Longterm Canadian resident expat hits brick wall over citizenship

Published:  15 Oct at 6 PM
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A British Columbia expat who has lived in the province for 48 years has gone public over his difficulties in obtaining Canadian citizenship and a passport.

Former bank manager Gerd Nitzek, now retired, was born in Germany and now wants to travel as part of his retirement plans, but is still not able to get his wish to become a Canadian citizen due to bureaucratic red tape. His application as a permanent resident is caught up in a massive backlog of applications for citizenship.

Nitzek worked at the Vancouver branch of the Bank of America for 27 years, has owned his home for more than 30 years and has been married to his Canadian-born wife, Karen, for 20 years. He’s paid his taxes regularly and is a valued member of his community.

His previous citizenship application was 40 years ago, but the size of the queue decided him against it, and it was only after his wife’s retirement that he decided to try again. He told the media he wanted to have a Canadian passport in order that he and Karen could spend the freezing local winters in the south of the USA.

He’s allowed a three month stay in the USA on his German passport, and would prefer an annual six-month visit. The citizenship application was sent two years ago, with an appointment with immigration after a 12 month wait.

The officer refused his application as he hadn’t provided older German passports, and told the couple not to come back.After more documents had been submitted, he was informed there was a three-year wait for a hearing in front of a judge.

Nitzek’s immigration lawyer advised him to go public as the only way to expadite the issue, and he’s now been told that his file will be examined by a judge in the near future without the need for a hearing.
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