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New Changes to Canadian Citizenship Laws Impact Foreign Born Children

New Canadian Citizenship laws for foreign-born children

Canadian Citizenship laws will likely be changing over the next few months. These changes will have consequenses for many prospective Canadian citizenship applicants, especially for children born outside of Canada.

Generally, these changes have impact both foreign born children adopted by Canadian citizens, as well as children born to Canadian citizens abroad.

Who will not be Affected by the Canadian Citizenship Changes

There are exemptions however:  if you are an expatriated government employee or a member of the Canadian Forces on assignment out of the country when a child is born, the child remains a Canadian citizen regardless. The new rules also do not apply to anyone who has already received their citizenship.

Who will be Affected by the Canadian Citizenship Changes

Canadians who are not Canadian-born, wishing to adopt foreign-born children will be impacted. This is especially relevant if you are about to become an expatriate (even to the U.S) or were adopted by a Canadian citizen:

  • if a person born outside Canada and adopted by a Canadian parent has a child outside Canada, that child will not be a citizen by birth;
  • if a person born outside Canada and adopted by a Canadian parent adopts a child outside Canada, that child will not be eligible to apply for citizenship under the adoption provisions of the Citizenship Act; and
  • if a person born outside Canada to a Canadian parent, in the first generation born abroad, adopts a foreign-born child, that adopted child will not be eligible to apply for citizenship under the adoption provisions of the Citizenship Act.

The purpose of the new legislation as outlined in a Globe and Mail article states that “The regulations, which follow an immigration law passed by Parliament last year, are aimed at keeping foreign-born Canadians from passing citizenship to children while living outside Canada.”

Who may benefit from the new rules

There are those that will be positively affected by the new legislation. Some people who have had their citizenship revoked may be eligible to get it back under the new rules:

  • People who became citizens when the first citizenship act took effect on January 1, 1947, including people born in Canada prior to 1947, war brides, and other British subjects who had lived in Canada for at least five years before 1947 and who then lost citizenship;
  • People who were born in Canada or who became Canadian citizens on or after January 1, 1947, and who then lost their citizenship; and
  • People who were born outside Canada, on or after January 1, 1947, in the first generation born abroad, to a parent who was a Canadian citizen at the time of the birth.

So if you qualify under the new Canadian citizenship rules, make sure to hold off on submitting your Citizenship application until April 17, 2009 when the legislation is scheduled to come into effect.

The bottom line is that when going through any kind of immigration or citizenship application, awareness of the current laws is essential. A knowledgeable applicant is far more likely to succeed as well as have their application processed faster.

For more information on the proposed rules, you can visit Canada immigration at   http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/citizenship/rules-citizenship.asp. or contact an immigration lawyer about the new Canadian citizenship changes.

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About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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