Choose a process—Intercountry adoption

Once the adoption process is complete, you must apply to bring your child to Canada. Some adoptive parents are eligible to bring their children to Canada using the citizenship process, while others must use the immigration process.

Please note that you must complete the adoption process and the citizenship or immigration process before you may bring your child to live with you in Canada. If the adoption process is to be completed in Canada, the immigration or citizenship process can begin before the adoption process is completed.

Use either the citizenship or the immigration process

Determine which process to use

If at least one adoptive parent wa s a Canadian citizen at the time of adoption or, for adoptions that took place prior to January 1, 1947, at least one adoptive parent became a Canadian citizen on January 1, 1947 (or April 1, 1949, in the case of Newfoundland and Labrador for adoptions that took place prior to April 1, 1949), and the adoptive parent is able to 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.

Exceptions:

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 place or for adoptions that took place prior to January 1, 1947, neither adoptive parent became a Canadian citizen on January 1, 1947 (or April 1, 1949, in the case of Newfoundland and Labrador for adoptions that took place prior to April 1, 1949), 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.

The first generation limit to citizenship for adopted persons and exceptions to the limit

The first generation limit to Canadian citizenship by descent applies to foreign-born individuals adopted by a person who was a Canadian citizen at the time of the adoption, as well as to those whose adoption took place prior to January 1, 1947 by a person who became a Canadian citizen on January 1, 1947 (or April 1, 1949, in the case of Newfoundland and Labrador for adoptions that took place prior to April 1, 1949). This means that children born outside Canada and adopted by a Canadian citizen are not eligible for a grant of Canadian citizenship under section 5.1, the adoption provisions of the Citizenship Act, if:

  • their adoptive Canadian citizen parent was born outside Canada to a Canadian citizen; or
  • their adoptive Canadian citizen parent 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:

  1. at the time of the person’s adoption, either of the person’s adoptive parents was employed 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);
  2. at the time of either of the adoptive parents’ birth or adoption, one of their parents (the adopted person’s grandparents) was employed 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).

Differences between the processes

Once you know which process you are eligible to use, you can learn more about what each process will mean for you and your adopted child.

Learn about the requirements and the impacts of each process.

  Adopted person receives a direct grant of citizenship through the citizenship process Adopted person becomes a permanent resident through the immigration process
Status at the end of the process? Canadian citizen Permanent resident
Who can apply? An adoptive parent who is a Canadian citizen at the time of the adoption.

An adoptive parent who is a Canadian citizen; or

an adoptive parent who is a permanent resident.

Fees

If the adopted person is:

  • a minor (under 18 years):
    • processing fee is $100
  • an adult (18 years and over):
    • processing fee is $530
    • right of citizenship fee is $100.

If the adopted person is:

  • under 22 years:
    • sponsorship fee is $75.00
    • processing fee is $75.00
  • 22 years and over:
    • sponsorship fee is $75.00
    • processing fee is $475.00.
Will the adopted person lose their foreign nationality or citizenship after the process?

In some countries, the adopted person could lose their foreign nationality or citizenship once they become a Canadian citizen.

For more information, contact the embassy, High Commission or consulate of the country of the adopted person’s foreign nationality or citizenship.

The adopted person will not lose their foreign nationality or citizenship once they become a permanent resident of Canada.

Is a medical exam needed?

No. However, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) recommends that adoptive parents have the child examined by a reliable doctor to know what to expect and what medical attention the child may require.

The doctor should examine the child and provide a comprehensive report to prospective adoptive parents.

Yes. Adoptive parents must provide a written statement to the visa office confirming that they have obtained information regarding the child’s medical condition.

Learn more about medical exams.

What documents will be issued?

The adoptive parents will be mailed the adopted person’s certificate of Canadian citizenship. If the adopted person is 18 years of age or older at the time of the application, it will be sent to them instead of the adoptive parents.

Adopted persons may apply for a Canadian passport once they have been granted citizenship or they may apply for a facilitation visa. If under the age of 18, the adoptive parents would apply on their behalf. This would be placed in the applicant’s home country passport. Note that in some cases, adopted persons (or their adoptive parents, if under 18 years of age) are required to apply for a facilitation visa due to the source country not allowing them to leave the country on a travel document other than their own national passport.

The adopted person will be issued a permanent resident visa before they leave for Canada. It will be placed in the adopted person’s home country passport or travel document. A confirmation of permanent residence document is also issued to the adopted person.

They will receive a permanent resident (PR) card when they arrive in Canada.

How will the adopted person’s children be affected by the new law limiting citizenship by descent to the first generation born abroad?

The first generation limit would not apply to the adopted person’s children if they were born in Canada. As such, they would be Canadian citizens at birth. See the section above entitled:  “The first generation limit to citizenship for adopted persons and exceptions to the limit” for further information. Adopted persons subject to the limit would be required to go through the immigration process.

The first generation limit would not apply to persons where one or both of their parents were, at the time of their birth or adoption, employed outside Canada in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, the federal public administration or the public service of a province, otherwise than as a locally engaged person. As such, they would be Canadian citizens at birth.

The first generation limit would apply to children adopted by the adopted person, and as such they would not be eligible for a direct grant of citizenship unless the other parent was a Canadian citizen by birth in Canada or by naturalization. They would be required to go through the immigration process.

The first generation limit would not apply to the adopted person’s children if they were born in Canada.

The first generation limit would also not apply to the adopted person’s children born abroad if the adopted person was granted Canadian citizenship by way of naturalization and/or the other parent was a Canadian citizen by being born in Canada or through naturalization. As such, they would be Canadian at birth.

The first generation limit would also not apply to children adopted abroad by the adopted person if the adopted person had been granted citizenship through naturalization and/or the other parent of the child was a Canadian citizen by being born in Canada or through naturalization. As such, they would be eligible for a direct grant of citizenship.

  Learn more about the citizenship process. Learn more about the immigration process.

Find adoption authorities

Not all countries allow adoptions. Before you apply to adopt a child from a foreign country, you must contact the central adoption authority in your province or territory or the appropriate foreign representative in Canada to find out if adoption is allowed.

Learn about CIC’s role in intercountry adoption

CIC plays no role in the first step of the intercountry adoption process. The immigration or citizenship process cannot begin until the adoption has been finalized.

Once the adoption has been finalized, you can begin the immigration or citizenship process to bring your adopted child to Canada. Learn more about CIC’s role in intercountry adoption.

Learn about the Hague Convention

Since 1996 Canada has been a party to the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption (concluded May 29, 1993). The Hague Convention was established to help countries regulate international adoptions with respect to the best interests of the child, and with respect for his or her fundamental rights, and to prevent the abduction, the sale of, or traffic of children. Learn more about the Hague Convention.

Adopting in post-disaster situations

Adopting a child from a country faced with serious conflict or an emergency situation presents many challenges. Learn more about adopting in post-disaster situations.

 
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