Dual Citizenship Canada

Canadian citizenship can be obtained by birth in Canada, birth abroad to a Canadian parent, adoption by a Canadian parent, or by naturalization. Canada has permitted dual citizenship since February 15, 1977, although those who lost Canadian citizenship before this date were not able to regain their citizenship until April 17, 2009.

Canada Dual Citizenship

How can you acquire Canadian citizenship?

Citizenship By City-of-birth


Generally, everyone who is born in Canada acquires Canadian citizenship, except for those born to diplomats.

Section 3(2) of the current Citizenship Act states that Canadian citizenship is not granted to a child born in Canada if, at the time of his/her birth, neither of his/her parents was a Canadian citizen or Canadian permanent resident and either parent was a diplomatic or consular officer or other representative or employee of a foreign government in Canada or an employee of such a person. But, if the parents' immigration status changes to permanent resident or if the parents naturalize, those children may be able to obtain citizenship.

Citizenship By Descent


Those that were born after February 15, 1977 to a Canadian parent outside Canada are automatically Canadian citizens by descent with the following limitation - if your Canadian parent was also not born in Canada and is a citizen by descent, you are not eligible for Canadian citizenship.

In short, Canadian citizenship by descent is limited to one generation born outside Canada.

It used to be the case that you could apply your 28th birthday to maintain your citizenship if your Canadian parent was also a citizen by descent. However, the 2009 changes to the citizenship laws cut off the ability of those born outside Canada to a Canadian parent who was also a citizen by descent to be citizens. Today, for citizenship by descent, you must be born to a Canadian parent who was either born in Canada or naturalized as a Canadian citizen.

Citizenship By Naturalization


Permanent residents can apply for naturalization if they meet the following requirements:

  • are age 18 or over;
  • have lived in Canada for a total of 1095 days during the four years preceding the application, including two years as permanent resident;
  • have sufficient knowledge of Canada (via a test);
  • are not subject to any criminal prohibitions;
  • are not war criminals;
  • are able to speak English or French;
  • they must attend a citizenship ceremony during the final stage of the application.

Assistance with naturalization is available through our partners at


Citizenship By Adoption


On June 22, 2007, Canada amended the Citizenship Act to allow adopted children the right to apply for immediate citizenship.

The relevant bill, Bill C-14, consists of four clauses. Clause 1 amends section 3 of the Citizenship Act so that adopted children who attain citizenship without first obtaining permanent resident status are Canadian citizens. Clause 2 applies to adopted children who are minors and also to those who are at least 18 years of age; it amends section 5 of the Citizenship Act and provides that, subject to certain conditions, the Minister shall grant citizenship to children who are adopted abroad after 14 February 1977. Clause 2 also has a special provision for adoptions that are under the jurisdiction of Quebec.