Canada has issued a new guide so immigrants can better understand the rules surrounding citizenship depending on where they were born.

One of the most confusing areas, for example, is for parents who have become Canadian citizens but whose children were born overseas.

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Every situation is different and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) advises those who are unsure to check the rules as they changed in 2009 for people born outside Canada.

‘If you got Canadian citizenship after your children were born, your children did not automatically become citizens because you did, but the rules have changed over the years,’ said a CIC spokesman.

Children born before 17 April 2009 probably are citizens because most children born to Canadian parents before that date were citizens at birth. But if they were born on or after that date they will only be Canadian at birth if their parents were born in Canada or became a naturalized Canadian citizen before they were born.

However, the guide points out that there are exceptions to these rules. For example, if you were born outside Canada and adopted by a Canadian. In this scenario children born outside Canada will not be citizens if a parent was born outside Canada, adopted by a Canadian citizen, and became a Canadian citizen using the citizenship process for intercountry adoption.

However, if the children’s other parent was born in Canada or is a naturalized citizen, the children will became citizens through them.

There are also exceptions relating to children being born outside Canada while their parent worked for the Canadian government or worked for the Canadian Armed Forces, the federal public administration, or in the public service of a province or territory.

The guide is available on the CIC website. ‘If you are a citizen of another country and you have concerns about whether or not your citizenship status in that country may be affected by applying for a Canadian citizenship certificate, you should inquire with the embassy, high commission or consulate of that country,’ the CIC spokesman added.