Okanagan father struggling to get Canadian citizenship for son born overseas

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Veteran’s grandson struggling to get Canadian citizenship
Veteran’s grandson struggling to get Canadian citizenship – Jun 8, 2018

A strange situation has emerged for a family with Okanagan ties trying to get their new family member into the country.

The young child was born overseas. The problem is, so was his Canadian father, and that’s creating all sorts of citizenship uncertainty.

A Vernon grandmother is speaking out about the struggle to bring her grandson back to Canada.

“I have made phone calls over phone calls,” Andree Rhodes said.

“This person refers me to that one, to this one, to that one. It is just so frustrating.”

Her one-year-old grandson Ryan was born in Thailand while his dad Michael Rhodes, Andree’s son, was working overseas.

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Michael has been working to bring young Ryan back to Canada.

“He has applied for Canadian citizenship for Ryan and the issue is that Canadian immigration will not issue him that or a visa to come to Canada because Michael is classified as a first-generation Canadian,” Andree said.

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Michael’s dad was in the Canadian military and Michael was born in Germany while his dad was posted overseas.

The rule is, if you are a Canadian born outside of Canada, you can’t pass your citizenship on to your kids if they are also born outside of the country.

There are exceptions if your parent was in the Canadian Armed Forces when you were born, but you’ve got to prove it.

Andree said the family has submitted the grandfather’s service summary which covers the time period when Michael was born.

However, that’s not enough for officials. In an email Andree shared with Global News, a citizenship officer wrote, “I am not able to confirm with the documentation submitted that your father was in Germany at the time of your birth.”

“It’s difficult to get to what information they are looking for and where we can get it,” Andree said.

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That’s left Andree frustrated and Ryan stuck overseas.

“Military veterans are at such a loss for getting help,” Andree said.

“It is such a struggle for them to get any kind of help, so many roadblocks and it shouldn’t be that way.”

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada [IRCC] said it can’t speak about the specific case for privacy reasons.

“IRCC is always working to provide timely service to applicants and to review information sent as quickly as possible,” a government communications adviser said in an emailed statement.

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