Immigration Corner | Can my father help me?
Dear Ms Powell,
I am a 40-year-old engineer and I was born in Jamaica. I always heard that my father is a Canadian citizen but I had not met him until recently. We have been communicating regularly since then. I was checking how to immigrate to Canada and I came across your name. What is the best way to get to live and work in Canada? Can my father sponsor me although I am an adult?
I am pleased that you have reconnected with your father and that you are communicating with him on a regular basis. I know the importance of having loving support and guidance of a father.
Your situation is very unique as there are many laws and regulations that affect the rights of children born to Canadian citizens before April 17, 2009.
The general rule is that most children born to Canadian parents before April 17, 2009, were citizens at birth. Also, under the Canadian Citizenship Act, some people who were born outside of Canada before February 15, 1977 to a parent who was a citizen at the time of the birth, but did not become a citizen, would have the right to Canadian citizenship as well.
Therefore, the most important thing to find out from your father is whether he was a citizen or entitled to citizenship at the time of your birth. How did he acquire citizenship? Was it by birth or by naturalisation?
Once you have established that your father was a citizen or entitled to citizenship at the time of your birth, your next step would be to make an application for citizenship certificate and then apply for a Canadian passport.
Submit a completed application for citizenship certificate, two citizenship photographs, certified true copies of two pieces of government-issued identification for yourself; your father's proof of citizenship, for example, his birth certificate or Canadian citizenship certificate and submit everything, along with the required processing fee, to the case processing centre.
If your father was not a Canadian citizen at the time of your birth, then your options would be based on the time that he actually acquired citizenship. If he acquired citizenship before April 17, 2009, then the same principle above applies. You just need to apply for a citizenship certificate.
If he acquired citizenship after April 17, 2009, then you will not have the automatic right to apply for a citizenship certificate and you will have to explore other options.
The rules have changed about sponsorship of family members. Under the current laws, your father can only sponsor you if he has no spouse or other relative in Canada.
If none of the options stated above apply to you, then, as a professional, you may apply to become a permanent resident of Canada under the express entry system. This is a points-based system designed to attract skilled workers to Canada based on their ability to successfully integrate within the Canadian society.
Based on the brief information you have provided, you appear to be a strong candidate. You will be required to provide proof of your language ability and have your educational credential assessed. You should have a minimum of approximately CDN$13,000 in savings for settlement funds.
- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Find her on Facebook.com/jamaicanlawyer or call 613-695-8777.