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I was filling up the application for the Canadian Visitor Visa for my grandfather. The application form (IMM5257e) asks for the 'Place of Birth' in which we can type in the city/town but have to choose the country from a drop down list.

The instructions for filling the form as mentioned in Govt. of Canada's site say

Question 5: Note, if your city, town, or country or territory of birth is indicated in your passport or your travel document, please record it as it appears in the document.

Now, my grandfather is an Indian citizen but was born in Lahore (Present day Pakistan) before the partition so his passport mentions the place of birth as Lahore, Undivided India.

What do I put in the country? India, as at that time Lahore was the part of British India, or Pakistan, where the place currently exists.

All his previous passports mention (going back to the 60s) either mention West Pakistan or Undivided India - Countries which don't exist anymore - and not countries which exist i.e. India or Pakistan.

He hasn't traveled much in the past decade and most of the applications at his time were paper based where he could've just wrote whatever it was in his passport so it was never a problem.

  • I would suggest getting in contact with the consulate/competent authority charged with processing and adjudicating this visa and ask them this question. I know that's not the answer you were looking for but it would give you a definitive answer from the people who would be charged with reviewing the appilcation... – Ozzy Aug 2 at 20:02
  • Technically your grandfather should have replaced his passport with a Pakistani one – Peter M Aug 2 at 20:10
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    My grandfather migrated from Pakistan to India during partition in 1947 so he is an Indian Citizen and has an Indian Passport. – gosnod Aug 2 at 20:14
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    @Peter M. Not correct. See Indian nationality law: "Persons domiciled in the territory of India as on 26 November 1949 automatically became Indian citizens by virtue of operation of the relevant provisions of the Indian Constitution coming into force, and most of these constitutional provisions came into force on 26 January 1950. The Constitution of India also made provision regarding citizenship for migrants from the territories of Pakistan which had been part of India before partition." – Ritesh Aug 2 at 22:37
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As a general rule, the information given in the application forms must match the information found in the documents attached to it. Quoting from the FAQ on the Canadian Immigration website:

If the name of my place of birth has changed, what place of birth should I enter in CAS?

In Client Application Status (CAS), use the name of your place of birth that appears on your immigration document.

Therefore, your grandfather should specify the country in which he was born, and not the country to which his birthplace currently belongs: Lahore, India. Even better if the application allows him to be more specific by using Undivided India, or whichever full denomination is shown on his documents. In addition, your grandfather could briefly explain his situation using supporting documents such as, for example, a cover letter.

Fear not. Immigration officers are aware of these situations and are trained to handle them.

  • In my experience, as a general rule, place of birth is supposed to be reported according to the political map that exists at the time of the application. This is of course in contrast to the principle that the application should match the document. The upshot is probably that it's difficult to state general rules. Also the "name of the place" could be referring to the name of the city (e.g. Stalingrad) rather than the country (e.g. USSR). In the end it probably doesn't matter much unless the input is from a drop-down list or similarly requires selecting from a limited set of options. – phoog Aug 3 at 8:36
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    The Canadian visa application does not have options for countries that no longer exist, which is the whole reason for this question! And the quoted FAQ does not appear to be relevant to this situation. – Michael Hampton Aug 3 at 17:55

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