Be in Canada, bring scissors; instructions for online citizenship ceremonies

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Canada is not letting the coronavirus pandemic rob immigrants of their special day, but since citizenship ceremonies now take place over Zoom, a few changes have been made.

Canadian citizenship ceremonies are meaningful, important events in people’s lives, so Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) created new instructions for soon-to-be citizens who are taking their oath online.

IRCC will provide all the details of the citizenship ceremony in an invitation letter. It will include the date, time, Zoom link and log-in instructions.

Even though everything is being done online, you have to be physically in Canada in order to take the Oath of Citizenship. IRCC will ask you to confirm your location before you can participate in the ceremony. If you are not physically in Canada, you may have to do the citizenship ceremony once you are back in the country.

Though there’s no strict dress code IRCC says to dress “respectfully.” Wearing religious or traditional clothing is acceptable, though face coverings may be requested to be removed temporarily for identification purposes. Casual hats are discouraged.

You can sit for the entirety of the ceremony, even when saying the oath, but IRCC asks to choose a quiet room for the Zoom call. They recommend a room free of noise and distractions, and to have a plain background.

Your head and shoulders should be visible, and your hand-held device should be stable.

You’ll need a number of documents such as your permanent residence card, whether it’s expired or not, or your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR). You will also need two pieces of ID, unless you’re under the age 18. Some people will need their record of landing if they came to Canada before June 28, 2002. IRCC will also send you a form to sign after you have taken the oath.

And of course, you’ll need scissors to cut up your permanent residence card on-screen, since you won’t be needing it anymore.

You also have the option to bring a holy book if you want to use it to swear the Oath of Citizenship.

Canada postponed citizenship ceremonies scheduled for the last two weeks of March following coronavirus closures and switched to holding the events online by April. On Canada Day, July 1, IRCC reported over 1,000 citizenship ceremonies had taken place online since the start of the pandemic.

They even held their annual Canada Day citizenship ceremony online. For the first time ever, 19 participants took the oath at the same time from all over Canada.

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