Canada has two family sponsorship programs. A Canadian resident or citizen can sponsor a spouse and parents/grandparents, if he/she meets certain conditions.
If you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, you can sponsor your spouse, conjugal or common-law partner, dependent child (including adopted child) or other eligible relative to become a permanent resident under the Family Class (FC). SINCE August 1st, 2014, the age at which a child is considered a dependant will be reduced from under 22 years of age to less than 19 years of age.
If your family member is a permanent resident, they can live, study and work in Canada.
There are two different processes for sponsoring your family under the FC. One process is used for sponsoring your spouse, conjugal or common-law partner and/or dependent children. Another process is used to sponsor other eligible relatives.
If you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, you can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, dependent child (including adopted child) or other eligible relative (such as a parent or grandparent) to become a permanent resident. This is known as the Family Class process.
If you sponsor a relative to come to Canada as a permanent resident, you are responsible for supporting your relative financially when he or she arrives.
There are two different processes for sponsoring your family. One process is used for sponsoring your spouse, conjugal or common-law partner and/or dependent children. Another process is used to sponsor other eligible relatives.
Sponsoring a spouse or child
Spouse and children sponsorship are given the highest priority. Please note that 'spouse' under current immigration legislation includes married, conjugal, common-law partners and same sex partners. We urge you to seek legal advice if sponsoring as any of these partners. The requirements and evidence required may be confusing and cumbersome in some cases.
In a spouse sponsorship application, a Visa or Immigration officer looks at the usual eligibility factors like legal validity of the relationship, medical and police clearances and also examines the genuineness of the relationship. If the officer is not convinced that your relationship is genuine, the sponsorship application will be refused. You will then need to appeal that refusal in Canada.
Sponsoring an eligible relative
You can sponsor certain relatives if you are a citizen or permanent resident of Canada and if you are 18 years of age or older.
You may not be eligible to sponsor a relative if you:
failed to provide the financial support you agreed to when you signed a sponsorship agreement to sponsor another relative in the past
defaulted on a court-ordered support order, such as alimony or child support
received government financial assistance for reasons other than a disability
were convicted of a violent criminal offence, any offence against a relative or any sexual offence—depending on circumstances, such as the nature of the offence, how long ago it occurred and whether a pardon was issued
defaulted on an immigration loan—late or missed payments
are in prison or
have declared bankruptcy and have not been released from it yet.
International adoptions involve two distinct processes:
the adoption process; and
the immigration or citizenship process.
You and your adopted child must complete both processes before you can bring the child to live with you in Canada.
The adoption process
To be eligible for an international adoption, you must meet:
the adoption requirements of the province or territory or the country where you live, and
the adoption requirements in the child’s home country.
Provincial and territorial governments are responsible for adoptions in Canada. Some provinces and territories use licensed agencies to handle most of the adoption process.
The Hague Convention governs international adoptions in many countries, including Canada. Different rules apply if the adoption was done in a non-Hague country.
The citizenship process or the immigration process?
As of December 23, 2007, anyone adopted by a Canadian citizen after February 14, 1977 can apply for a grant of Canadian citizenship without first becoming a permanent resident. Some new adoptions will still need to use the immigration process.
The citizenship process
You can apply for citizenship for an adopted person if:
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 (except for Quebec).
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.
The immigration process
You can use the immigration process to apply for permanent resident status for the adopted child if:
the adopted child is going to Canada to live right after the adoption takes place, or
one or both parents are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
The adopted person does not meet the requirements for the immigration process if:
the adopted person is not going to Canada to live right after the adoption takes place
you are an adult adoptee living outside Canada and not returning to Canada to live right after your application is approved.
Most of the information above was reproduced from CIC. For further legal advice, please contact us. We have extensive experience in international adoptions.