Can I Renounce My Citizenship?

Renouncing Your Canadian Citizenship

You can voluntarily renounce your Canadian Citizenship provided

  • you do not currently live in Canada
  • you are a citizen of a country (or countries) other than Canada in addition to being a Canadian citizen so that, when you renounce, you will still have citizenship of that other country (or countries)
  • you are at least 18 years of age
  • you are capable of understanding the significance of renouncing your citizenship.

Why would you want to renounce Canadian citizenship?


You Must Not Live in Canada

It is impossible to renounce your citizenship when you are currently in Canada. If you are currently in Canada and wish to renounce your citizenship, you must leave Canada first. This rule exists to prevent Canadian citizens in Canada from renouncing citizenship to avoid criminal prosecution in Canada, or to renounce citizenship to work for a foreign government while still in Canada.


You Must be a Citizen of Another Country

In order to renounce your citizenship, you must be a citizen of another country (or other countries). This rule exists because Canada has made international commitments to prevent the increase of stateless persons. Most countries will not allow you to renounce your citizenship unless you have another citizenship.


You Must Be 18 Years of Age

In Canada, the age of majority is 18 years of age. You cannot undertake any serious, life-altering decisions on your own (without parental consent) until you are 18. Similarly, you cannot renounce your citizenship until you are 18. (And no, you cannot renounce your citizenship under the age of 18 just because your parents will let you.)


You Must Be Capable of Understanding the Act of Renunciation

You must be fully mentally capable of understanding the consequences of renouncing your Canadian citizenship. This regulation exists so that people who may not be able to understand those consequences cannot be persuaded to renounce.


What are the consequences of renouncing my citizenship?

The primary consequence of renouncing your citizenship is that you will lose the rights and privileges of a Canadian citizen and you will not be able to get them back unless you immigrate back to Canada, become a permanent resident, apply for citizenship once you are eligible, a process that could easily take a decade or more.


Can My Canadian Citizenship Be Revoked?