for the correction, generating and printing of a new certificate. After the correction has been entered in GCMS, CPC-Sydney will send the certificate to the new citizen by mail. CPC-Sydney will require to place a Case Notes indicating "Destroyed and Replaced" as the reason for the cancellation in GCMS.

Note: All citizenship certificates issued before February 1, 2012 remain valid. It means that any Canadian who currently holds a citizenship certificate issued before then does not need to apply for a replacement

The same procedures apply after the certificate has been mailed by CPC-Sydney.

Procedures:

Fees and application process

A replacement certificate will be prepared free of charge if the applicant makes the request:

  • within 90 days from the date the oath was taken, or
  • within 90 days of the date the original certificate was mailed from CPC Sydney.

After 90 days, the applicant must complete an Application for a Citizenship Certificate (Proof of Citizenship under Section 3) and pay the appropriate fee.

Send requests to CPC Sydney (as soon as possible)

The request for a replacement certificate is sent to CPC Sydney with a note explaining why a replacement certificate should be issued. Any supporting documents should be included with the request.

The original certificate may be included with the request, or the original and replacement certificates may be exchanged at the citizenship office if the client requires the certificate for urgent purposes.

Citizenship records about applicants are designated as "essential records" by Library and Archives Canada. This means that these records must be microfilmed and a copy sent to them.

Once a record is microfilmed, the original documents are destroyed.

Surrender previous certificates

If the reasons for requesting a replacement certificate are other than theft, loss or destruction of the original certificates; the original naturalization, large, and miniature certificates must be returned for cancellation. They may either be surrendered at the time of application or exchanged at a citizenship office or through CPC Sydney.

The applicant must give a detailed account of the whereabouts of all previous certificates. Entries such as "lost at home" or "misplaced" are not acceptable. For example, if a certificate is "lost at home," the application must clearly indicate that a thorough search was made to find the certificate.

An applicant is not required to surrender a certificate of registration of birth abroad or a certificate of retention. These certificates were issued for registration as a citizen and retention of citizenship and are not citizenship certificates.

Commemorative certificates do not have to be returned.

Note: Reasons such as "lost at home" or "misplaced" are not acceptable. The application must clearly indicate that a thorough search was made to find the certificate.

Application by a minor for proof

As a cautionary measure, where a child is under 14 years of age, a parent should be encouraged to make or countersign the application or, alternatively, be advised that the child has made an application.

The responsibility for ensuring that this action occurs rests with the official processing the application.

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