How to apply for a status card?

Find out how to apply for a Secure Certificate of Indian Status (secure status card) or Certificate of Indian Status (status card).

Some First Nations are still issuing Certificates of Indian Status (status cards). If your band does:

If you have questions, contact your band office or Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) Public Enquiries.

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How do you apply as an adult (16 or older)?

How to apply for a secure status card as an adult

Before applying as an adult for a secure status card:

  1. you must be registered as a Status Indian under the Indian Act. If you are not sure about your status, please contact INAC Public Enquiries.
  2. make sure to collect all required documents
  3. get two identical Canadian passport-style photos that meet the photo requirements

If you are applying by mail, you must find a guarantor and your guarantor must:

  1. complete and sign the Secure Certificate of Indian Status (SCIS) Guarantor Declaration
  2. write "This is a true likeness of (name of applicant)" on the back of one of the two Canadian passport-style photos and sign and date the photo
  3. sign and date a photocopy of the front and back of the acceptable valid identification documents that support your identity

If you are applying at an INAC regional office, you must present original acceptable valid identification documents.

If you do not have acceptable valid identification, you must find a guarantor and your guarantor must:

  1. complete and sign the Secure Certificate of Indian Status (SCIS) Guarantor Declaration
  2. write "This is a true likeness of (name of applicant)" on the back of one of the two Canadian passport-style photos and sign and date the photo

If you cannot find a guarantor, you must complete and submit the Secure Certificate of Indian Status (SCIS) Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor. You must complete and sign this form before a commissioner of oaths, a notary public or a lawyer.

You must either bring these documents to the INAC regional office or submit them by mail.

To avoid a delay in receiving your card, you must complete all relevant sections of the form and submit all necessary documents.

Step 1: Get the application form

Get the Secure Certificate of Indian Status Adult Application for Applicants Sixteen (16) Years of Age or Older online or from the INAC regional office nearest you.

You must fill out the form in black or blue ink.

You can use the form to apply for an initial, replacement or renewal secure status card.

Step 2: Fill out the application form

Section A: All applicants must fill out Section A.

The name under which you are registered for Indian status (the name in the Indian Register) will be printed on the secure status card.

Names that are not in the Indian Register, such as cultural names, can be printed in the alias field of the card.

If you have changed your name, you will need to provide a legal document linking your names (for example, a change-of-name certificate, a marriage certificate or a divorce order with both your current last name and your previous last name).

A copy of the legal document is acceptable if you have acceptable valid identification in your new name or if the document you are providing is a court order. The original legal document is needed if you do not have acceptable valid identification in your new name.

If you do not have an Indian registration number, consult Are you applying for Indian status or contact INAC Public Enquiries.

Section B: You may leave this section blank. A birth certificate is no longer required.

Section C: Fill out this section if you are applying to renew (card is still valid or has been expired for less than a year) or are applying to replace (card has been expired for more than a year or was lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed) your secure status card. Find out more about the additional steps you need to take if your status card has been lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed.

Section D: Only one document to support identity is now required. Consult What documents do you need to submit when applying for an adult secure status card for the list of acceptable valid identification.

Step 3: Sign the application form

Sign Section E once you have filled out the application form.

Step 4: Create an activation code

This step is no longer required.

Step 5: Submit the application

Once you have completed all the steps, submit your application in person to the INAC regional office nearest you or mail it to INAC headquarters.

How do you apply for a child (15 or younger) or dependent adult?

How to apply for a secure status card for children

Before applying for a child or dependent adult secure status card as a parent or legal guardian:

  1. make sure the child or dependent adult is registered as a Status Indian under the Indian Act. If you are not sure about his or her status, please contact INAC Public Enquiries
  2. make sure to collect all the required documents
  3. get two identical Canadian passport-style photos of the child or dependent adult that meet the photo requirements
  4. make sure that you have the authority to act for the child or dependent adult in legal or financial matters

If you are applying by mail, you must find a guarantor and the guarantor must:

  1. complete and sign the Secure Certificate of Indian Status (SCIS) Guarantor Declaration
  2. write "This is a true likeness of (name of child or dependent adult)" on the back of one of the two Canadian passport-style photos and sign and date the photo
  3. sign and date the photocopies of the front and back of the documents that support the identity of the parent or legal guardian

If you are applying at an INAC regional office, you must present original acceptable valid identification documents.

If you do not have acceptable valid identification, you must find a guarantor and the guarantor must:

  1. complete and sign the Secure Certificate of Indian Status (SCIS) Guarantor Declaration
  2. write "This is a true likeness of (name of applicant)" on the back of one of the two Canadian passport-style photos and sign and date the photo

If you cannot find a guarantor, the parent or legal guardian must complete and submit the Secure Certificate of Indian Status Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor. This form must be completed and signed before a commissioner of oaths, a notary public or a lawyer.

You must either bring these documents to the INAC regional office or submit them by mail.

To avoid a delay in receiving the card, you must complete all relevant sections of the form and submit all necessary documents.

Step 1: Get the application form

Get the Secure Certificate of Indian Status (SCIS) Parent or Legal Guardian Application for Applicants Fifteen (15) Years of Age or Younger or a Dependent Adult online or from the INAC regional office nearest you.

The form must be filled out in black or blue ink.

The form can be used to apply for an initial, replacement or renewal secure status card.

Step 2: Fill out the child or dependent adult information sections

Section A: You must fill out the child or dependent adult information in Section A.

The name under which the child or dependent adult is registered for Indian status (the name in the Indian Register) will be printed on the secure status card. Names that are not in the Indian Register, such as cultural names, can be printed in the alias field of the card.

If the name of the child or dependent adult has changed, you will need to provide a legal document linking their names (for example, a change-of-name certificate, a marriage certificate or a divorce order with both their current last name and their previous last name).

A copy of the legal document is acceptable if the child or dependent adult has acceptable valid identification in their new name or if the document you are providing is a court order. The original legal document is needed if they do not have acceptable valid identification in their new name. The original legal document is needed if they do not have acceptable valid identification in their new name.

If the child or dependent adult does not have an Indian registration number, contact INAC Public Enquiries.

Section B: An original or copy of the birth certificate of the child or dependent adult is acceptable to demonstrate that you have authority to apply on behalf of the child or dependent adult. If there are any separation agreements, court orders or legal proceedings pertaining to the custody of the child (Section D) attached to the application, the birth certificate is not required.

Section C: Fill out this section if you are applying to renew (card is still valid or has been expired for less than a year) or are applying to replace (card has been expired for more than a year or was lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed) the child or dependent adult's secure status card. Find out more about the additional steps you need to take if the status card has been lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed.

Section D: You must fill out the child or dependent adult information in Section D.

Step 3: Fill out the parent or legal guardian information

Fill out the information on the parent or legal guardian in Section E.

The supporting documents in Section F need to include the photo, date of birth, signature and name of the parent or legal guardian.

All photocopies must be signed and dated by the guarantor.

Step 4: Parent or legal guardian signs the application form

The parent or legal guardian needs to sign the application in Section G once the application form has been filled out.

Step 5: Create an activation code

This step is no longer required.

Step 6: Submit the application

Once all the steps have been completed, submit the application to the INAC regional office nearest you or mail it to INAC headquarters.

Where do you submit or send the application?

You can mail the secure status card application to:

Secure Certificate of Indian Status Processing Unit
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
10 rue Wellington
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H4

You can also submit the application in person at one of the following locations:

Other band offices continue to issue Certificates of Indian Status.

Before you go to a regional office, it is best to call ahead and make an appointment. If you are travelling to INAC headquarters in Gatineau, Quebec, no appointment is necessary.

For more information, contact INAC Public Enquiries.

Can you apply for someone else?

Third-party applications (applications submitted by a person other than the applicant) are accepted for secure status cards. For a child or dependent adult, this third person is any person other than the parent or legal guardian.

When submitting a third-party application:

What to do if your status card is lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed?

If your Secure Certificate of Indian Status (secure status card) has been lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, you must report it by calling INAC Public Enquiries right away. The call agent will:

For a replacement secure status card, apply following the normal application process and:

If your Certificate of Indian Status (status card) has been lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, contact your band office to apply for a replacement card.

What to do if you found a status card?

If you found a status card, please drop it into a mail box and it will be returned to INAC.

How to renew your status card?

Indian status does not expire but your card does. If your band office continues to issue Certificates of Indian Status (status cards), contact your band office to find out how to renew your status card.

The secure status card is valid for 10 years for adults (16 or older) and five years for children (15 or younger) and dependent adults.

You can renew your current secure status card up to six months before the renewal date or up to one year after the "Renew before" date on your card.

The renewal process for a secure status card is similar to the secure status card application process. Fill out the same application form and provide the same required documents found in either:

However, under "Reason for application", check "Renewal". Also submit your previous Secure Certificate of Indian Status with your application.

If there are no changes to your information (name, sex, date of birth, band name, registration number), you do not need to provide any other identification.

If you are applying a year after the "Renew before" date on your secure status card, you must indicate you are applying for a replacement secure status card and follow the normal application process for a secure status card.

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