Citizenship: Canadian Citizenship Extends to Adopted Children

Children adopted by Canadian citizens can now become Canadian citizens themselves without first becoming permanent residents of Canada and having to go through the immigration process. How is this possible?

On December 23, 2007, new legislation came into effect which changes the way in which Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) processes children adopted after February 14, 1977. There are three main requirements in order to qualify for this type of processing:

  • At least one adoptive parent is, or was, a Canadian citizen when the adoption took place;
  • The adoption is genuine and severs all ties with the adoptive person’s legal/blood parents; and
  • The adoption was completed outside of Canada (except for Quebec, a province with a slightly different legislation: adoptions can only be fully completed once they have been approved by a court in Quebec, after the arrival of the adopted person. Canadian citizenship can still be granted even after the court approval, as long as Quebec’s government confirms to CIC that this is the only step pending.)

CIC has set up a two-step process for this type of Citizenship application: first, it must be confirmed that the adoptive parent(s) is a Canadian citizen; and second, CIC will confirm that the adopted person has been legally adopted.

The process sounds simple enough, so why would an adoptive parent be concerned?

The second step in the process may be a bit disconcerting to some applicants, specifically if the adoption occurred in a country that is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the “Hague Convention on Adoption” or the “Convention”).

The Hague Convention on Adoption is an international law that requires all intercountry adoptions to go through a formalised state process; meaning that the state has to formally acknowledge and approve the adoption. The purpose of ensuring that adoptions go through a formal state process is to prevent the abduction, sale or trafficking of children. Sadly, the abduction and sale of children in some countries has become increasingly popular and thus, it continues to be a serious and growing concern for the international community. The Hague Convention on Adoption ensures that signatories are committed to preventing such horrific acts and that member states do their best to prevent child trafficking or abduction.

Lately, the issue of child abduction and trafficking has been a topic of debate in the international community, so much so that countries that have not signed, implemented and ratified the Convention are feeling the pressure to do so. As a matter of fact, the United States of America decided to ratify the Convention in December 2007, and it will come into force in the USA on April 1, 2008.

Proudly, Canada signed and implemented the Convention in 1997, and therefore must abide by its terms. But how does this affect your adopted child in their citizenship process?

We believe that it will be easier for adoptive parents to acquire citizenship for their adopted child if the adoption took place in a country that is a party to the Hague Convention on Adoption, and/or has a similar legal process to that in Canada. The difficulty is that the Citizenship process for adopted children is so new that lawyers don’t yet know how fast the process will be, what sort of evidence will be required to establish a valid Adoption Order or how the Federal Courts will deal with any challenges to the legislation. What we do know, is that this process now complies with one of Canada’s most important pieces of legislation – the Charter of Rights.

HOW TO APPLY

STEP 1 – Confirmation of Canadian Citizenship of the Adoptive Parent(s)

This step is to confirm that at least one adoptive parent is a Canadian citizen and thus, this designation may be granted, in certain cases, to the adopted child. It is important to note that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) facilitates the process for the adopted person to obtain Canadian citizenship, however, the provinces and territories are responsible for adoptions in Canada.

The CIT 0010 forms should be completed in full if you are:

  • A Canadian citizen who is applying on behalf of an adopted child who is less than 18 years of age;
  • A person who was adopted by a Canadian citizen and is 18 years of age or older;
  • A legal guardian or a non-Canadian adoptive parent who wants to apply for an adopted person under 18 years of age, if the adoptive person had at least one Canadian parent at the time of the adoption.

Please note that the adopted person could lose her/his present citizenship or nationality if he/she becomes a Canadian citizen. So we suggest that you investigate this matter further before submitting an application to acquire Canadian citizenship for your adopted child.

The adoptive parent who is a Canadian citizen will be required to submit the following:

  • One copy of the CIT 0010 application forms, completed in full, available at: www.cic.gc.ca/ english/pdf/kits/citizen/CIT0010E.pdf
  • Certified true copies of two pieces of personal identification (i.e. driver’s license, health insurance card, copy of Canadian passport, etc.), one piece of identification must have the adoptive parents’ photo on it;
  • Certified true copies of all evidence that demonstrates that one of the adoptive parents is a citizen of Canada (i.e. provincial/territorial birth certificate, certificate of Canadian citizenship, certificate of naturalisation, certificate of Registration of Birth Abroad);
  • Payment of $100 if the adopted person is under 18 years of age and $200 if the adopted person is 18 years of age or older (IMM 5401);
  • Certified true copies of any other applicable documentation, including but not limited to certified translations, legal change of name document, guardianship documentation, etc.

You must use a separate application form for each adopted person.

Mail your application to: Case Processing Centre - Sydney – ADOPTION P.O. Box 10030, SYDNEY NS B1P 7C1

Step 2 will only be processed after the assessment and approval of Step 1 has been granted. Please note that an adoptive parent has two years to submit Step 2 of the application from the date of the decision letter provided by CIC after assessing Step 1 of the application.

STEP 2 – Adoptee’s Application

This step is to ensure that the adopted person has been legally adopted by a Canadian citizen and thus, may be granted Canadian citizenship.

The adopted person (if 18 years of age or older) or their Canadian parent (if adopted person is under 18 years of age) needs to submit the following:

  • One copy of the CIT 0012 application forms, completed in full, available at: www.cic.gc.ca/ english/pdf/kits/citizen/CIT0012E.pdf
  • Certified true copies of two pieces of the adopted person’s personal identification (i.e. passport, hospital record, birth certificate, immunization record, health insurance card, etc.) – one piece of identification should have a photo on it;
  • Two original citizenship photos that have been taken in the last six months and are in accordance with the Citizenship Photograph Specifications form (CIT 0021) located at: www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/kits/citizen/ CIT0021E.pdf. Please note that one photo will be sent with this application and the other matching photo will be sent with the Canadian Citizenship Certificate form at a later date.
  • Certified true copy of the adoption order, adoption judgement, or adoption certificate;
  • Certified true copy of one document that provides details of the biological parent(s) of the adopted person, such as birth certificate showing names of biological parents, death certificate of parents, court documentation showing names of biological parents, etc.
  • Certified true copies of any other applicable documentation, including but not limited to certified translations, legal change of name document, guardianship documentation, etc.

You must use a separate application form for each adopted person.

CNM