Why Can’t I Get a Citizenship Card?

the citizenship card is closed

Canadian Citizenship Card

As of 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada retired the Citizenship Card and replaced it with the Citizenship Certificate. You cannot get a Citizenship Card anymore because Canadian Citizenship Cards are no longer issued.

Why Was the Canadian Citizenship Card Retired?

There are a number of reasons for the change from the old card to the new certificate:

Outdated Citizenship Cards

The cards were outdated. When the cards began to be issued, they made sense: a card contained your picture and some biographical information. But technology has improved so that now secure documents containing electronic information can be issued. The old cards were just physical IDs, they could not carry electronic information and they could be counterfeited too easily.

The New Canadian Citizenship Certificate is More Secure

There are additional security features on the Citizenship Certificate:

  • The certificate has a bar code which the old card lacked. When the bar code is scanned by the appropriate scanner, your vital statistics and your photos display on the computer, identifying you as who you say you are, and preventing the use of fraudulent certificates.
  • By making the certificate letter-sized, it discourages you from taking your certificate with you when you leave the house, unless you really need it. This is thought to reduce the number of lost certificates, as most people carried the old cards in their wallets; the cards could be easily lost. This change is reduce the number of lost certificates and, therefore, lower costs.

How to Take Care of Your New Citizenship Certificate Certificate

Once you get your new certificate, it is the only proof you have your citizenship. You should keep it safe, somewhere where you will not lose it and it won’t be found by someone else. Your certificate should only be presented as proof of citizenship when necessary, such as:

  • when applying for a Canadian passport,
  • or when demonstrating your Canadian citizenship to the federal, provincial or municipal government, or to your employer or your educational institution.

Nobody else should need to see it.

Can I still use my old Canadian Citizenship Card to apply for a passport?

As long as your card is legible and your picture is still visible, you can continue using your citizenship card as long as you want. You only need to replace it with a Citizenship Certificate if

  • you want the new certificate (you must destroy your old card)
  • your card is stolen (you must report this to the police before applying for a new certificate)
  • your card is lost
  • your card is damaged to the point where it cannot be read.

Need an easier way to get a replacement citizenship certificate?

Why not get some support?
1. We make sure everything is perfect! No returned applications.
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Riley Haas has been a leading expert since 2011 on immigration matters, with hundreds of publications online. Published author of three books about political philosophy, the Beatles and the Toronto Maple Leafs, respectively. BA from Bishop’s University, MA from McMaster University. You follow Riley on Substack https://rileyhaas.substack.com.