How to apply for an Indian Status in Canada

Canada has the Indian Act, a law that is made to respect the right of the Indian (First Nation) people. What’s the Indian status, who’s entitled to it, and how can one apply for an Indian status card? Read more to find out!


What is Indian status in Canada?

If someone holds Indian status, they are legally registered under the Indian Act. This grants the person certain benefits and rights and access to programs and services from the government and certain NGOs.

How do you know if you’re entitled to Indian status?

Whether you’re entitled to be Indian status ultimately comes to your lineage: your parents, grandparents, and immediate or extended family.

You may also research your genealogy to confirm and strengthen your argument.

How to apply for an Indian status

Here are the steps of an Indian status application:

1. Get an application form

You can get it online, by mail by calling Public inquiries, or in person at any regional office or First Nation office.

2. If necessary, find a guarantor

Not all applicants need guarantors. You may need one if you are:

The guarantor must be at least 18 years old, have known you for at least two years, can answer questions about you, and be registered with Indian status or employed in an eligible occupation.

3. Fill out the application

Besides answering questions about yourself and your identity, you will also need to answer questions about your ancestry (parents or grandparents) and their identity. The latter proves whether you’re entitled to be registered.

If your First Nation controls its own membership or citizenship, you may have to apply for a membership in your First Nation separately.

Fill out all the questions as needed, including whether you wish to receive a secure status card, for which you will also need to submit a photo.

4. Review, sign, and date your application

Make sure you have filled out all the columns and attached the needed documents, including guarantor declaration if necessary.

Then, sign and date your form

5. Submit your application

And that’s done! Make sure your application package is complete, including the checklist, to make sure your application is processed as quickly as possible.

Documents needed to apply for Indian status

The list of documents generally depend on your age.

For adults (aged 16 and over)

If the name on the application is different from other documents, submit an original legal name-linking document. You may also provide a copy of it and a copy of valid, acceptable identification with the name on the application form.

For children (15 years and younger) and dependent adults

The list is the same as the list for adults, with the addition (and substitution, in case of the application form) of the following documents:

The same rules apply if the name on application is different from other documents.

Indian secure status card photo requirements

Whether you are submitting your photo by the SCIS photo app or printed with the paper application, it must fulfill the following requirements:

If you are submitting printed photos, they must fulfill the following requirements:

Here is an example:

Indian secure status card photo

Get Indian secure status card application photo online

Indian secure status card application photos have specific formatting requirements, which may be a hassle for applicants. However, you may trust this task to online professionals.

Visafoto has been helping people get their photos fit for passports and various national documents worldwide since 2013, and it can help you save time. Just take a picture of yourself following the guidance above, under good, preferably daylight, lighting. There is no need to worry about the technicalities such as background, size, and proportions, as Visafoto will care for them for you.

Take an image with a smartphone or camera against any background, upload it here and instantly get a professional photo for your visa, passport or ID.
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Source photo example that you need to take in order to make a passport or visa photo at


Result example: a correct visa or passport photo that you will receive

Take an image with a smartphone or camera against any background, upload it here and instantly get a professional photo for your visa, passport, or ID.

Оriginal photo example

Besides a digital file containing one photo, you will also get a template ready for printing. Just remember to print it according to the guidelines so your printed photo will fully fit the requirements.

Example photo for Indian secure status card
Photos for Indian secure status card for printing

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