June 24, 2020
New Born Canadian Citizens in the United States in Need of Return to Canada – Possible Emergency Steps to Explore During COVID-19
We have been dealing with cases involving newborn children in the United States born to Canadian parents abroad without confirmation of citizenship and the need to return to Canada imminently. There can be several options that may apply to a Canadian citizen’s case. Of course, this is general commentary, and each case may be different. It is important to consult with an authorized immigration representative at Bellissimo Law Group PC or elsewhere.
In most cases, the first step is to apply for proof of Canadian citizenship. Of course, the challenge is that these applications pre-COVID 19 were listed as requiring five months to process. That wait may be longer now even as services begin to reopen. There are steps still to be taken to facilitate entry or further documentation.
Limited Validity Canadian Passport: A Canadian citizen can make an application for a Canadian Passport for a limited validity to Passport Canada in Gatineau, Quebec. A mail-in application can be made by including proof that an application for a Canadian citizenship certificate has been submitted. At present, the current processing time for these applications usually is approximately four weeks. We do not know if there might be additional delays in processing given the COVID-19 pandemic.
Crossing the border into Canada by land with a birth certificate: If one cannot obtain a USA Passport in time, which may be likely in many cases, Canadian citizens may enter Canada by land with only a long-form USA birth certificate. A passport is not required for a minor to cross the border by land. This may not be the most convenient option, but one that exists in emergencies. Many individuals we understand also apply on an urgent basis for a USA Passport at the nearest USA Passport agency. Canadian citizens are permitted to enter Canada using a USA Passport, a long-form birth certificate (demonstrating that the minor is travelling with their parents and proof that an application for a Canadian citizenship certificate was filed.
As a last resort, a Canadian citizen can apply for a Canadian Passport in person at the nearest Consulate General of Canada: Typically, applicants require proof of international air travel in less than 20 business days for this option. If this becomes necessary, applicants must book an appointment to attend the Consulate General of Canada in person, and take the physical application and supporting documents with proof of international air travel in less than 20 business days. This is an option given the current COVID-19 situation in the USA that most people would want to avoid and, hopefully, in most cases, would not be required.
However, in periods of urgency a family tragedy, death or other urgent need to rapidly re-enter Canada for Canadian citizens living in the USA who did not anticipate an urgent need to return may not have a passport for a newborn or even a toddler in some cases, so it is good to know there are options. If you are facing a similar situation and prefer some legal assistance for a Canadian immigration lawyer, please contact us to determine if any of these options may apply to your circumstances.
Thank you for reading and stay safe.