de Ruh (de_ruh) wrote in little_details,
de Ruh

Is my Norwegian character already a Canadian? (Citizenship complications)

Search terms used: Norwegian citizenship, Norwegian naturalization, dual citizenship Norway


My character Søren was born either in the late 60s or early 70s. He grew up in Norway, and up until just before the story starts, thought he was born there. He was adopted at age 8 and has never seen a copy of his own birth certificate – only adoption-related documents. It is currently “now” (this decade-ish) and he is visiting his adopted brother, who has long-since become a Canadian citizen. He has been considering also immigrating recently, and before leaving Norway he visited all the correct offices to get his documents in order in case he decided to go through with the whole residency and citizenship process. I’m assuming he visited Norwegian government establishments as well as the Canadian Embassy. When the Canadian Embassy required his birth certificate to continue with whatever they were doing and he went to the Norwegian government to get it, he was sent on a bit of a wild goose chase of paper work and ended up with [some other document(s) – what would he have?]. It turns out that his father, a Norwegian-born citizen met his mother while looking for work in Canada. Søren’s mother was Canadian, and Søren was born in Canada. The father decided to return to Norway, bringing his wife and son with him, roughly 2-3 years after Søren’s birth. The parents never talked about Canada (trust me when I say I’ve made this believable in the story – this point isn’t relevant to the questions below) and, again, he was adopted into a new family at age 8.

All of the sources I’ve found mostly tend to address current laws only, so I’m not sure if anything would have been different in the early 70s / when things might have changed. Current laws seem to state that if the father is a Norwegian citizen and (child born before Sept 2006) was married to the mother at the time, then the child is/can apply to be a Norwegian citizen. Current laws also state that while it is difficult / not generally accepted to attain dual citizenship, in the case of one parent being from a foreign country, then the child may automatically be granted dual citizenship by birth depending on the other country’s legislation. I know this last part is true because my uncle was born in Canada but immigrated to Norway with his Norwegian-born wife, and their three kids (born 1989, 1990 and 1995) all hold dual citizenship and have Canadian passports, even though they’ve only ever lived in Norway.

1. The birth certificate has to be obtained from the Canadian government, obviously, because he was born in Canada. What form of documentation would he have in Norway? A citizenship card? An immigration document?
2. Is it believable that he still holds Canadian citizenship even though he doesn’t know it? Given his situation, would he have been able to obtain a Canadian passport before leaving Norway, or would he have paperwork to do upon arriving?
3. Besides ‘checking in’ with the Canadian government, setting himself up as officially residing in Canada, and getting a Social Insurance Number, what would he need to do to stay in Canada indefinitely, and would he lose his Norwegian citizenship by doing it?


Alright, I think I've got a lot more information now, between the replies here (thanks!) and further research on my own. I'm still a little foggy on what exactly he would have in terms of a Norwegian birth/adoption certificate issued at the time of adoption and what information would be on it, but I think I can work with this.

UPDATED QUESTION: Does the following sound reasonable?

Søren was born in Canada in the 1970s to a Canadian mother and a Norwegian father. By birth, he has citizenship in both countries. When he was 2 his family moved to Norway, his mother went through the naturalization process under "family reunification" laws. By the time he's starting school, he's 100% a Norwegian citizen, no questions asked, and his parents have some form of immigration document to prove it (I don't really need to know what it's called). His parents never speak of their time in Canada (nasty controlling father business going on) and he only vaguely recalls having lived 'somewhere else'. When he's 8 his mother is killed and his father ends up in prison (long, twisted back story bit that I won't explain here since it's not important) and he ends up in foster care. A couple of years later he is adopted by his foster family. His foster parents apply for a 'new' birth certificate, which lists both his biological parents and his adoptive parents, at their request.

Fast forward to 'now' - he's planing an extended trip to visit his adopted brother in Canada (brother immigrated there roughly 20 years earlier) and is considering immigration himself. He goes to the Canadian Embassy in Norway to see what he can do to start the paper work process and make things easier, about 3-4 months in advance to his trip. They encourage him to check in with his own government and make sure he has all of his original documents in place. This sends him on a bit of a wild goose chase trying to find out what was on his birth certificate before his adoption, and results in him getting a copy of his immigration documents instead. With this, and with the help of the Canadian Embassy, he's able to track down his province of birth (Ontario), order a copy of his original birth certificate, and obtain a Canadian passport and social insurance number. Because of the timeline of his birth and emmigration from Canada, he is not required to observe a residency period (laws changed in 1977), and is arriving in Canada as a citizen. He is arriving in BC, and will have to go through BC's system for a driver's license and health care.


Tags: canada: government (misc)

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