All inter-country adoptions involve two separate processes: the adoption itself and the subsequent immigration or citizenship application for the adopted child. Whether parents are adopting a child through an overseas adoption agency or adopting a child who is related to them, parents in British Columbia will need to work with the Ministry of Child and Family Development (MCFD) and a local adoption agency to ensure that all of the inter-country adoption criteria are met. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will require a letter from MCFD stating that they have no objection to the adoption (or a letter of no involvement) before the application for immigration/citizenship will be approved.

Some parents are eligible to apply directly for citizenship of their adopted child and others must first sponsor their child to become a permanent resident. The requirements, processing times and consequences differ depending on whether parents submit an application for citizenship or the permanent residence for their adopted child. Careful consideration of these differences is required to ensure that parents choose the best route that is available to them and their adopted child.

In all cases, IRCC looks at a number of criteria before approving an application for citizenship or permanent residence for an adopted child, including whether:

–          the adoption was in the best interests of the child

–          the adoption created a genuine parent-child relationship

–          the adoption was in accordance with the laws of the place where the adoption took place

–          the adoption did not circumvent the legal requirements for international adoption

–          the adoption was not entered into primarily for immigration reasons

–          there is any evidence of child trafficking

–          the child is “legally available” for adoption