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Requirements to sponsor a child

To sponsor a child from another country for adoption, you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident (if you do not currently reside in Canada, you must do so when the adopted child becomes a permanent resident);
  • live in Canada; and
  • be at least 18 years old.

You may not be eligible to sponsor in some cases, such as:

  • if you did not meet the requirements of a previous sponsorship agreement;
  • if you defaulted on a court-ordered support order, such as alimony or child support;
  • if you have been convicted of a violent criminal offence—depending on the nature of the offence, when it occurred and whether a record suspension was granted; or
  • if you do not live in Canada now and do not plan to live full-time in Canada when the child becomes a permanent resident.

If you live in Quebec, you must also meet Quebec’s immigration sponsorship requirements.

Requirements for permanent resident status

For your child to be eligible for permanent resident status, you must be:

  • a Canadian citizen, born or naturalized in Canada, applying on behalf of the adopted child who is under 18 years of age at the time of application;
  • an adopted person who is 18 years of age or older at the time of application, and was adopted by a Canadian citizen, born or naturalized in Canada;
  • a legal guardian applying on behalf of an adopted child under 18 years of age at the time of application if the child had at least one Canadian parent, born or naturalized in Canada, at the time of adoption;
  • a non-Canadian adoptive parent applying on behalf of an adopted child under 18 years of age at the time of application if the other parent is a Canadian citizen, born or naturalized in Canada at the time of the adoption.
  1. Adoption process
  • In order to adopt internationally you must work with your provincial or territorial adoption Central Authority.
  • The provincial or territorial adoption Central Authority will:
    • Tell you if you need to contact a licensed adoption agency
    • Advise on the adoptions laws of the country from where you want to adopt
    • Explain the requirement of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions
  • To be eligible to adopt a child, you must meet the adoption requirements of the
    • Canadian province/territory where you live, or the country where you live if you are living abroad, and
    • Adoption Authority of the country where the child lives
  1. The immigration or citizenship process

In order to bring your adopted child into Canada, it is necessary to apply for Citizenship or Immigration (Permanent Residency) for the child.

To determine which is more appropriate for your family (Immigration or Citizenship), click here to learn about the differences between the two.

Note: Some countries require that the adoption be completed in Canada. In these cases the Immigration (Permanent Resident) process should be used.

The federal government’s role in adoption

The federal government is only involved in the Immigration or Citizenship process for an adopted child. The adoption process is the responsibility of the provinces or territories.

Under the Hague Convention Canada has a Federal Central Authority: the Intercountry

Requirements for intercountry adoption

Most intercountry adoptions will take place in the child’s home country. Each country has different laws and procedures covering adoption by foreigners. For instance, some countries allow adoptions outside the child’s home country, while others only permit adoption inside the country. Not all countries allow adoptions.

If you are adopting a child who is related to you, different rules from the provinces and/or the country of origin may apply.

The immigration process allows two types of adoptions of children under 18. Depending on the law of the child’s home country, the intercountry adoption must either:

  • be completed outside of Canada; or
  • be completed in Canada.

For Canadian immigration purposes, all intercountry adoptions must:

  • be legal in the child’s home country and in the province or territory where you live;
  • end the legal relationship between your adopted child and his or her biological parents;
  • meet the requirements of your province or territory, including a home study;
  • create a genuine parent–child relationship between you and the child;
  • be in the best interests of the child;
  • not be primarily to gain permanent resident status for the child in Canada.

Children adopted outside Canada may be sponsored to come to Canada if:

  • informed consent has been given by both of your child’s biological parents (if they are living).
  • your child has been legally adopted outside Canada.
  • the requirements of the Hague Convention have been met, if they apply.

Adoption Services (IAS) is a unit in IRCC. The role of the IAS is to:

  • Work directly with the provincial and territorial Central Authorities to obtain and distribute information to both Canadian provincial and territorial authorities, and to foreign authorities. This includes information on Canadian and foreign adoption legislation, adoption criteria requirements, and international adoption procedures and guidelines.
  • Facilitate communication, co-operation, and coordinated actions between federal/provincial/territorial Central Authorities, both within the federal government and with foreign Central Authorities.
  • Facilitate issue resolution and develop pan-Canadian responses on matters such as unethical and irregular adoption practices.

Countries with restrictions on adoptions by Canadians

The following countries do not currently allow international adoptions:

  • Argentina
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Burma (Myanmar)
  • Cabo Verde (Cape Verde)
  • Comoros
  • Democratic Republic of Congo – archived (except relative adoptions)
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana (except relative adoptions and children with special medical needs)
  • Grenada
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Kenya
  • Kuwait
  • Laos
  • Maldives
  • Mozambique
  • Pakistan – archived
  • Paraguay
  • Russia – archived
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Swaziland
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Countries with a suspension on adoptions

In May 2019, we resumed processing the immigration applications of Japanese children adopted through the British Columbia-Japan Adoption Program.


Some Canadian provinces and territories (PTs) have suspended adoptions from the following countries:

  • Cambodia (all PTs except Quebec)
  • Georgia (all PTs)
  • Guatemala (all PTs)
  • Liberia (all PTs)
  • Nepal (all PTs)


If you need assistance in preparing an application for Canadian permanent residence through, Sponsorship applications view our Book Consultation and or complete our Assessment Form, we can assess you in your goals.