INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION PROCESS
International adoption (also called intercountry adoption) is a process that recognizes an individual or couple
as the legal and permanent parent(s) of a child from another country. An international adoption complies with
the laws of both the sending and receiving countries.
For all international adoptions, you must complete two separate processes:
- The adoption process, and
- The immigration or citizenship process
- To adopt internationally, you must work with your provincial or territorial adoption Central
Authority. The Authority will:
- Tell you if you need to contact a licensed adoption agency
- Advise on the adoptions laws of the country from where you want to adopt
- Explain the requirement of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions
- To be eligible to adopt a child, you must meet the adoption requirements of the
- Canadian province/territory where you live, or the country where you live if you are living abroad, and
- Adoption Authority of the country where the child lives
- To adopt internationally, you must work with your provincial or territorial adoption Central Authority. The Authority will:
The immigration or citizenship process
It is necessary to apply for Citizenship or Immigration (Permanent Residency) for the child to bring your adopted child to Canada.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S ROLE IN THE ADOPTION
The federal government is only involved in the Immigration or Citizenship process for an adopted child.
adoption process is the responsibility of the provinces or territories.
Under The Hague Convention, Canada has a Federal Central Authority: the Intercountry Adoption Services (IAS) is a unit in IRCC. The role of the IAS is to:
- Work directly with the provincial and territorial Central Authorities to obtain and distribute information to both Canadian provincial and territorial authorities, as well as foreign authorities. This information sharing relates to information on Canadian and foreign adoption legislation, adoption criteria requirements, and international adoption procedures and guidelines
- Facilitate communication, co-operation, and coordinated actions between federal/provincial/territorial Central Authorities, both within the federal government and with foreign Central Authorities
- Facilitate issue resolution and develop pan-Canadian responses on matters such as unethical and irregular adoption practices
CITIZENSHIP OR IMMIGRATION – DETERMINE WHICH TO USE
If at least one adoptive parent was a Canadian citizen at the time of adoption and the adoptive parent
can pass on Canadian citizenship by descent to the adopted person:
- You can choose to use either the citizenship or the immigration process except in certain situations
You must use the citizenship process if:
- The adopted person will not live in Canada immediately after the adoption and citizenship processes are complete
You must use the immigration process if:
- neither parent was a Canadian citizen when the adoption took, or
- you are subject to the first-generation limit to citizenship by descent unless you are eligible to benefit from one of the exceptions to the first generation limit, or
- if both parents are permanent residents at the time of adoption
Note: Some countries require that you complete the adoption in Canada. In these cases, you should use the Immigration (Permanent Resident) process.
To determine which is more appropriate for your family - Immigration or Citizenship, there could be other factors you should take into account apart from the above factors.
There are two parts to the citizenship process:
- Part 1: IRCC confirms your Canadian citizenship
- Part 2: IRCC checks if your adopted child can become a Canadian citizen
To be eligible for a direct grant of Canadian citizenship, the adopted person must:
- not be a Canadian citizen,
- have at least one adoptive parent who, at the time of their adoption, was or is a Canadian,
- not be subject to the first-generation limit to citizenship by descent (unless eligible to benefit from one of the exceptions to the first generation limit), and
- meet the requirements of the Citizenship Act.
Because of the first-generation limit, children born outside Canada and adopted by a Canadian citizen are not eligible for a grant of Canadian citizenship if:
- their adoptive Canadian citizen parent was born outside Canada to a Canadian citizen or was granted Canadian citizenship under section 5.1, the adoption provisions of the Citizenship Act
Unless their adoptive Canadian citizen parent or grandparent was employed, as described, in one of the following
exceptions to the first generation limit.
There are two exceptions to the first generation limit:
- at the time of the person’s adoption, either of the person’s adoptive parents was outside Canada in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, the federal public administration, or the public service of a province or territory, other than as a locally engaged person (a Crown servant);
- at the time of either of the adoptive parents’ birth or adoption, one of their parents (the adopted person’s grandparents) was outside Canada in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, the federal public administration, or the public service of a province or territory, other than as a locally engaged person (a Crown Servant).
Requirements for intercountry adoption
When a Canadian citizen adopts a child, the child's citizenship grant is subject to the adoption meeting the following requirements:
- The adoption will create a genuine relationship between parent and child
- The child's adoption is as per the laws of the place where it took place and the laws of the country of residence of adoptive parents.
- The child's adoption should not be primarily to acquire immigration or citizenship for them.
- The adoption must not have occurred in a manner that circumvented the legal requirement for international adoptions
If you are adopting a child under 18 years of age
- The adoption must be in the best interests of the child
If you are adopting a person 18 years of age or older
- Before the person attained the age of 18 years and at the time of the adoption, a genuine relationship of parent and child must exist between you and the person you are adopting
The immigration process has two parts:
- the application for sponsorship; and
- the application for permanent residence for the child.
After your child arrives in Canada as a permanent resident, you can apply for their citizenship but only after finalizing their adoption.
Requirements to sponsor a child
To sponsor a child from another country for adoption, you must:
- be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident (if you do not currently reside in Canada, you must do so when the adopted child becomes a permanent resident);
- live in Canada; and
- be at least 18 years old.
You may not be eligible to sponsor in some cases, such as:
- if you did not meet the requirements of a previous sponsorship agreement
- if you defaulted on a court-ordered support order, such as alimony or child support
- if you got convicted of a violent criminal offense and were not pardoned, or
- if you do not live in Canada now and do not plan to live full-time in Canada when the child becomes a permanent resident
If you live in Quebec, you must also meet their immigration sponsorship requirements.
Requirements for permanent resident status
For your child to be eligible for permanent resident status, you must be:
- a Canadian citizen, born or naturalized in Canada, applying on behalf of the adopted child who is under 18 years of age at the time of application
- an adopted person who is 18 years of age or older at the time of application and was adopted by a Canadian citizen, born or naturalized in Canada
- a legal guardian applying on behalf of an adopted child under 18 years of age at the time of application if the child had at least one Canadian parent, born or naturalized in Canada, at the time of adoption
- a non-Canadian adoptive parent applying on behalf of an adopted child under 18 years of age at the time of application if the other parent is a Canadian citizen, born or naturalized in Canada at the time of the adoption
Requirements for intercountry adoption
Most intercountry adoptions will take place in the child’s home country. Each country has different laws and
procedures covering adoption by foreigners. For instance, some allow adoptions outside the child’s home country,
while others only permit adoption inside the country. Not all allow adoptions.
If you are adopting a child who is related to you, different rules from the provinces or/and the country of origin may apply.
The immigration process allows intercountry adoptions to be completed in Canada or outside, depending on the law of the child’s home country.
For Canadian immigration purposes, all intercountry adoptions must:
- be legal in the child’s home country and in the province or territory where you live;
- end the legal relationship between your adopted child and his or her biological parents;
- meet the requirements of your province or territory, including a home study;
- create a genuine parent-child relationship between you and the child;
- be in the best interests of the child;
- not be primarily to gain permanent resident status for the child in Canada.
You may sponsor children adopted outside Canada to come to Canada if:
- Both biological parents have given consent (if they are living).
- The adoption outside Canada was legal
- Hague Convention requirements, if they apply, were met
Adopted children must complete a medical exam before being issued a permanent resident visa. Your province or territory or a licensed adoption agency will tell you how and when it will take place. You must also sign a statement that you have obtained information regarding any medical conditions the child may have.
Get in Touch for more information about immigration and citizenship processes for sponsoring your adopted children or for assistance in applying.