Procedure for citizenship applicants unable to act on their own behalf

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.

Applicants who cannot understand the significance of becoming Canadian citizens may not be able to legally act on their own behalf. All applicants who are unable to act on their own behalf require a legal guardian to represent them. Minors under the age of 18 are usually represented by their parents.

If a citizenship officer believes an applicant cannot act on their own behalf, the applicant, parent or legal guardian (as required) should be given a Request for Medical Opinion form [CIT 0015].

For applications received at the Case Processing Centre in Sydney (CPC-S)

  • before June 11, 2015, use the Request for Medical Opinion form;
  • on or after June 11, 2015, use the Request for Medical Opinion for cases received on or after June 11, 2015 form [CIT 0547]

The applicant’s doctor must complete the form. In addition, a document confirming that the applicant is under the legal care of another person is required.

See also Guardianship.

Ensure applicant understands impact of citizenship

Officers and judges are responsible for ensuring applicants clearly understand the significance of the Oath and that becoming a Canadian citizen can result in the loss of other citizenships or succession rights.

Occasionally, an applicant may provide a medical opinion indicating that they cannot understand the significance of the Oath and yet appear to actually understand the significance. Before referring a waiver request to the Case Management Branch (CMB), the individual should be asked to provide clarification from their medical doctor.

In many cases, doctors complete the form incorrectly. Before requesting a waiver of the Oath, it should be confirmed that the applicant cannot understand the Oath even after it is explained in the applicant’s mother tongue.

Affidavit not required for minor

In the case of a minor over 14 years of age, if the citizenship officer is satisfied that the minor is prevented from understanding the significance of the Oath of Citizenship for reason of a mental disability, the case will be forwarded to the CMB for consideration with the usual documentation for waiver consideration. An affidavit is not required for minors as the person authorized by regulations to apply on behalf of the child (usually the parent) is the guardian.

Do not administer Oath or present certificate

Where it is apparent to an officer or judge at a citizenship ceremony that a person is not capable of understanding the significance of the Oath even when it is explained in their mother tongue, the Oath will not be administered and the certificate will not be presented. The citizenship officer will give the Request for Medical Opinion form to the guardian and, once the guardian returns it, refer the file to the CMB with their observations for consideration of a waiver of the Oath. For additional instructions, see Citizenship waivers: Medical opinions.

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