My first ask - Canadian content
September 11, 2019 3:51 PM   Subscribe

I am an old man, computer expert, long time resident legally in USA. Born in Winnipeg (actually St. Boniface at the time). Anyways, I'd like to get a Canadian passport. But I see no way I ever qualify. I'd add, maybe my family was sorta around since the 1700s in Canada, but I'm at a loss as to what to do. I can not cross the border according to what I see.
posted by baegucb to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Like the US Canada has birthright citizenship (jus soli), so you are automatically a Canadian citizen. I'm not lawyer, but I think it should be as simple as obtaining your birth certificate and applying for a passport.
posted by crazy with stars at 4:02 PM on September 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

If you were born in Canada, you are likely a Canadian citizen. You can have dual citizenship. That page has a tool that is "being edited." You can also just apply using the documentation they require (check specifics, depending why your parents were in Canada, it might make a difference) and if you're a citizen, you'll make it through the process, but I'm not sure I'd do that. Simplest would be to talk to someone at one of the Canadian embassies in the US and they could help you.
posted by jessamyn at 4:03 PM on September 11, 2019 [5 favorites]

Just to clarify, you mean you are a citizen of Canada permanently residing in the US? And you want to get a passport but cannot go back home to collect documentation?

If that is the case, I would think you should directly contact the Canadian embassy or a consulate. This page shows nearly a dozen in the United States. You will certainly get the straight information about what the government of Canada is willing to do.

Good luck.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 4:05 PM on September 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

Are you a US citizen? A Canadian citizen? Do you need advice about acquiring citizenship, or just about acquiring a passport?

In general if you were born in Canada or your parents were Canadian citizens at the time of your birth, then you are a Canadian citizen. Citizens of Canada located in the United States can apply for a passport by mail.
posted by mbrubeck at 4:05 PM on September 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Given that you seem to be saying you're a Canadian citizen who's a legal permanent resident of the United States, your first step is probably contacting your nearest Canadian consulate to explain your situation and see what it is you would need to do to obtain a Canadian passport.

I'm no citizenship and immigration lawyer, but it's likely a case of "documentation you have regarding your U.S. PR status and Canadian citizenship" vs. "qualifications." It looks like it's possible to obtain a copy of a Manitoba birth certificate if you no longer have one, or never had a copy, by mail.

Judging by the application form for a Canadian passport for Canadian citizens residing in the USA, it seems like you will be able to get this to happen.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:06 PM on September 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

not to thread sit. I went to the University of Winnipeg back in the 70s. I worked for CIBC at Portage and Main. My problem, is not with citizenship, it's getting a passport while living in the USA.
posted by baegucb at 4:09 PM on September 11, 2019

What sort of Visa are you in the US under?

But yeah, this is a question for the closest Canadian Embassy or Consulate, they can definitely help you.
posted by brainmouse at 4:11 PM on September 11, 2019

It looks like you will have to send in an application by mail: at the bottom of the page select you are applying from the United States and it will give you more specific information.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:21 PM on September 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've done this. It's very straightforward. Apply by mail. Follow the instructions given on the passport site and application - as per link above. If there is any sort of special circumstance, missing docs, etc. just reach out to your nearest consulate.

I've had to request supporting docs via mail while abroad for completing a passport application. It's all entirely doable. You'll need ID docs, photos, a notary, maybe references (unlikely). A previous passport helps, but there are ways around this requirement. If you run into issues, feel free to MeMail me. But from your description, what you are wanting to do is entirely routine.
posted by booksarelame at 4:50 PM on September 11, 2019

I'm a dual citizen living in the USA and I just got my first Canadian passport last year. I did it by mail following the instructions found online.

I did have to go a couple places before I found a place that could take my picture in Canadian size, but my local UPS store was able to do it. Otherwise it was just gathering documents, filling out forms, and writing a rather sizeable check.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:44 PM on September 11, 2019

Yes, routine, and easier than it used to be. Was just home last week to Winnipeg, and made several trips to St. Boniface, to the St-Léon market, the Cathedral...
posted by nanook at 7:45 PM on September 11, 2019

I recently (in the last twelve months) procured four Manitoba birth certificates by mail (mine, two deceased persons and one deceased person who was born more than a 100? years ago). If that is your stumbling block pay for the expedited service. You can send the application forms in by fax and the hardest part of the process was finding a fax machine (unlike Alberta where you need to get a Birth Certificate application notarized if not applying in person). The people who answer the phone at Manitoba Vital Statistics were helpful when I had questions.

The hardest part of the passport application process is often your photos. Twice I've had my photos rejected and had to have them retaken. So pay close attention to the requirements including things like lack of shadows and size.
posted by Mitheral at 8:04 PM on September 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

My Canadian father was able to get a modern duplicate of his birth certificate (Swan River, pre-WWII) via mail back circa 2005. At the time we lived in Maryland and were able to talk to some very helpful folks at the embassy in DC, in person, who I think let us know that the old paper certificate he had was no longer valid due to age/lack of security features/etc, but helped him figure out who to talk to in Manitoba for the birth certificate duplicate. IIRC it was some public records department in Brandon, but it's so long ago I can't remember and it's probably different for you if you were born close in to Winnipeg. He was able to get his passport, and I was able to get a citizenship card, using those documents. If you need details, feel free to MeMail me and I'll ask.

We got our photos done by a small portrait studio. That's probably overkill, but we brought the form, which clearly listed the requirements, and worked with the photographer to make absolutely certain what he took met the requirements. I remember it was very particular in different ways from US passport photos.
posted by Alterscape at 10:00 PM on September 11, 2019

Yeah the photos were the hardest part for me when I tried to renew by mail. Sending you encouraging thoughts!
For me, having my Cdn and US passports expire at the same time provoked enormous anxiety. I think I worried that drawing attention to myself would somehow provoke some sort of response from the State (either one) that would affect my ability to move freely. It won’t!
posted by Lawn Beaver at 4:47 AM on September 12, 2019

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