The process to renounce your Canadian citizenship takes about 15 months and costs $100 – with certain exceptions we explain below. Not everyone can renounce their citizenship as there are a few conditions that must be met:
- You must already be a citizen of another country, or you will become one after you renounce your Canadian citizenship.
- You cannot be living in Canada.
- You have to be 18 or older.
- You cannot be a threat to Canada’s security, nor can you be involved in “a pattern of criminal activity” (a part of organized crime). In other words, if you are deemed a threat to security or part of organized crime, you are forced to remain a citizen of Canada and suffer the legal consequences.
- You can’t be subject to revocation of citizenship. This is important to understand. You cannot use renunciation to shortcut a revocation of citizenship.
- You have to be mentally capable of understanding the consequences of renouncing your Canadian citizenship. However, the Minister may occasionally overrule this requirement on compassionate grounds.
There are 2 application packages depending on what situation you’re facing:
Application Package I: You voluntarily wish to give up your citizenship. Go here to download your application package and start the process. It includes the following:
- Your Document Checklist – form cit0402. Download and print it to make sure your application is complete.
- Your Application to Renounce Canadian Citizenship – form cit0302
- Your Instruction Guide – Guide cit0302 is available online here.
- Photo specifications – go here and click on the Renounce (give up) citizenship option to see the instructions. You need 1 colour, printed photograph done by a professional photographer. Print the page with the instructions and take it to the photographer.
- Use of a Representative – form IMM 5476 – if applicable.
- Request form for a Change of Sex or Gender Identifier – form irm0002 (optional)
Read the guide thoroughly. Then fill out form cit0302 and use the Document Checklist to ensure you have the other required forms and documents. Make sure your photographs are to the required specifications. Remember to sign and date your forms and pay the fees.
To submit your application (it is a paper application):
If you are living in Canada or the United States, send it to the following address:
Case Processing Centre – Sydney
P.O. Box 10000
SYDNEY NS B1P 7C1
If you live outside Canada or the United States, then send it to the nearest Canadian embassy, consulate, or high commission for processing.
Application Package II: You were automatically given Canadian citizenship as a result of changes to Canada’s citizenship rules and regulations in 2009 and 2015, and you don’t want to have Canadian citizenship. In this case, you need to download a different application package found here. Further, you do not have to pay any fees. Use the specific guide for this second type of renunciation found here – Guide cit0496.
It is a very complex matter finding out if you should apply to renounce under this second category. First, you have to use the guide to see if your specific case matches the 10 different scenarios listed in Guide cit0496. In all the scenarios, however, you are a person who automatically became a Canadian citizen in 2009 or 2015, and you wish to renounce your Canadian citizenship.
The documents you need to submit will depend on which listed situations best describe your case. Use the Document Checklist – form cit0501 to see which documents you need.
What happens after I submit my application?
Depending on how complex your case is, you may be asked to provide more documents/information and sometimes, you may have to attend an interview with an IRCC officer. If an interview is required, you’ll be contacted by mail by IRCC. If you live outside Canada, the embassy, consulate, or high commission will contact you.
If your application is still being processed, you can withdraw your application using form cit0027E – Withdrawal of citizenship application. You should include your printed receipt for the $100 fee in the envelope. Check to see if your application has been sent to the local IRCC office and if not, send it by mail to:
Withdrawal of Application
CPC – Sydney
P.O. Box 12000
By courier send it to the following address:
Withdrawal of Application
CPC – Sydney
49 Dorchester Street
If your application has already been sent to a local IRCC office, then you should refer to the letter from IRCC confirming receipt of your complete application, to see what office will be handling your application. Send it to that office.
If your application is approved in either case (application package 1 or application package 2), you will receive a certificate of renunciation from IRCC.
What happens if you renounce your citizenship?
The consequences of renouncing your citizenship are that you lose all rights and privileges as a Canadian. If you want to return to live in Canada, you have to apply for permanent residence and be accepted as a permanent resident. If you want to visit Canada, you have to apply for a visitor visa or at least an eTA, depending on what country you are now a citizen of. To work or study, you’ll need a permit.
Can you regain Canadian citizenship after renouncing?
Yes. You have to file what is called: Application to resume Canadian citizenship under subsection 11(1) – form cit0301. You can’t use this, however, if your citizenship was revoked. To qualify for this option, you need:
- Have previously been a Canadian citizen
- Have you lost your citizenship by means other than revocation
- Not be under a removal order
- Have become a permanent resident of Canada (by applying like any other foreign national)
- Have fulfilled the conditions of your permanent resident status and been physically present in Canada for the required time.
- Have filed income taxes in Canada for at least 1 year before applying
- Not be subject to any prohibition under the Citizenship Act.
In other words, it will take you the better part of a decade to resume Canadian citizenship through this permanent residence route (assuming you’re successful at obtaining PR status).
What are the benefits of relinquishing your Canadian Citizenship?
The main benefits have to do with the citizenship that replaces your Canadian citizenship and how it might apply to your personal situation. However, for most people, there are few benefits to relinquishing their Canadian citizenship.
What are the drawbacks of renouncing your Canadian citizenship?
You lose the right to live, work, and travel freely in one of the world’s most stable, prosperous, tolerant, and diverse countries.
What application do I need to fill out to give up my Canadian citizenship (Passport)?
As we explained above, there are two application packages. You will either fill out form cit0302 – Application to Renounce Canadian Citizenship; OR you will fill out form 0496 – Application to Renounce Canadian Citizenship – R7.1.
How much does it cost to renounce Canadian citizenship?
The fee is $100 if you are using form cit0302. However, if you are using form cit0496, there is no fee.
How long can you stay outside of Canada without losing your Canadian citizenship?
As long as you want. In the past, there were limits to how long a Canadian could live outside of Canada, but those have been repealed. There are now no limits to how long you can stay abroad as a Canadian citizen.
Why would someone renounce their Canadian citizenship?
A significant reason is that the citizenship requirements of another country might conflict with the person holding Canadian citizenship. Some countries do not allow dual citizenship, and the person is thus forced to choose. There are some who renounce citizenship for financial/tax reasons.
How to renounce Canadian citizenship urgently?
Fill out the application forms as you usually would but additionally, write the following in dark letters on the envelope:
Urgent – Renunciation of Canadian Citizenship
However, if your application has already been sent and is being processed, you’ll have to go here to fill out IRCC’s Webform and give a detailed explanation of why you need urgent processing of your application to renounce your Canadian citizenship.
How to give up your Canadian Passport, and is it the same as renouncing your citizenship?
If you renounce your citizenship, you can no longer hold a Canadian passport. You don’t directly renounce your passport, rather you renounce your citizenship.
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.