Is your status card still valid?
Learn more about valid status cards. Indian status does not expire but your card does.
What is a valid status card?
A Secure Certificate of Indian Status is valid if it is:
- not expired for more than one year
- not suspended or revoked
- not reported lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed
- not found and returned to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
- not requested returned to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Which status cards are still in circulation?
There are four types of status cards presently in circulation.
Secure Certificate of Indian Status
Version 1: In-Canada secure status card
This card is still being issued.
Version 2: In-Canada secure status card
This card is no longer being issued.
Version 3: Border-crossing secure status card
This card is no longer being issued and has expired.
Certificate of Indian Status
This card is valid only in Alberta.
Certificate of Indian Status (pilot project)
Laminated Certificate of Indian Status
Laminated Certificates of Indian Status with no renewal date are also valid.
History of the status card
In 1956, the Government of Canada began issuing the Certificate of Indian Status (status card) as an official identity document confirming the cardholder as a Status Indian registered under the Indian Act.
The Certificate of Indian Status is either a paper-laminate or a plastic card that provides access to benefits and services to Status Indians. With very few of the security features now normally expected of a government-issued identity document, the card is vulnerable to tampering and counterfeiting.
In 2009, the Certificate of Indian Status began to be replaced by the Secure Certificate of Indian Status (secure status card). Since March 2013, the secure status card is the only card issued by the Government of Canada, either by mail or through regional offices.
The secure status card has several security improvements that help protect First Nations people from identity theft.
All status cards previously issued will remain valid until they reach their renewal date.
Which cards are currently being issued?
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) is currently issuing only the in-Canada format of the secure status card.
About 500 Indian Registration Administrators in band offices still issue the Certificate of Indian Status (status card).
The secure status card better protects First Nations people against identity theft through several security features:
- information that is laser-engraved directly into the card
- touch data that uses raised letters and numbers on the card surface
- patterns of extremely fine lines that cannot easily be scanned or copied
- an ultra-violet image and printing that is visible using specialized equipment
- a window, appearing as a clear area in the card, that allows a secondary photo image of the cardholder to be visible from both sides
- a toll-free number to check the validity of the card