A modification to the Canadian Citizenship Act effective December 23, 2007 enables children adopted abroad by a Canadian citizen to become a Canadian citizen and obtain a Canadian passport without the requirement of first becoming a permanent resident under the immigration sponsorship process.
To qualify under this new streamlined process on behalf of an adoptee it must be shown that:
- at least one adoptive parent is, or was, a Canadian citizen when the adoption took place
- the adoption severs (or severed) all ties with the adopted person’s legal parents
- the adoption was or will be completed outside Canada.
- the adoption must conform to the laws of the province or the territory of residence of the adoptive parents
The adopted person does not meet the requirements for the citizenship process if:
- neither parent was a Canadian citizen when the adoption took place
- the adoption took place before February 15, 1977
- the adoption did not fully sever all ties with the child’s legal parents
- the adoption will be completed in Canada, or
- a probationary period is to be completed in Canada before a final adoption order is issued from the child’s birth country.
Previously, a Canadian citizen adopting a child born abroad would first apply to sponsor the child to come to Canada, then apply for a permanent resident visa, then apply for citizenship. Under the new rules, Canadian citizens are permitted to apply for their adopted child’s citizenship abroad and avoid the sponsorship and permanent resident application process. The new streamlined process clearly saves time and entails less paperwork as all of the previous steps are merged into one. Once the child has been granted Canadian citizenship, the parent will be able to apply for a Canadian passport through the appropriate Canadian government office outside Canada.
It is important to note that each international adoption experience will still entail its own unique anomalies as some adopted children will still be required to go through the immigration process. This would be the case for example if the adoption is to be completed in Canada or falls under a guardianship arrangement rather than a full adoption.
Interested readers with questions are invited to contact Attorney Colin R. Singer, (Toll Free in North America 1-888-817-2011) or by email [email protected] to discuss any issue related to the foregoing.