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June 9, 2003

Naturalization & Citizenship Records in Canada: What's Available

© Lorine McGinnis Schulze

The Canadian Citizenship Act began on 1 January 1947. From 1763 to that date, people born in the provinces and colonies of British North America were all British subjects. Thus immigrants from Great Britain and the Commonwealth did not have to be naturalized.

Before 1854
A few naturalization registers exist for Upper Canada (Ontario), for the years 1828-1850 only. A nominal card index is available at the National Archives of Canada. You can request a search by sending a written inquiry to

1854 to the present
Citizenship and Immigration Canada holds records of naturalization and citizenship from 1854. The originals of records dated between 1854 and 1917 have been destroyed. However a nominal card index survives. It provides information compiled at the time of naturalization, such as present and former place of residence, former nationality, occupation, date of certification, name and location of the responsible court. The index rarely contains any other genealogical information.
Records created after 1917 are more detailed, indicating the surname, given name, date and place of birth, entry into Canada, and in some cases, the names of spouses and children.

Requests for copies of naturalization/citizenship records should be mailed to:

Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Public Rights Administration
360 Laurier Ave West
10th Floor

You must be a Canadian citizen or an individual present in Canada. Each application for copies must be submitted on an Access to Information Request Form available from most Canadian public libraries and federal government offices. The cost is $5.00, payable to the Receiver General for Canada.

You must enclose a signed consent from the person concerned or proof that he/she has been deceased twenty years. Proof of death can be a copy of a death record, a newspaper obituary or a photograph of the gravestone showing name and death date.

You must include the following information: full name, date and place of birth, and if possible, the number of the Canadian citizenship or naturalization certificate.

For help finding your ancestors' Canadian Naturalization Records see

To search for Ships to Canada see

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© Lorine McGinnis Schulze

The Olive Tree Genealogy

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