Can You and Should You Apply Online for Your Canadian Citizenship Certificate
Posted on 10/12/2021
The IRCC is trying to migrate to online applications for many of it’s programs, especially ones that deal with obtaining permanent residence status. Unfortunately, there have been glitches and difficulties in this attempted transition.
Here’s what you should keep in mind.
- This is a trial run, and you can still apply on paper.
- Because having a representative work with you in an online application is a process that still has bugs with it, the easiest way to do this is to apply on paper.
- However, applying on paper is slower than applying online, or at least in theory when the system is working properly, online applications should be processed faster.
- If you are going to do an online application, at the current time (late 2021) you have to input the information and upload the forms on your own pc. Your representative can’t do that for you.
So, if you find applying online a daunting task, you can always take the safer and slower option of applying on paper. If you do instead decide to try to apply online, we’ll give you some tips on how to try and approach an online application.
- Who can apply online for a citizenship certificate?
In the first place, you may not even be eligible to apply online. In the case of applying for a citizenship certificate, for example, you first have to answer a series of questions about where and when you were born, and even where and when your parents were born, as well as some additional questions. Only certain cases are allowed to apply online.
Example A: if you’re an adult and you were born in Canada – an apparently straightforward situation – you CANNOT apply online for a first-time citizenship and must apply on paper for a citizenship certificate.
To see who can apply online for a citizenship certificate, go here and begin selecting options on the various drop-down menus that appear, starting with the first one that asks you What would you like to do?
Example B: If you are an adult who was born outside Canada on or after February 15, 1977 to a Canadian biological parent who was born in Canada on or after February 15, 1977, then you can apply online for your citizenship certificate.
Example C: If you are an adult who was born outside Canada on or after February 15, 1977 to a Canadian biological parent who was born in Canada before February 15, 1977, then you CANNOT apply online.
Example D: If you are an adult who was born outside Canada on or after February 15, 1977 to a Canadian non-biological parent who was your legal parent at birth and who was born in Canada on or after February 15, 1977, then you can apply online for your citizenship certificate.
Example E: If you are an adult who was born outside Canada on or after February 15, 1977 to a Canadian non-biological parent who became your legal parent after your birth, then you CANNOT apply online.
There are dozens more examples we could give, but the best way to find out if you’re allowed to apply online for your citizenship certificate is to go the link above and answer the series of questions by selecting the answer that applies to your situation from the drop-down menu. It is clear from our 5 examples above, however, that online applications are very much a work in progress.
That means that if you feel overwhelmed by the options and detail of online applications you should probably choose to apply on paper, and additionally it is easier to appoint a representative to help you fill out the forms when you apply on paper.
- Tips on how to apply online
If you decide to apply online, and if you’re eligible to apply online, here are some helpful hints to get you going on your online application.
- If after answering the questions at the above-linked page, you get the green light to apply online you will see a link to your guide for online applications for a citizenship certificate. Open up the link and read the guide carefully.
- Unfortunately, they can be confusing. The guide begins by saying you can only apply online for a citizenship certificate if:
- You are applying for the first time, OR
- You are replacing a lost, stolen, or destroyed citizenship certificate
- However, if you were born in Canada they tell you that you have to apply on paper.
- You will also see a blue Create an account or sign in Click here to begin the process. You will have to open an account with IRCC in order to apply online.
- Go here and scroll down and click on the blue Register button on the LHS to create your IRCC account.
- To the right of the blue Register button, you’ll also see a red How to sign in or apply online Click it to open up a pop up menu with links to answers to some questions you might have.
- An important point to remember in general with online applications (not just for citizenship certificates) is that you have two types of forms to fill in:
- PDF forms that you fill in electronically and then upload to IRCC using your online application portal.
- Digital forms that you fill in and do NOT have to upload as they are already at the IRCC online portal.
- As well you normally have to upload supporting documents by taking a digital photo or scanning them and then saving them to your pc. You then upload those saved images of your supporting documents to the online portal.
- Only the following formats are acceptable for uploading documents:
- PDF; JPG; JPEG; PNC; DOC; & DOCX
- Make sure any upload images of your supporting documents are in one of these formats.
As you can see from our brief overview – we’ve left out some detail as it can get quite overwhelming – you need to be methodical and patient to put together an online application. You DO NOT have to do it at one sitting. Log in, do as much as you can, and then log out. And continue later on when you have more time. Depending on the type of application, it will take at least a week or two or longer to complete.
As mentioned above, you are NOT required to apply online for things like a citizenship certificate. You can and perhaps should apply on paper, if you are not comfortable using your pc to apply. Finally, while you may have to get an application within a certain time frame, if you’re not rushed you can always wait a few months to see if IRCC solves some of the bugs with their online applications.