Naturalized Citizen versus Born Citizen in Canada
Kiarash was born in Ottawa, Canada, in 1983. His parents were both international students from Iran. They completed their studies and left without applying for immigration. Kiarash was only four months old when his parents left Canada for good. Kiarash has never travelled to Canada and does not hold any Canadian documents other than his birth certificate. A friend of Kiarash recently told him he is a Canadian citizen. He wonders if this is true.
Many people around the world consider Canadian citizenship a privilege. One of the reasons that people immigrate to Canada is to become Canadian citizens. They leave their home country, their language, their relatives, and sometimes their culture and beliefs behind to pursue a new life which eventually turns them into Canadian citizens.
People could become Canadians either by birth or through naturalization. The Canadian Citizenship Act calls naturalization, citizenship by way of grant.
Who is a Canadian By BIRTH?
There are two ways that a person becomes a Canadian by birth. If someone is born in Canada, then they automatically become a Canadian citizen. The only exception is when one of the parents is a foreign country employee or diplomat, and the other is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.
The other option for citizenship by birth is for those born outside Canada, but at least one of their parents is a first-generation Canadian. You are a first-generation Canadian if you are either born inside Canada or become a Canadian by way of naturalization.
Who is a Naturalized Citizen?
Put, a naturalized citizen immigrates to Canada first and then, after a few years, applies and becomes a Canadian citizen. For example, according to the existing regulations, if you are a landed immigrant and have spent at least three years in Canada in the past five years, you may apply for citizenship. The next steps usually involve submitting documents, taking a citizenship test, and eventually taking the Oath of Citizenship (or attending the Citizenship ceremony).
Children under 18 could become naturalized citizens when their parents become Canadians.
What are the Differences Between Naturalized and Born CITIZENS?
Federal and provincial laws and courts treat naturalized and born citizens equally. Both groups have similar responsibilities and privileges. Nobody in the country could treat such citizens differently. Nonetheless, there are specific differences that you need to keep in mind:
- If a naturalized citizen has obtained their permanent residency or citizenship fraudulently, then immigration authorities may revoke their citizenship.
- A naturalized citizen cannot hold a Canadian birth certificate.
- A naturalized citizen may be treated by other countries differently due to their place of birth, despite their Canadian citizenship.
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Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada
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