Do not lie on your immigration and citizenship application forms

Immigration Matters By: Sukhramn Ramkissoon

Sukhram Ramkissoon

Do not lie on your immigration and citizenship application forms

 I recently had a telephone conversation with a reader of my column who said that he was speaking on behalf of a friend who is now a Canadian citizen.  He told me that his friend had ” some criminal charges and convictions ” in another country before becoming a landed immigrant in Canada  but did not declare this information on his immigration forms and on his application for Canadian citizenship. Can his friend’s citizenship be revoked if his “omissions” are discovered? the reader wanted to know.

I told him I will answer his question in my column as it is a very important issue. Please note, however, that my reply is for information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice..Persons in similar situations should seek the advice of legal counsel.

Under the current law, if the immigration authorities form the opinion that you became a Canadian citizen through fraudulent means, your citizenship is in jeopardy. It 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.

When completing your Application for Canadian Citizenship 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 most cases, not answering questions truthfully or leaving out information is being treated as deceit and you will be seen as a liar. Canada Border Services takes a very strict view on misrepresentation and those caught are prosecuted.

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

From my experience 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 an experienced counsel 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.

Here are some examples of common lies:  Giving false information about your residence in Canada to obtain citizenship, nondisclosure of criminal convictions or previous deportation and giving other names, and date of birth used in previous applications with Canada Immigration.

Canada considers immigration fraud to be any deliberate lie or omission of information when applying 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).

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”).

The Federal Court is the decision maker for all citizens.

 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.

Citizenship and  Immigration Canada expects  that all applicants, be it for Permanent Residence or Canadian Citizenship or any other application under the Immigration Refugee and Protection Act, to be honest and forthright with their answers on their  forms  so as to maintain  the integrity of the system.

SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is a member of ICCRC and specialises in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario, MSA 2A4 Phone #416 789 5756.