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Government of Canada introduces legislation for citizenship by descent

May 23, 2024—Ottawa—Canadian citizenship is highly valued around the world. It provides the right to vote, to run for political office and to hold a Canadian passport. For many immigrants, citizenship is key to integration. It also provides a sense of belonging to a diverse and inclusive country built on the principles of democracy, equality and multiculturalism.

Legislative changes in 2009 amended the Citizenship Act to add a first-generation limit to citizenship by descent, which means that a Canadian citizen parent can pass on citizenship to a child born outside Canada if they were either born in Canada or naturalized before the birth of the child.

As a result of the first-generation limit, Canadian citizens who were born outside Canada cannot pass on citizenship to their child born outside Canada, and cannot apply for a direct grant of citizenship for a child born outside Canada and adopted.

Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, introduced legislation that would extend citizenship by descent beyond the first generation in a way that is inclusive and protects the value of Canadian citizenship.

This legislation would automatically confer Canadian citizenship to persons born abroad to a Canadian parent who is also born abroad prior to the coming into force of this legislation. It would also extend access to a direct grant of citizenship to children born abroad and adopted by a Canadian parent beyond the first generation. Following the coming into force of the legislation, parents born abroad who have or adopt children also born outside Canada will need to have spent at least 1,095 cumulative days of physical presence in Canada prior to the birth or adoption of their child to pass on citizenship.

Bill C-71, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (2024), would also restore citizenship to “Lost Canadians”—individuals who lost or never acquired citizenship as a result of outdated provisions of previous citizenship legislation. Bill C-71 would also provide citizenship to the descendants of “Lost Canadians” and to anyone born abroad to a Canadian parent in the second or subsequent generations, before the legislation comes into force.


People who may be impacted by the changes proposed in Bill C-71, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (2024), will no doubt have questions about what this means for them and their families. If the bill passes in Parliament and receives royal assent, we will work as quickly as possible to implement these changes and will provide more information for eligible individuals on our website.

Link:, dated May 23, 2024 11:12 am

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