The Remission of Citizenship Fee
On January 24, 2007, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration announced that the authorities would take immediate action for addressing the situation of individuals who had discovered that they did not have Canadian citizenship, after living in Canada for most of their lives. A number of people began enquiring about the need for proving their citizenship because of:
- The recent need to have a passport to fly to the United states and,
- The increased interactions with entitlement issuing government departments
In some situations, the authorities determined that these individuals never were citizens, while in other cases, the authorities found that these individuals had long ceased to be citizens. In both situations, these individuals had held reasonable but mistaken beliefs that they were Canadian citizens.
The Citizenship Regulations provides officers with the authority to charge individuals applying for citizenship. Thus, they charge $630 as the total fee for granting an adult citizenship. This comprises $530 for the processing fee and $100 for the right of citizenship fee. The total fee for resuming citizenship is a processing fee of $530. It is worth mentioning that there are no provisions in the Citizenship Act or Regulations that enable the authorities to provide a discretionary remission (or refund) or an exemption of fees.
The 2007 Citizenship Fees Remission Order enables Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to remit or exempt citizenship grant and resumption fees. This provision applies to those applications from individuals who meet the specified conditions.
Who Qualifies Under the Remission Order
To qualify under the remission order, applicants would need to meet all of the following conditions. They would need to:
- Show that they have received or are under consideration for receiving citizenship under the provisions specified in subsection 5 (4) of the Citizenship Act
- Show that they had an application for a grant or a resumption of citizenship in process on January 24, 2007, or have submitted an application on or after that date
- Show that they have had a reasonable but mistaken belief that they were Canadian citizens
- Show that they have lived in Canada for most of their lives and,
- Show that they are currently living in Canada
The authorities would consider applicants as being ineligible for qualification if they meet any of the following conditions.
- They are permanent residents within the meaning of the provisions specified in subsection 2 (1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)
- The provisions specified under section 20 or 22 of the Citizenship Act prohibits the authorities from granting these individuals citizenship or,
- They have renounced their citizenship under the Canadian Citizenship Act (as it was in force from 1947 till 1977) or the Citizenship Act
The Difference Between the Exemption of Fees and the Refund of Fees
Applicants who meet the conditions of the 2007 Citizenship Fees Remission Order would either:
- Be exempt from paying the fees i.e. the officers would not collect any fees or,
- Would receive a refund i.e. the officers would return all the fees paid towards the application
Similarly, applicants who have paid partial fees would receive a refund for the portion paid. In addition, they would receive an exemption from the balance fee payable.
The steps given below help in ensuring that officers identify applications from eligible individuals and process them early. This would enable them to provide an exemption from paying the fees or issue refunds as early as possible in the process.
In some cases, officers might come across applicants who meet the conditions of the remission order but whose files the officers had already forwarded to the Case Management Branch or the local office at the time of issuance of the remission order i.e. March 22, 2007. These individuals would typically receive their refunds at the end of the process.