Sponsor Your Adopted Child

Sponsor Your Adopted Child

October 4, 2019

Before you apply 

Research the child’s country of origin to determine whether they are subject to any restrictions adoption. Some countries do not permit Canadians to adopt children born there. And some Canadian provinces also restrict adoptions from certain countries. 

The IRCC posts a list of countries with suspensions or restrictions on international adoptions. Be sure to check before you begin the formal process.

After researching the child’s country, you then need to find the adoption authorities. Contact the central adoption authority in your province or territory to find out if adoption is allowed. 

Provincial and Territorial Central Adoption Authorities that are available in Canada now: 

  • Alberta: Ministry of Human Services
  • British Columbia: Ministry of Children and Family Development
  • Manitoba: Department of Family Services and Labour
  • New Brunswick: Department of Social Development
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: Department of Child, Youth & Family Services
  • Nova Scotia: Department of Community Services
  • Northwest Territories: Department of Health and Social Services
  • Nunavut: Department of Health and Social Services
  • Ontario: Ministry of Children and Youth Services
  • Prince Edward Island: Department of Community Services and Seniors
  • Quebec: Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux
  • Saskatchewan: Ministry of Social Services
  • Yukon: Department of Health and Social Services

The Canadian government allows citizens and permanent residents of Canada to sponsor-members of the family class, but it requires that arriving immigrants to receive care and support from their sponsors.

Members of the family class include:

  • a sponsor’s spouse
  • a sponsor’s common-law partner or conjugal partner
  • a sponsor’s dependent child
  • a sponsor’s parent
  • a person the sponsor intends to adopt
  • and other relatives of the sponsor as defined by regulation

Who may use this application?

This application guide is designed for Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada who are 18 years of age or older and wish to sponsor-members of the family class.

About the immigration process

The two processes that adoptive parents must go through when adopting a child from another country include the adoption process and the immigration process. 

In this part, we mainly discuss the immigration part, to make sure you know what to prepare once the adoption process is completed. 

The immigration process has two parts:

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

Please note that the adoption must be finalized before the child can be granted citizenship. However, if the adoption process is to be completed in Canada, the immigration or citizenship process can begin before the adoption process is completed.

Requirements / Eligibility

Throughout the process, there are many requirements for both the adoptive parents and the child. Based on each stage, we divide the requirements into four main sections to keep track easily.

  • Requirements to sponsor a child
  • Requirements for permanent resident status
  • Requirements for intercountry adoption
  • Medical requirements 

Let’s take a closer look at the specific requirements.

1. Sponsor a child

To sponsor an adopted child from another country, you must satisfy all these requirements:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident (you might not currently reside in Canada, but you must be so when the child becomes a permanent resident);
  • Live in Canada; and
  • Be at least 18 years old.

Also, keep in mind the cases that you may be considered ineligible:

  • Unable to meet the requirements of a previous sponsorship agreement;
  • Defaulted on a court-ordered support order (alimony or child support);
  • Convicted of a violent criminal offense or
  • Not live in Canada now and do not plan to live full-time in Canada when the child becomes a permanent resident.

For those whose residence is in Quebec, there are different standards you must meet instead.

2. Permanent resident status

The requirements mentioned above are just for sponsoring. If you wish your child to be eligible for permanent resident status, at the time of application, you must be:

  • A Canadian citizen, born or naturalized in Canada;
  • An adopted person who is 18 years of age or older, and was adopted by a Canadian citizen;
  • A legal guardian if the child had at least one Canadian parent;
  • A non-Canadian adoptive parent if the other parent is a Canadian citizen at the time of the adoption.

For all cases, you must also apply on behalf of the adopted child who is under 18 years of age.

3. Intercountry adoption

Most intercountry adoptions will take place in the child’s home country. Different laws and procedures may cover adoption for foreigners. 

The immigration process allows two types of adoptions of children under 18. Depending on the law of the child’s home country, the intercountry adoption must neither be completed outside of Canada or completed in Canada.

For Canadian immigration purposes, all intercountry adoptions must:

  • Be legal in both the child’s home country and 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;
  • Be in the best interests of the child and create a genuine parent-child relationship;
  • Not be primarily to gain permanent resident status for the child in Canada.

Intercountry adoptions outside Canada can be complex. The sponsored child needs to meet requirements as well, he or she must have:

  • Informed consent of his or her biological parents (if they are living).
  • Legal adoption outside Canada.
  • The requirements of the Hague Convention if they apply.

The Hague Convention protects children and their families against the risks of illegal or ill-prepared adoptions abroad.

4. Medical requirements

Adopted children must complete a medical exam before giving a permanent resident visa. Your province or territory or a licensed adoption agency will inform you of the detail, such as where and how it takes place. Also, a signed statement showing that you have obtained information about any medical conditions the child may have is needed too. 

Use the lists of provincial or territorial government offices above to consult about what documents are required.

How to apply?

Although adoptive parents are advised to contact provincial or territorial adoption authority, you should also read all of the information in this section to know what to expect.

Once the adoption process is in progress and you have received a Letter of No Objection from the province or territory, you can apply to sponsor your child. After that, you can apply for a permanent resident visa for your child to come to Canada.

There are three steps in the application process:

  • Get the application package 
  • Pay the fees
  • Mail the application

Step 1. Get the application package

The application package includes a guide and all the forms you need to fill out. Read the guide carefully to complete the application forms, and be sure to provide the required documents. If information or documents are missing, your application may be delayed.

Here is the checklist of what needs to prepare:

When filling out the sponsorship forms, you may leave the name of the child blank if you have not yet been matched with a child. 

By completing the sponsorship forms, you are committing to an agreement that you will support and provide your adopted child. You are bound to this agreement for 10 years or until the child reaches the age of 25—whichever comes first.

Step 2. Pay the fees

The application fees vary from the age of the adopted person. If he or she is: 

  • under 22 years: 
    • the sponsorship fee is $75.00
    • the processing fee is $75.00
  • 22 years and over:
      • sponsorship fee is $75.00
      • the processing fee is $475.00.

You can pay your application fees at most banks or online.

Step 3. Mail your application

Send completed application forms along with the required documents and fees to the IRCC office mailing address below: 

By mail: 

Sponsorship: (Type of sponsorship)
Case Processing Centre – Sydney
P.O. Box 9500
Sydney, NS
B1P 0H5

By courier:

Sponsorship: (Type of sponsorship)
Case Processing Centre – Sydney
49 Dorchester Street
Sydney, NS
B1P 5Z2

Finally, remember to sign and date the application before it is submitted. If your application is not signed, or the appropriate fees are not included, it will be returned. 

Sign and date at the bottom of the page if you are 18 years of age or older. Less than 18 years of age, your form must be signed by one of your parents or legal guardian.

Permanent resident status for your adopted child

If your application for sponsorship is accepted, the Canadian visa office will send you an application for permanent residence. You can either fill out this application form on the child’s behalf or send it to the child’s guardian to do so. The completed application form must be sent back to that Canadian visa office.

The application will be reviewed to verify that the child meets the immigration requirements. If the adopted child is not an infant, the visa officer may have to interview the child to make a decision.

You must ensure that the visa officer has all the information. Your requests for more information will also help avoid unnecessary delays.

When your child has met the immigration requirements, he or she is ready to be issued a permanent resident visa. However, you should wait until you know with certainty that all requirements have been met. This is for the child’s protection and to avoid unnecessary expense and disappointment.

How long would it take?

After you apply to sponsor an adopted child to Canada, there are several more steps.

Sponsorship applications for adoption cases are processed within 48 hours after being received.

The Canadian government generally will not permit your child to live with you in Canada until his or her immigration application has been completed. 

Make sure all of the paperwork is complete and correct, and be ready to submit the child’s immigration application as soon as possible to avoid any delay.

You can find your processing time with the link here.

Your child’s passport to Canada

You must obtain the child’s passport from his or her home country and present it to the Canadian visa office. The offices must be the one that served the child’s home country for the child to receive a permanent resident visa. The visa and the child’s passport must be shown to Canada Border Services officers when the child arrives in Canada.

The adoption agency in your province or territory will tell you where to apply. Make sure to get this information before you plan to bring the child to Canada.

Prepare for arrival 

When your adoptive child arrives in Canada, he or she will meet an officer from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to formally receive permanent resident status in Canada.

The CBSA officer will ask for the child’s passport or travel documents. Make sure you have them handy, you can speed up entry into Canada.

If you and your child travel without the child’s second adoptive parent (if there is one), you need to have any documents the CBSA officer may require, for instance, letters of permission for children traveling with only one legal guardian.

After the child has become a permanent resident, he or she will receive a permanent resident card. You must provide the child’s new address in Canada to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to receive the permanent resident card. The card will be delivered by mail about a month later.


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