Naming procedures: Documents used to establish name records by business line

Temporary Resident or Permanent Resident

Passports and other travel documents

The vast majority of CIC applicants applying for temporary residence or permanent residence will have a passport in their possession. As an official document that shows the identity and nationality of a person for the purpose of facilitating international travel, the foreign passport is the primary document that shall be used to establish a name record for CIC purposes.

Please see how to read travel documents for:

  • how to use the Machine-Readable Zone (MRZ),
  • the Machine Readable Chip (MRC), and
  • the Visual Inspection Zone (VIZ) of a passport or travel document to determine the name that will be recorded in CIC systems of record

See Names structures and how to record them in GCMS procedures on how to establish a name using a passport.

In cases where an individual does not possess a passport, but has another travel document, the name recorded on that travel document will be used to establish the name for CIC purposes.

NOTE: Some passports or travel documents will contain an official amendment in the ‘Observations’ section of the travel document (for example, a married name). In such cases, the amendment should be relied upon to establish the name and the name in the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) of the passport must be recorded as the former name or AKA (alias) in CIC's system of record. For information on the MRZ, refer to How to read travel documents to determine the name that will be recorded in CIC systems of record.

Refugee claimants

Passport or other travel document issued by country of nationality

If the applicant holds a passport or travel document issued by their country of nationality, please refer to the procedures in Passports and other travel documents for Temporary Resident or Permanent Resident (above).

If no passport or travel document issued by country of nationality

If the applicant holds no passport or travel document issued by their country of nationality, use the name listed on other documents (or photocopies thereof) that they have provided, cross-referencing with the name the person has listed on their application forms.

If the applicant provides two or more non-travel documents or photocopies thereof and the names differ, or if the names on the documents differ from the one listed on the application forms, it is recommended that the applicant be asked to sign a statutory declaration attesting to their real name.

Protected Persons

Passport or other travel document issued by country of nationality

If the applicant holds a passport or travel document issued by their country of nationality, please refer to the procedures in Passports and other travel documents for Temporary Resident or Permanent Resident (above).

If no passport or travel document issued by country of nationality

In line with section 50 of the IRPR, if the applicant does not hold a passport or travel document issued by their country of nationality or if the applicant is stateless, the following documents may be accepted for the purpose of establishing the name record in CIC's system of record:

  1. an identity or travel document that was issued by a country to non-national residents, refugees or stateless persons who are unable to obtain a passport or other travel document from their country of citizenship or nationality, or who have no country of citizenship or nationality;
  2. a travel document that was issued by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland, to enable and facilitate emigration;
  3. a passport or travel document that was issued by the Palestinian Authority;

If the applicant is a protected person and does not possess any of the above-mentioned documents, please refer to Identity documents and statutory declarations below for guidance on determining the name that will be entered into CIC's system of record. (A statutory declaration must be witnessed by a Commissioner of Oaths.)

Identity documents and statutory declarations

Refugee selection overseas

Subject to Refugee claimants section above, the name will be recorded as written on the referral document from a recognized international referral body or a group that has signed an agreement with a CIC minister.

Protected Persons in Canada

Protected Persons who are applying for permanent residence and do not possess one of the documents listed in section 50 of the IRPR, Protected Persons: Passport or other travel document issued by country of nationality, Protected Persons: If no passport or travel document issued by country of nationality or Protected Persons: Identity documents and statutory declarations: Refugee selection overseas are required to produce one of the following documents, as laid out in subsection 178(1) of the IRPR, which will be used to establish the name record:

  1. any identity document issued outside Canada before the person's entry into Canada; or
  2. if there is reasonable and objectively verifiable explanation related to circumstances in the applicant's country of nationality or former habitual residence for the applicant's inability to obtain any identity documents, a statutory declaration (a statutory declaration must be witnessed by a Commissioner of Oaths) made by the applicant attesting to their identity accompanied by:
    • a statutory declaration attesting to the applicant's identity made by a person who knows the applicant, a family member of the applicant, or the applicant’s father, mother, brother, sister, grandfather or grandmother prior to the applicant's entry into Canada, or
    • the statutory declaration attesting to the applicant's identity made by of an official of an organization representing nationals of the applicant's country of nationality or former habitual residence attesting to the applicant's identity.

In accordance with 178(2) of the IRPR, such alternative documentation shall be accepted if:

  1. in the case of an identity document, the identity document
    • is genuine
    • identifies the applicant; and
    • constitutes credible evidence of the applicant’s identity.
  2. in the case of a statutory declaration, the declaration
    • is consistent with any information previously provided by the applicant to CIC or the Immigration and Refugee Board, and
    • constitutes credible evidence of the applicant's identity.

Refugee Assistance Program (RAP)

Persons who arrive in Canada as government assisted refugees

The name established during the permanent resident process and recorded as the primary name in CIC's system of record will be the name associated with the RAP record.

Children born to RAP recipients after arrival in Canada

If a child is born in Canada to an individual receiving assistance under the RAP program during the period of assistance, the child's name will be added to the record and the birth certificate issued by a Canadian province or territory will be used to establish the primary name for the child.

Grants of citizenship

Permanent residents

Immigration Record of Landing, COPR or Permanent Resident Card

For persons applying for an adult grant of citizenship under subsection 5(1) (adult), paragraph 5(2) (minor) or Section 11 (resumption) of the Citizenship Act and who are permanent residents, the name that was established during the immigration stream (on the Record of Landing, COPR or Permanent Resident Card), will be the name used for the citizenship record. Note that GCMS permits 50 characters for the family name(s) and 50 characters for the given name(s); therefore, if the name(s) are truncated on the immigration document please ensure that the name on the Certificate of Canadian Citizenship is either the full name or includes the maximum number of characters the system will print.

If the applicant has had an approved change of name as per "Change of name due to clerical/administrative error" section or a legal change of name as per "Change of name inside of Canada: Permanent residents, temporary residents and Canadian citizens" or "Change of name outside Canada: Permanent Residents and Foreign nations" section, the applicant must provide appropriate linking and supporting documentation in order to change their name in CIC systems. The name to be used as primary name in CIC's record is the name on the linking document.

Not Permanent resident

Birth certificate issued by a Canadian province or territory

In exceptional cases, an applicant born in Canada, who is not currently a permanent resident or Canadian citizen( for example, a person who formally renounced Canadian citizenship; or a person described in subsection 3(2) of the Citizenship Act), may request a discretionary grant of Canadian citizenship under subsection 5(4) of the Citizenship Act to alleviate special and unusual hardship or to reward services of an exceptional value to Canada. If they have not previously held a Certificate of Canadian citizenship, the primary document for establishing the name in CIC's system of record is a birth certificate issued by a Canadian province or territory. If the applicant requests a name other than the one on the birth certificate, for example, if the applicant holds a foreign passport that displays a name other than the one on the birth certificate, and requests that the name in the passport be indicated on the citizenship certificate, they must provide a document linking the name on the birth certificate to the name on the foreign passport.

Previous citizenship certificate

If a former Canadian, who once held a Certificate of Canadian Citizenship, is no longer a Canadian citizen and is not a permanent resident, and has applied to resume Canadian citizenship with a request for a discretionary grant under subsection 5(4) of the Citizenship Act to alleviate special and unusual hardship or to reward services of an exceptional value to Canada, the name will be recorded as it was on the applicant's previous citizenship certificate. If the applicant requests a name other than the one that was on the previous certificate, for example, if the applicant holds a foreign passport that displays a different name and requests that the name in the passport be indicated on the citizenship certificate, they must provide a document linking the name on the previous certificate to the name on the foreign passport.

Foreign passports or other travel documents

  1. For persons applying for a grant of citizenship under subsection 5(4) (discretionary grant) of the Citizenship Act who were not born in Canada and are not permanent residents, the primary document used to establish the name on the citizenship record is the foreign passport;
  2. In cases where an individual does not possess a passport, but has another travel document, the name recorded on that travel document will be used to establish the name on the citizenship record.
  3. In cases where an applicant who is a minor born in the United States and does not possess a passport or another travel document, the name recorded on the birth certificate will be used to establish the name on the citizenship record.

    Recognizing that there is no provincial health facility in certain remote border areas of Canada, the local Canadian provincial health authorities establish agreements with the facilities in USA to cover health services for Canadian residents. In cases like these, Canadian residents are asked to travel to US to give birth, thus resulting in the child having an American birth certificate and no other travel documents.

NOTE: Some passports or travel documents will contain an official amendment in the "Observations" section of the travel document (for example, a married name). In such cases, the amendment should be relied upon to establish the name and the name in the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) of the passport must be recorded as the former name or AKA (alias) in CIC's system of record. For more information on the MRZ, please refer to How to read travel documents (MRZ, MRC, VIZ section to determine the name that will be recorded in CIC systems of record.

Other immigration documents

For persons applying under subsection 5(1.3) (Canadian Armed Forces-persons attached or seconded) of the Citizenship Act, the name that was established during the immigration stream (on the Work Permit or Visitor Record), will be the name used for the citizenship record.

Adopted persons

Adoption orders

For persons applying for a grant of citizenship under section 5.1 of the Citizenship Act (for an adopted person), the primary document used to establish the name in the citizenship record is the adoption order.

Instances where the adoptive parents do not know the name of the child at the time the application is submitted to CIC

For overseas adoptions, there may be instances where the adoptive parents will not know the name of the child at the time Part 1 of the application is submitted to CIC. In these cases, the name record will be created in GCMS with the parents' family name(s) as the primary identifier and the word "unknown" as the secondary identifier (given name).

Once the child’s name is known, the temporary name indicated in GCMS, e.g. "unknown Smith" will be changed to "entered in error", and the primary name will be recorded in accordance with Adopted persons: Adoption orders section.

Certificate of Canadian Citizenship (proof of citizenship)

First-time proof application

Applicants seeking proof of citizenship for the first time may have been born outside of Canada to a Canadian parent, or inside Canada. The document used to establish the name record differs as indicated:

  1. Born outside Canada to a Canadian parent and resides in or outside of Canada
    1. For persons born outside of Canada to a Canadian parent, the primary document used to establish the name record is the applicant's foreign birth certificate.
    2. If the applicant is unable to provide a foreign birth certificate, the name indicated on their passport or travel document will be used to establish the name record.
    3. In rare instances when an applicant is unable to provide a foreign birth certificate, passport or other travel document, another authoritative national or federal document issued by the country of residence may be used to establish the name record.
  2. Born in Canada
    1. For persons born in Canada, the primary document used to establish the name record is a birth certificate issued by a Canadian province or territory.

NOTE: For persons born in or outside of Canada who changed their names from the name appearing in their birth certificate, please refer to Change of name for reasons other than clerical/administrative error sections for procedures to follow to change the applicant’s name with CIC.

Replacement certificates (also known as replacement proofs)

The name on the replacement certificate will be the same as indicated on the applicant's previous Certificate of Canadian citizenship, unless the applicant requests a change of name and meets the requirements set out in Change of name request section.

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