Requirements for Intercountry Adoption to Canada

Requirements for Intercountry Adoption to Canada

Intercountry adoption is very special to us at Sisu Legal. Christina, one of our lawyers, is from a family that has been deeply impacted by intercountry adoption. 

Intercountry adoption refers to adopting a child born outside of Canada. Most of the time, the intercountry adoption will take place in the child’s home country. Each country is different, and applies different laws and procedures to international adoptions.

There are two processes that adoptive parents must go through when adopting a child from outside of Canada: the adoption process and the immigration process. The adoption process falls within provincial jurisdiction in Canada. In Ontario, the adoption authority is the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. Prospective adoptive parents should contact their provincial adoption authority for information on eligibility and requirements for adoption.

The immigration process falls within federal jurisdiction in Canada, and has two parts:

  • The application for sponsorship; and
  • The application for permanent residence for the child.

Adoptive parents may apply to sponsor their child once:

  • The adoption process is in progress; and
  • The relevant province or territory has sent the following document:
    • Letter of Agreement;
    • Letter of No Objection; or
    • Letter or No Involvement

In some cases, adoptive parents have not yet been matched with a child when beginning the immigration application for family sponsorship. The Canadian government allows adoptive parents to leave the name of the child blank on the sponsorship forms in this circumstance.

There are a number of eligibility requirements that sponsors must meet, including the requirement to sign an undertaking to care for and support the adoptive child. These undertakings are binding contracts between the sponsor and the government, and are binding for 10 years or until the child reaches the age of 25 - whichever comes first. If you haven’t already, read our blog post on Sponsoring a Child to Immigrate to Canada for a thorough review of sponsorship eligibility and undertakings for the support of dependent children.

Once the adoption process is in progress and the adoptive parents have received one of the above letters, they may apply for a permanent resident visa for the child to come to Canada. Because Canada is a State Party to the Hague Convention on Adoption, the adoption must strictly adhere to the procedural requirements of the treaty. If the Hague requirements are not followed to a tee, the IRCC will refuse the family sponsorship application for the adoptive child.

After the child arrives in Canada as a permanent resident, the adoptive parents can apply for citizenship on the child’s behalf. The adoption must be finalized before the child can be granted citizenship.

If you are adopting a child from another country, Schedule a Strategy Session with our lawyers to learn more about your options for bringing your adoptive child to Canada.

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