You May Be a Citizen : Canada Issues a Wake-Up Call

Friday, April 17, 2009 |


A new law is announced, Canada will grant citizenship Friday on what its government believes could be hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting foreigners, all around the world.

The April 17 amendment to Canada's Citizenship Act by design restores Canadian nationality to numerous people required to abandon it when they became citizens of another country. It also awards citizenship to their children.

Eligible individuals automatically become Canadian citizens. But they don't get proof of that citizenship unless they apply for it, meaning other countries -- including those that allow people to be citizens of only one nation -- won't be alerted, according to the immigration office spokeswoman. Those people also may renounce their citizenship rights, she said.

The Canadian government doesn't know the precise number or location of individuals affected by the legislation. But it believes most are U.S. citizens, a spokeswoman for Canada's immigration office said. U.S. Department of Homeland Security records show 240,000 Canadians were naturalized in the U.S. from 1948 to 1977; the new law fixes problems that occurred during those years.

Some such cases languished in litigation for years. Others surfaced in 2007, when new U.S. rules requiring passports for travel between Canada and the U.S. uncovered significant numbers of people who thought they were Canadian, but weren't. The old rules were "quite intricate," said Bill Janzen, an immigration lobbyist in Ottawa for the Mennonite Central Committee of Canada.

The new law offers citizenship to many individuals now in limbo. It also stops the previous practice of granting citizenship in perpetuity to children of Canadians born abroad, limiting

For More Information

For more information on the new immigration rules and whether they apply to you, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Web site

Disclaimer

Disclaimer: This site is designed to provide general information on Immigration and Settlement related issues. For latest information on immigration rules and laws, please visit appropriate immigration website(s).
 
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