How To Renounce Canadian Citizenship | The Case Of Senator Ted Cruz

By Andy Semotiuk | January 6, 2014

immigration lawyer

Canadian and US Immigration Lawyer Andy Semotiuk: US Senator Ted Cruz is in the newswith regards to how long it is taking him to renounce his Canadian citizenship:

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz vowed months ago to renounce his Canadian citizenship. It’s now 2014, and the Calgary-born Republican lawmaker is still a dual citizen.

“I have retained counsel that is preparing the paperwork to renounce the citizenship,” the junior Texas senator, who’s eyeing a run for president in 2016, said in a recent interview with the Dallas Morning News.

He didn’t dispute holding dual citizenship: “Not at this point,” Cruz told the paper.

That’s confounding Canadian immigration lawyers. Renouncing Canadian citizenship, they say, is a simple, quick and straightforward process — there’s even an online, four-page PDF form on the Government of Canada website to get the ball rolling without the help of lawyers.

I, for one, am not one of the Canadian immigration lawyers who is “confounded” by the process. Further to that, I’m not sure that renouncing Canadian citizenship is in Cruz’s best interests right now, anyway.

First, the law. Renouncing Canadian citizenship is indeed much easier than renouncing American citizenship. In the case of Canada, it is all done on paper, and unlike in the US, there is no person-to-person meeting with a consular official.

For the renouncing of Canadian citizenship, submissions are made to the Nova Scotia office of  Citizenship and Immigration Canada. That office provides online processing information, and indicates that current processing times for such applications are four months. However, that estimate is based on applications that were made between October 1st, 2011, and September 30th, 2012. Since then, the entire process of Canadian citizenship has been in free fall because of the federal government’s investigations into citizenship fraud, and its concern that some 11,000 citizens gained their status dishonestly.

That investigation has likely slowed down current citizenship applications, which are now taking 35 months to process. What is more, Chris Alexander, the current Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, has recently indicated that he favours extending the residence requirement for citizenship from three years to four years. In short, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is a busy place which might take a while to process your application, even if your name is Ted Cruz.

As for the merits of renunciation, as Conrad Black points out, perhaps it is unwise to rush into such a move, as there is no reason why Senator Cruz should be treated differently than any other American who has dual citizenship – though, yes, politics and optics does eventually enter into it if Cruz is interested in a presidential bid. That said, if anyone should know the benefits of Canadian citizenship, it is Conrad Black, who learned the hard way.