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I do not know what to do, and I am stressed about the situation. I would appreciate some guidance or comments.

I was born in Canada, my father is Canadian and I lived there several years in my life (even worked there for a few months when I was a teenager). My mother is French and I also lived several years in France where I live now, and I have the dual citizenship. I also lived in South America where I got a child, about 3 years ago. From what I read in the official Canadian government websites, my child is Canadian and I should gather documents to get his proof of citizenship, which would allow him to get a Canadian passport. This is what I have done back in 2017, I sent the documents to the Canadian embassy in Paris and they sent them to the place that deals with the paperwork and delivers the proof of citizenship. Back at that time, the expected time to get a response from the Government was 18 months (1 year and a half), now it's been reduced to 8 months I think. It's written that if we do not get a reply within that time-frame, something is likely wrong and the response will likely be negative.

In my case it's been about two years now, so I emailed them a few months back and they could not provide any new information. The status is that it's still being decided, and that it is placed in the unusual cases, but there is no reason mentioned. I do not know why this could be the case at all. The only "strange thing" about my application is that, as described in my earlier question, my name differs between Canada and France due to (now outdated) laws. But I assume my case is far from the only one, since all it takes is to have had a composite family name in Canada and then the French transcription of birth, before the year 2000 or something like that. That's really the only thing that is a bit unusual that I can think of. In a way, it is similar to the case of a Chinese person who has his Chinese name transcribed in roman letters: his name differs between the two country governments.

So, I have paid (I can't remember if it was about 100 CAD or something like that), and more importantly, I have spent time doing all the paperwork. Now I started to work and I have very few free time to do all this paperwork, and I am becoming stressed that my child would be denied to have his proof of citizenship. If I either ask them again what the status is, or if I wait until I get a negative reply and retry to get his proof of citizenship done, I fear I will hinder his chances to ever get the proof of Canadian citizenship, for if he decides to move there when he gets older.

I do not want to hurt his chances. I do not know what to do. What should I do? Or, what could I possibly do? The waiting time is insane, this really makes no sense to me.

  • Can you describe the nature of the difference between your name in Canada and your name in France? – phoog Jul 26 at 12:55
  • @phoog In short my true last name is X Y where X is the last name of my mother and Y is the last name of my father. However this was forbidden in France before the year 2000, give or take a few years. For France my last name is Y, even though it is mentioned in the French birth certificate (I have the Canadian too) that my parents gave me the name X Y. – thermomagnetic condensed boson Jul 26 at 20:17
  • I suppose the important question is: which name is on your child's birth certificate? – phoog Jul 26 at 20:59
  • @phoog X, where it is said that I am French. I had to use my French passport with my French name else the South American authorities would not accept that I give my child the name X, which is what we (the parents) wanted. I sent a copy of my French birth certificate as well as my passport with which I made the birth certificate of my child, to the Canadian authorities. I also explained everything in a separate note to make things clear. – thermomagnetic condensed boson Jul 27 at 6:49
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The Canadian government webpage on this is quite clear. Your child, born outside Canada after April 17, 2009, is a Canadian citizen because you were born in Canada.

If I either ask them again what the status is, or if I wait until I get a negative reply and retry to get his proof of citizenship done, I fear I will hinder his chances to ever get the proof of Canadian citizenship, for if he decides to move there when he gets older.

If you ask again about the status, it cannot change the law, nor the facts of your child's birth. It should not jeopardize your child's chances.

If you get a negative reply, it will presumably be because of some administrative error or some perceived deficiency in the evidence you presented, and you will need to appeal or reapply. But nothing you can do now will affect the probability of a negative reply, nor will it affect the probability of success in an appeal or a new application.

What should I do? Or, what could I possibly do?

A time-tested way of getting things done in both the US and the UK, so I presume also in Canada, is to seek help from the staff of a member of the legislature. US congressional representatives have employees who do this sort of thing full time. I know British MPs also have staff members for this, but I don't know whether they do it full time. I also know that it could be difficult for you as a nonresident to avail yourself of such services since there may not be anyone in the Canadian parliament who represents you. But if I were you I would pick someone, either a representative of some place with which you have a family or other connection, if there is such a place, or someone whose legislative portfolio indicates an interest in Canadians living outside the country. You can find MPs at https://www.ourcommons.ca/Parliamentarians/en/constituencies/FindMP. One of them, Ahmed Hussen, is the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

Another possible course of action would be to engage a lawyer to sue the government and get a judge to recognize your child's Canadian citizenship or to order the government to do so, or to order them at least to complete the processing of your application. I don't know much about Canada's legal system, but I suspect that this should be possible. It is of course likely to be expensive, so you probably won't want to do it before your son actually plans to go to Canada.

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I agree with @phoog's Answer. I write to add an observation about timeliness.

Anglo-American law contains the doctrine of laches, pronounced like the things that hold garden gates closed. Laches is the idea that one shouldn't delay in asserting rights. This isn't a statute of limitation (generally a hard date by which a right must be claimed in court), but instead a less rigid assessment.

Laches first appeared only in courts of equity, and those courts looked at equitable issues to decide if the plaintiff/petitioner could move forward with the claim: for example, did the delay in asserting the right prejudice the defendant?

Claims unknown at common law are pleaded in equity. Because claims of citizenship were probably unknown to common law, the OP's claim of citizenship for his child may well be an equitable claim even though grounded in current adopted-by-Parliament law.

I'm a retired California attorney, and not familiar with Canadian law. While it may be true that the OP's child is automatically a Canadian citizen, proving the issues to a Canadian court will require evidence. The passage of time degrades evidence, both oral and written. I don't know if or how the Canadian courts apply laches, nor if its application is limited to only equitable claims or now oozes over into legal claims as well.

A Canadian court might apply the doctrine, and might find that delay here did prejudice the Canadian government. The applicant can ameliorate that problem by bringing the issue up now. At a minimum, however, the applicant should now consult with a Canadian solicitor to confirm that waiting (perhaps years until the child wishes to go to Canada) will not adversely affect the claim.

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