Can My Citizenship Be Revoked?

  • Canadian citizenship can be revoked if you are a dual citizen (have at least one other citizenship) and will not become stateless if your Canadian citizenship is revoked.
  • Canadian citizenship can only be revoked for convictions for immigration or terrorism-related offences.

Revoking Canadian Citizenship

As of March 28, 2015, it became possible for Canadian Citizenship to be revoked for immigration fraud and terrorism-related charges. Prior to this date, it was extremely difficult for your citizenship to be revoked.

However, as of 2017, the citizenship law has again been amended. Now, if the government is attempting to revoke your citizenship, you can choose to have your case handled by the courts, instead of IRCC.

Revocation of Canadian Citizenship Due to Immigration or Citizenship Fraud

Under the current law, your Canadian Citizenship could be revoked because you were caught lying or knowingly concealing information on your citizenship application, or you were caught committing another form of citizenship or immigration fraud.

Revocation of Canadian Citizenship Due to Lying or Withholding Information on a Citizenship Application

When completing your citizenship application, you must tell the truth. If you change some information about your person, your life or your situation, or you deliberately withhold that information, by not including it in your application, you could be prosecuted for citizenship fraud. In this case, omission is often treated as if it were just as bad as lying.

If you are successfully prosecuted for citizenship fraud and are convicted of violated the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, you could have your Canadian citizenship revoked.

Note that this is a long process:

  1. investigation of your situation
  2. decision to prosecute
  3. prosecuting your case
  4. verdict
  5. revocation of citizenship
  6. departure or deportation order.

It would likely take years for this process to be completed and, with a good lawyer (who will be very expensive), there would likely be many opportunities to appeal the decisions along the way. So just because you were caught lying or withholding information on your citizenship application, it does not mean you will lose your citizenship immediately. But you will likely lose it eventually. DO NOT LIE ON YOUR CITIZENSHIP APPLICATION.

Other Immigration Fraud Reasons to Have Your Canadian Citizenship Revoked

Canada considers immigration fraud to be any deliberate lie or omission of information when apply for to come to Canada, for temporary residence, for permanent residence, or to become a citizen. If you are caught lying (or withholding information) at any stage of your immigration to Canada, and you are successfully prosecuted for this violation, you could lose your citizenship (if you subsequently naturalized as a Canadian citizen after you lied on your application or misrepresented yourself, but before you were caught).

Revocation of Canadian Citizenship Due to Terrorism or Treason

Your Canadian Citizenship could also be revoked if you were convicted of one of the following offences:

  • terrorism,
  • high treason, or
  • offences related to espionage (though this depends on the type of sentence handed down)
  • or if you served in the armed forces of another country currently in “armed conflict” with Canada (note the law does not say “war”).

Here are some definitions that may help you understand what these vague terms mean:

  • ‘Terrorism’ means “an act or omission undertaken “in whole or in part for a political, religious, or ideological purpose, objective or cause” that is intended to intimidate the public or compel a person, government or organization to do or refrain from doing any act, if the act or omission intentionally causes a specified serious harm. Specified harms include causing death or serious bodily harm, endangering life, causing a serious risk to health or safety, causing substantial property damage where it would also cause one of the above listed harms and, in certain circumstances, causing serious interference or disruption of an essential service, facility or system, whether public or private.”
  • ‘High Treason’ means “Every one commits high treason who, in Canada,
    1. kills or attempts to kill Her Majesty, or does her any bodily harm tending to death or destruction, maims or wounds her, or imprisons or restrains her;
    2. levies war against Canada or does any act preparatory thereto; or
    3. assists an enemy at war with Canada, or any armed forces against whom Canadian Forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between Canada and the country whose forces they are.”
  • ‘Treason’ means ” Every one commits treason who, in Canada,
    1. uses force or violence for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Canada or a province;
    2. without lawful authority, communicates or makes available to an agent of a state other than Canada, military or scientific information or any sketch, plan, model, article, note or document of a military or scientific character that he knows or ought to know may be used by that state for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or defence of Canada;
    3. conspires with any person to commit high treason or to do anything mentioned in paragraph (a);
    4. forms an intention to do anything that is high treason or that is mentioned in paragraph (a) and manifests that intention by an overt act; or
    5. conspires with any person to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) or forms an intention to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) and manifests that intention by an overt act.”
  • ‘Spying offence’ means spying on the Canadian government for another sovereign government

First you’d have to be convicted of one of these crimes, only then your citizenship would be revoked. Just like with immigration fraud, a long process to have your citizenship revoked, as there’s an appeal procedure that your lawyer can use to fight for you to keep your citizenship.


What do I do if I think my citizenship will be revoked?

Contact an immigration lawyer immediately.


Can I Lose My Citizenship?