Bringing an adopted child to Canada


It is not uncommon for Canadians to adopt children from abroad.

The process of citizenship by adoption

Obtaining citizenship through adoption is a two-part process.

Part 1 is used to determine whether at least one of the adoptive parents is a Canadian citizen born or naturalized in Canada and is eligible to pass on citizenship.

Part 2 is used to assess the adoptee’s eligibility for Canadian citizenship.

For the adoption of minors, the adoption must be carried out with respect for the best interests of the child, must create a true parent-child relationship definitively severing legal ties with the child’s biological parents and must be carried out in accordance with the laws of the place where the adoption took place and the laws where the adoptive parents resided at the time. Finally, the adoption cannot have been registered primarily for the purpose of obtaining a Canadian immigration or citizenship benefit.

These requirements are discussed in more detail below.

For adult adoption, an additional requirement is that a bona fide parent-child relationship must have ended before the person reached age 18 and at the time of adoption.

Limit of one generation

Since 2009, Canada has limited citizenship by descent to one generation. As such, it is important to note that eligibility for citizenship by adoption is limited to children adopted from a Canadian parent who is a citizen of Canada by birth or by naturalization. There is an exception to this rule if the Canadian parent was working outside of Canada for the Canadian government, the Canadian Forces or a province or territory at the time of the adoption.

Additionally, adoptees who become Canadian citizens through the citizenship by adoption process will not be able to pass on their citizenship to any of their children outside of Canada as of April 17, 2009, and no child they adopt within outside of Canada as of April 17, 2009. On April 17, 2009, be eligible to obtain Canadian citizenship through this process.

Expat adoptions

If Canadian citizens living abroad wish to adopt children, they will generally need to obtain a letter from their last province or territory of residence stating that the foreign adoption, once completed, would be recognized in the province or territory if the family returned to Canada.

Medical and criminal record checks

People who become citizens through adoption are not required to undergo a medical examination, criminal record check, or security screening.

Is adoption Authentic

As noted above, a Canadian cannot sponsor an adopted child under the age of eighteen unless the adoption is in the best interests of the child. The Hague Adoption Convention guides this definition. Furthermore, the adoption could not have been entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring an immigration privilege.

An adoption is considered to be in the best interests of the child if it takes place in the following circumstances:

  • A competent authority has conducted or approved a home study of the adoptive parents;
  • Before adoption, the child’s parents have given their free and informed consent to the adoption of the child;
  • Adoption created a true parent-child relationship;
  • The adoption was in accordance with the laws of the place where the adoption took place;
  • The adoption was in accordance with the laws of the province of arrival and the competent authority of the province of the child’s intended destination declared that it did not object to the adoption; And
  • The country in which the adoption took place and the province of intended destination of the child are parties to the Hague Convention on Adoption OR if the country in which the adoption took place or the province of intended destination of the child is not a party to the Hague Adoption Convention, so there is no evidence that the adoption is for the purpose of child trafficking or undue gain.

Best interests of the child

“Best interests of the child” is a concept found in many legal instruments that deal with issues relating to children, such as the Convention on the Rights of the ChildTHE Hague Convention on International adoption and the Divorce law.

The term generally refers to the deliberations that judicial and administrative courts undertake when deciding what types of services, actions, and orders will best serve a child, as well as who is best suited to care for a child .
A number of factors relating to the situation of the child and the situation and capacity of the child’s potential caregiver(s) are taken into account, with the safety and well-being of the child being the primary consideration. most important concern.

Unlike adoptions within the permanent residency process, in citizenship applications the authenticity of the parent-child relationship and the legality of the adoption are considered requirements independent of the best interests of the child.

When there is provincial or territorial involvement, they consider the best interests of the child before making the decision to write a letter of approval or no objection. Each province has unique standards, even if they are similar.

Where there is no provincial involvement, visa officers must assess information such as the home study report, ensure consents from biological parents have been obtained and that there is no no child trafficking or child gain.

Additionally, officers may determine whether there is evidence demonstrating that the biological parents’ true and informed consent was given. If an officer is not satisfied that such consent has been obtained, he or she may question the biological parent or anyone involved in the process.

True parent-child relationship

Adoptions under the Canadian regime Citizenship Act are considered full adoptions, which means that they completely and definitively sever the pre-existing legal relationship between parent and child. Several factors are taken into account, including:

  • Inheritance rights – the maintenance of inheritance rights by an adopted child in relation to their natural parents may be considered, although this is not decisive;
  • Free and informed parental consent
  • Kinship Adoption – In such situations, a continuing relationship and contact with the birth parent or extended family member may still occur, but the birth parent should no longer act as a parent and the new parent-parent relationship child between the adopted child and the adoptive parents must be obvious and not simply exist in law.

Case law

As noted by the Federal Court of Canada in Kenne v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration)2010 CF 1079In order to determine whether the adoption complies with the laws of the place where the adoption took place, immigration officers should not base their conclusion solely on their own interpretation of foreign law and should take into account any documentary evidence filed who explains it.

The words “bona fide parent-child relationship” do not require that there was a fully developed parent-child relationship between the adoptive parents and the children at the time of the sponsored application. Most often, the real relationship is created as a result of adoption. Thus, as noted by the Federal Court in Young v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)2015 CF 316the mere fact that adoptive parents wish to take their adopted children with them to the country where they live does not constitute a presumption that they are attempting to create an adoption of convenience:

Finally, as the Federal Court of Canada points out in Mclawrence v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2015 CF 867an adoptive parent’s intention to provide a better quality of life for a child adopted in Canada is a “legitimate objective” and not an indicator of bad faith.


Kafala is a form of guardianship found in many Muslim countries, which does not sever the pre-existing legal filiation between the biological parents and the child and does not create legal filiation between the child and the guardians. As such, kafala arrangements are not covered by the Hague Convention and are not considered adoptions under Canadian or international law. Canadian immigration legislation therefore does not recognize these types of arrangements for the purposes of international adoption.

It is possible for children under kafala arrangements to immigrate permanently to Canada through humanitarian considerations or requests.



Here are two IRCC training manuals on adoption.

Citizenship Adoption Policy

International adoption process

PM03 Adoption

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