Foreign Adoption


There are special provisions in immigration law for the case of children who are adopted overseas.  This post will look at foreign at a high level.

Who can be adopted?

A foreign national under age eighteen can be adopted in Canada.  Adoption is not restricted to infants or small children, though the scrutiny of such applications will intensify the older the child.

Although rare, it is possible to adopt a child who is over eighteen years of age in very specific circumstances, which I’ll address in a future post.

What are the requirements?

There are several elements that must be met and shown to the visa officer in a sponsorship application for a child who is to be adopted in Canada.  These requirements are as follows:

  • the adoption must not be primarily for immigration purposes; in other words there must be a genuine parent child relationship intended;
  • if both Canada and the foreign country are parties to the Hague Convention on Adoption, then the approval of the adoption must be given by both the foreign country and the Canada province in which the sponsor resides (or the intended destination);
  • if the foreign country is not party to the Hague Convention on Adoption, there must be no evidence that the intended adoption is for the purpose of child trafficking; and approval must be granted by the Canadian province in which the sponsor resides (or the intended destination);

Finally, it must be in the best interests of the child for the adoption to take place.  In order to show that adoption is in the best interests of the child, a home study by a social worker of the adoptive parents must take place.  In addition, the biological parents must give their free and informed consent (if this is possible).

In addition, the adoption must create a genuine parent-child relationship, and in accordance with the laws of the foreign country and the Canadian province in which the sponsor resides or will reside in Canada.

All of this must be arranged well ahead of the child’s travel to Canada in order to secure a travel visa for the child.

Foreign adoption is not something you would ever want to tackle on your own.  You need to work through a licensed adoption agency and through a Canadian immigration lawyer.



About the author

Gianpaolo Panusa Gianpaolo Panusa is a Canadian immigration lawyer, writer, and founder of the PanCanadian Immigration Law Group based in Vancouver, Canada. Google+ Profile