Is your status card still valid?
Indian status does not expire but your card does. Find out if your status card is valid.
What is a valid status card?
A status card is valid if it is:
- not past the renewal date
- not suspended or revoked
- not reported lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed
- not found and returned to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)
Which status cards are currently being issued?
The Secure Certificate of Indian Status and the Certificate of Indian Status are currently being issued to confirm registration under the Indian Act.
Secure Certificate of Indian Status
The Secure Certificate of Indian Status, or secure status card, issued centrally by INAC, has a number of security features:
- laser-engraved information burned directly into the card
- raised letters and numbers on the surface
- patterns of extremely fine lines not easily scanned or copied
- ultra-violet imaging and printing visible with special equipment
- secondary photo image of the cardholder visible from both sides
- toll-free number to call to confirm card is valid
- machine-readable zone to facilitate Canada–U.S. border crossing
As of February 1, 2019, all new and renewed Secure Certificates of Indian Status are issued with a machine-readable zone on the back of the card.
The machine-readable zone contains only cardholder information that is already displayed on the front of the card.
Certificate of Indian Status
The Certificate of Indian Status, or status card, is still issued in some band offices. This card has only a limited number of security features found on other government-issued identity documents.
The laminated Certificate of Indian Status with no renewal date is also still valid.
Are older versions of the status card still valid?
All previously issued versions of the Secure Certificate of Indian Status and the Certificate of Indian Status are valid until the renewal date on the card.
Some secure status cards in circulation may not have a machine-readable zone but remain valid until their renewal date.
If your status card is no longer valid, you may be denied benefits and rights for Indigenous peoples or have difficulty crossing the Canada–U.S. border.
History of the status card
In 1956, the Government of Canada began issuing the Certificate of Indian Status, or status card, as an official identity document confirming the cardholder to be registered under the Indian Act.
The Certificate of Indian Status is either a laminated or a plastic card with fewer security features than now expected of a government-issued identity document.
In 2009, a more secure status card, the Secure Certificate of Indian Status, began to be issued it help protect Status Indians from identity theft. Improved security features make it less vulnerable to tampering and counterfeiting.
Status Indians are encouraged to apply for a Secure Certificate of Indian Status. To get a secure status card, visit How to apply for a status card.