Canada Citizenship by Adoption

If you’ve adopted a child from another country outside of Canada, you may be able to apply for them to receive Canadian citizenship.

For more information about Canadian citizenship by adoption, or any other issue surrounding Canadian citizenship or immigration, reach out to one of our immigration lawyers today. Call us on +1 844 290 6312, or contact us online.

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    Overview of Canadian Citizenship by Adoption

    Canadian citizens and permanent residents are able to adopt children from overseas and bring them back to live with them in Canada.

    There are two main parts to this process. The first is the adoption process, where parents undergo complex local and international procedures in order to adopt a child.

    The second is the immigration process or citizenship process, where the child then applies for permanent residence or citizenship.

    Which pathway the child takes depends solely on the immigration status of the parents.

    This article will discuss the steps of the citizenship process, where the child is adopted by one or more Canadian citizens and can therefore also become a Canadian citizen.

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    Who is Eligible for Canadian Citizenship by Adoption?

    In order for an adopted child to be eligible for Canadian citizenship, they must:

    • Not be a Canadian citizen
    • Have at least one adoptive parent who was or is a Canadian citizen at the time of the adoption
      • For adoptions that took place prior to January 1, 1947, the child had to have at least one adoptive parent who became a Canadian citizen on January 1, 1947 (or April 1, 1949, in the case of Newfoundland and Labrador)
    • Not be subject to the first generation limit to citizenship by descent (unless exempt)
    • Meet the requirements of the Canadian Citizenship Act

    What Are the Guidelines for International Adoption?

    There are a few important guidelines that govern the viability of citizenship by adoption.

    If the Adopted Child is 18 or Under

    In order for the child to be granted citizenship, all of the following requirements must be met. The adoption must:

    • Be in the best interests of the child
    • Create a genuine relationship of parent and child
    • Be in accordance with the laws of the place where the adoption took place and the laws of the country where the adoptive parents reside
    • Not have been entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring immigration or citizenship statuses
    • Not have occurred in a manner that circumvented the legal requirement for international adoptions

    If the Adopted Child is 18 or Under

    In order for the child to be granted citizenship, all of the following requirements must be met:

    • A genuine relationship of parent and child between the person and the adoptive parent must have existed before the person attained the age of 18 years and at the time of the adoption
    • The adoption must be in accordance with the laws of the place where the adoption took place and the laws of the country where the adoptive parents reside
    • The adoption must not have been entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring immigration or citizenship statuses
    • The adoption must not have occurred in a manner that circumvented the legal requirement for international adoptions

    Overview of How to Apply for Citizenship

    There are two parts to the citizenship process for a child adopted by a Canadian citizen.

    The first is establishing that the adoptive parent or parents were or are Canadian citizens at the time of adoption.

    The second is assessing the adoptive child’s eligibility for Canadian citizenship.

    Note that you should not submit the second part of the application until you have completed the first part and it has been assessed and approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

    How to Apply for Citizenship: Part One

    Part one of the citizenship application is establishing the citizenship status of the adoptive parent(s).

    Required Documents for Part One

    For this part of the process, you will need to submit the following documents:

    • Confirmation of Canadian Citizenship of the Adoptive Parent(s) form (CIT 0010)
    • Two pieces of personal ID
      • If the adopted person is under 18 years of age, this will be two pieces of personal ID for the person who is making the application on behalf of the adopted person (adoptive parent or legal guardian)
      • If the adopted person is 18 years of age or older, this will be two pieces of personal ID for the adopted person
    • One proof of Canadian citizenship of the adoptive parent(s), such as:
      • Provincial/territorial birth certificate
      • Certificate of Canadian citizenship
      • Certificate of naturalization
    • Receipt of application fees
    • Document Checklist
    • Other relevant documents, such as:
      • Use of a Representative form (IMM 5476)
      • Documentation proving legal guardianship
      • Documentation to prove a change of name
      • Request form for a Change of Sex or Gender Identifier

    Note that any documents not in either English or French must be accompanied with a certified translation into either one of these languages.

    How to Submit Part One

    In order to submit this part of your application, you must gather all of the supporting documents mentioned and ensure that you have filled in the Confirmation of Canadian Citizenship of the Adoptive Parent(s) form.

    This form must be completed as fully as possible and also signed and dated.

    You must then pay the application fees online. To do this, you will need a valid email address, a credit or debit card and access to a printer.

    Once you have paid your fees, ensure that you have printed out your receipt and included it in your application.

    Once you are confident that you have collected every necessary aspect and element of your application, you will then have to mail it to the Case Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

    After You Submit Part One

    Once you mail your application, it will be reviewed by IRCC to confirm that all the necessary documents have been included and the payment has been made.

    Once your application has been processed, you will receive a decision letter.

    If your application has been approved, you will receive confirmation that one of the adoptive parents is eligible to pass on Canadian citizenship to the adopted child and further instructions on how to submit part two.

    Get in touch with our immigration lawyers to receive assistance with your Canadian citizenship case today. Contact Us

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      How to Apply for Citizenship: Part Two

      Part two of the citizenship application is assessing the adoptive child’s eligibility for Canadian citizenship.

      Required Documents for Part Two

      For this part of the process, you will need to submit the following documents:

      • Adoptee’s Application form (CIT 0012)
      • Two pieces of the adopted person’s personal ID, such as:
        • A driver’s licence
        • A health insurance card
        • A birth certificate
        • A hospital record
      • One of the following supporting documents (except for adopted persons destined to the province of Quebec):
        • An adoption order
        • An adoption judgment
        • An adoption certificate
      • The adopted person’s original birth certificate showing the names of their biological parents
      • For orphaned children, the death certificate of their biological parents (certified authentic by the appropriate local government authority)
      • Two identical citizenship application photographs of the adopted person (only one is to be sent with part two of the application; you must keep the other one for later use)
      • Document Checklist
      • Other relevant documents, such as:
        • Use of a Representative form (IMM 5476)
        • Documentation proving legal guardianship
        • Documentation to prove a change of name

      Note that any documents not in either English or French must be accompanied with a certified translation into either one of these languages.

      How to Submit Part Two

      Similar to part one, you must gather all of the supporting documents mentioned and ensure that you have filled in the Adoptee’s Application form.

      This form must be completed as fully as possible and also signed and dated.

      Once you are confident that you have collected every necessary aspect and element of your application, you will then have to mail it to the address specified in the confirmation letter you received after part one of your application was approved.

      After You Submit Part Two

      Once you mail your application, it will be reviewed by IRCC to confirm that all the necessary documents have been included and the adoption meets the requirements of the Citizenship Act and Regulations.

      If your application is approved, the adopted child will be granted Canadian citizenship. You will also receive a letter confirming this, along with a Canadian citizenship certificate.

      If your application is refused, you will receive a letter outlining the reasons why. If you feel like your application was unfairly or wrongly refused, you may apply for a judicial review of the decision to the Federal Court of Canada.

      What Are the Fees and Processing Times?

      Applying for Canadian citizenship through adoption costs $CAN 100 for people under the age of 18.

      For people over the age of 18, it will cost $CAN 630.

      For processing times, IRCC estimate that part one of the application may take around 12 months to process.

      IRCC do not give an estimation as to how part two of the application may take to process, as this varies greatly by complexity. However, applications may take between a few months to over a year to process.

      Note that the following factors may affect the processing time for your application:

      • The complexity of application submitted
      • If the application is complete
      • how easily your information can be verified
      • How long you take to respond to any requests or concerns

      How Can Total Law Help?

      The process of granting Canadian citizenship to an adopted child or person is a significant step in the adoption process.

      For Canadian citizens who are able to take advantage of this process, it will be incredibly important for the process to go as smoothly as possible.

      If you’re currently going through the process of adopting and need assistance with your child’s Canadian citizenship application, Total Law can help.

      We offer extensive and comprehensive immigration advice and support for people in Canada and beyond. We have decades’ worth of experience working in the immigration sector and have the requisite knowledge to help you with any issues or concerns you might face.

      Whether you need assistance with gathering the right supporting documents or clarification on Canadian citizen law or international adoption policies, we can help.

      We can also help advise if you’re going through the immigration route of adoption and looking to make your child a Canadian permanent resident instead of a citizen.

      For more information about the services we offer and what we could do for you, reach out to one of our immigration advisers today. Call us on +1 844 290 6312, or contact us online.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                For part two of the application, you will need to send certain documents regarding the adoption process.

                Note that these documents will be different depending on whether the adoptive child will live in Quebec or in any other Canadian province.

                If the adopted child will live in Quebec and the adoption has been finalized by a court in Quebec, you will have to supply one of the following documents with part two of the application:

                • Jugement d’adoption
                • Jugement sur requête en adoption
                • Reconnaissance de jugement d’adoption
                • Certificat d’inscription d’adoption
                • Attestation d’adoption
                • Rettre d’attestation d’adoption

                Yes, your adopted child will need a valid document to travel to Canada, even after they have been granted citizenship.

                In most cases, this will mean applying for a Canadian passport.

                However, if you’re unable to apply for a Canadian passport, you may instead be eligible for a Facilitation visa in order for the child to enter Canada with their passport of their country of origin.

                A Facilitation visa must be applied for through the visa office where they were originally granted citizenship.

                The first generation limit rule is a restriction on Canadian citizenship and how many times it can be passed down by descent.

                According to the rule, for children born outside of Canada from 17 April, 2009 onwards, Canadian citizenship can only be passed down one generation. This means that if the child was born outside Canada to a Canadian parent, they will not be Canadian if their Canadian parent was either:

                • Also born outside Canada to a Canadian parent
                • Granted Canadian citizenship under section 5.1, the adoption provisions of the Citizenship Act

                This means that a child who belongs to the second generation of children born to a Canadian parent abroad would not be entitled to citizenship, unless the other adoptive parent is a Canadian citizen by birth or by naturalization.

                However, this rule does not apply if any of the following are true:

                • At the time of the person’s birth, their parent 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)
                • At the time of their parent’s birth or adoption, the person’s grandparent was employed outside Canada in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, the federal public administration or public service of a province or territory, other than as a locally engaged person (a Crown servant).