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I'm a Japanese citizen and married to a Canadian and have 2 children. They are both born in Japan. They hold dual citizenship right now. They don't have Canadian passports. They only have Japanese passports and they're using them to travel to the U.S. Only ID they have for Canada is "Certificate of Canadian Citizenship" what they call birth certificate cards.

1. Is "Certificate of Canadian Citizenship" card a national identity card FOR TRAVEL? Is that considered as a travel document?

2. If so, what should I put for the Expiration Year? Those cards don't expire.

3. Since they are both born in Japan, for the question "How did you acquire citizenship / nationality from this country?", which should I choose "By birth" or "Through parents"?

4. For the question "Have you ever been a citizen or national of any other country?" Is "No" correct? (Or Yes, they have been citizens of Canada?)

I e-mailed CBP INFO Center and asked the same questions to make sure but I didn't get sufficient reply. Please help me.

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So I answered the questions in the application as below. These questions were asked after filling out all the information from their passports including their birthplace which is Japan.


Q: ARE YOU NOW, A CITIZEN OR NATIONAL OF ANY OTHER COUNTRY?

A: Yes (Both of my children have dual(Japanese/Canadian) citizenship)


Q:COUNTRY OF CITIZENSHIP / NATIONALITY

A: CANADA (CAN)


Q: HOW DID YOU ACQUIRE CITIZENSHIP / NATIONALITY FROM THIS COUNTRY?

A: Through parents

Now, other choices were "By birth", "Naturalized" and "Other". Also, I noticed in the little help window that pops up when you click on a little question mark it said "Please indicate whether you acquired citizenship/nationality by birth, through parents, as a national of another country (born in the territory or possession of another country) or by other means."


Q: HAVE YOU EVER BEEN A CITIZEN OR NATIONAL OF ANY OTHER COUNTRY?

A: No

And about 20 minutes after I finished paying for the applications I checked the status and the result was "Authorization Approved".

For me "By birth" is suggestive of "jus soli" and "Through parents" is suggestive of "jus sanguinis". Japan is strictly operated by jus sanguinis with only a few exceptions, yet for Canada it's operated by the rules of both jus soli and jus sanguinis. Since our children were born in Japan obviously they are not Canadian by jus soli. So I've come to the conclusion I should choose "Through parents" with a help of phoog's answer. Thank you.

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  1. No
  2. N/A
  3. The Canadian citizenship is "through parents." The Japanese citizenship I'm not sure about because I don't know much about Japanese citizenship law. I suspect that "through parents" is correct because had you not been a Japanese citizen I think they wouldn't either, even though they were born in Japan. But I doubt many US officers would understand that, and most would expect you to say "by birth." "By birth" isn't particularly meaningful anyway, and since both options are arguably true for your children it probably doesn't matter which once you choose.
  4. You've already disclosed their Canadian citizenship, so no, they aren't citizens of any other country. Or, if I misunderstand, and this is the first opportunity you have to mention their Canadian citizenship, then of course the answer is yes.
  • Thank you so much for answering my questions, you are so kind. So for Q1. I understand for the question "Have you ever been issued a passport or national identity card for travel by any other country?", I can answer "No" for my kids. – MNHSJ Jul 6 at 4:40
  • For Q3. it's very confusing. If their birthplace is Canada I would simply choose "By birth". However since they were born in Japan they did not get Canadian citizenship because they were born in Canada. If they got Canadian citizenship "By birth" they should have needed to get Canadian passports to come to Japan to live here. So answering "No" to the question "Have you ever been issued a passport or national identity card for travel by any other country?" and choosing "Through parents" would make sense with our case. – MNHSJ Jul 6 at 5:16
  • For Q4. no, you didn't misunderstand, it is after I mentioned about their Canadian citizenship so I should answer "No". Thank you again!! Arigato! – MNHSJ Jul 6 at 5:21
  • @MNHSJ for #3, does "this country" refer to Canada or Japan? The answer for Canada seems clearly to be "through parents." The answer for Japan probably depends on Japanese nationality law, but I'd expect most US officials to adopt the position, incorrectly for some countries, that any person who is born in a country and is a citizen of that country should answer "from birth." For Q1 I understand ID cards to refer to those used for example in the EU for (limited) international travel, so I would answer no. I'd consider answering yes, however, were it not for the expiration date problem. – phoog Jul 6 at 15:26
  • "by birth" doesn't necessarily mean that the parent's status is not relevant. For example, India's citizenship act distinguishes between Indian citizens "by birth" (born in India; after 1987, one parent must be an Indian citizen) and Indian citizens "by descent" (born outside India to an Indian parent). The UK, Australia, New Zealand, etc. also have the distinction between "by birth" and "by descent" even though they all have conditions on the parent's status for "by birth". Not sure if that is what the ESTA is talking about though. – user102008 Jul 6 at 18:04

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