Living In Canada

How to Get Canadian Citizenship Through Grandparent

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In 2009, the Canadian government made changes to the way that people could obtain citizenship through their grandparents.

Before the changes, people could become Canadian citizens if one of their grandparents is a citizen of Canada even if they were born outside Canada.

However, the 2009 changes brought in a lot of limitations to how people obtain Canadian citizenship through grandparent.


The changes limited Canadian citizenship by descent or through ancestors to the first generation.

This means that if you were born outside of Canada to a Canadian parent (born outside of Canada) and were not a Canadian citizen by April 17, 2009, you would be the second or the later generation born outside of Canada.

And therefore will not automatically become a Canadian citizen.

Unless your Canadian parent or grandfather worked in specific occupations, you can be an exception to the first-generation restriction.

For example; if at the time of your birth, your Canadian parent was

  • Gainfully employed outside of Canada and was not a locally engaged individual (a crown servant).
  • Involves the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • With the federal government
  • With a province public service

Other exceptions to this rule exist and you can find all of them here

Citizenship by descent

Citizenship by descent is a process by which an individual can obtain citizenship through their ancestors.

This is typically done by proving that one’s ancestor was a citizen of the country in question.

Citizenship by descent (or grandparent or ancestors) is different from naturalization, which is the process by which an individual becomes a citizen of a country without having any ancestors who were citizens.

In Canada and many other countries that allow citizenship by descent, citizenship by descent is an attractive option for those who wish to obtain citizenship where they have family ties.

It is a faster and easier way to obtain Canadian citizenship than going through the standard naturalization process.

And if you have a grandparent that is a Canadian and you were born before the April 17, 2009 citizenship act took effect, you are lucky because you may also qualify for citizenship by descent.

But if you were born before the act took effect, all hope is not lost, here is how you can obtain Canadian citizenship through grandparent.

How to get Canadian citizenship through grandparent

To get Canadian citizenship through grandparent you can follow the steps below:

  1. Ensure you have ancestral ties with Canada
  2. Gather all of the required documents.
  3. Start your application process
  4. Ensure you meet the residency requirements
  5. Attend your interview and take a citizenship test.
  6. Wait for your result

You have to be clear on each step and ask questions where you feel confused to avoid mistakes this is because a single mistake can prove costly in the end.

  • Ensure you have ancestral ties with Canada

To obtain Canadian citizenship through a grandparent, you must have family ties with Canada.

You must have at least one Canadian parent or grandparent so you need to find out if your parent or grandparent is a Canadian citizen right now.

Once you confirm your status and that at least (one of) either your parent or grandparent is a Canadian.

You can then confirm your date of birth, your birth certificate (government recognized) will assist greatly at this point.

If you were born before April 17, 2009, when Canada introduced its new act of citizenship by descent, which is known as the first generation rule, you can obtain it through your grandparents.

  • Gather all of the required documents.

The documents will differ depending on your condition, but generally, this will include a birth certificate, proof of Canadian citizenship for your parent or grandparent, and any other documents that may be required.

Once you have all of the required documents, you can then begin the application process.

  • Start your application process

The process for applying for Canadian citizenship through your grandparent may vary depending on your country of origin and your condition.

Generally, you will need to complete an application form and submit it to the Canadian government.

The form itself is not overly complex, but it does require some basic information about your grandparent and their Canadian citizenship.

In addition, you will need to fill out and attach proof that you are related to your grandparents, such as a birth or marriage certificate.

While filling out your form, there are a few things you should know.

First and foremost, you must not lie on your application.

Lying on any official documents is a serious offense and can result in your application being denied.

Be honest about your reasons for wanting to become a citizen and about your criminal history, if any.

In addition, you must not submit any fraudulent documents.

This means; do not alter any documents or create false ones.

Any fraud will be discovered during the review process and will result in your application being denied.

Finally, you must not forget to sign your application.

A forgetting to sign is a small mistake but it can result in your application being rejected.

So be sure to double-check before you submit it.

By following these simple guidelines, you will ensure that your application stands a chance.

  • Ensure you meet the residency requirements

Depending on your situation, residency requirements are not a must but if it’s required of you.

Ensure you meet it before applying.

In most cases, you must be physically present in Canada for at least four out of the last six years before you can apply for citizenship.

If you have been living outside of Canada for too long, your application will be denied.

  • Attend your interview and take a citizenship test.

This step is not for everyone, it purely depends on the situation surrounding your application.

You may attend an interview and take a citizenship test as part of the process.

The test covers topics such as Canadian history, geography, government, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

To help you prepare, you can find study guides and practice tests on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

  • Wait for your result

After filling out and submitting your application you may be wondering how long you will have to wait for your results.

The processing time for this type of application can vary depending on several factors, but the average processing time is about 6 to 12 months.

If your application is taking longer than the average processing time, there are a few things you can do to check on the status of your application.

You can contact the Citizenship and Immigration Canada office that is processing your application.

You can check the status of your application online on the Canadian government website.

Once your application has been reviewed and it is successful, you will then be required to take the Oath of Citizenship and officially become a Canadian citizen.

In Conclusion

The April 2009 citizenship act limits the citizenship options for those who have family ties in Canada and wish to get Canadian citizenship through grandparent.

The new regulation makes it impossible for you to automatically become a Canadian citizen if you are born outside Canada to Canadian parents who were also born outside Canada.

Consequently, you would be a second or later-generation Canadian born abroad.

Canadian Citizenship in this regard is only applicable to first-generation.

The new regulation has caused some difficulty for people who have legitimate claims to Canadian citizenship through their grandparents.

But the new rule is clear on its stands and remains so until further changes are made.


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