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International Adoptions

About 2,000 foreign children are adopted by citizens or permanent residents of Canada every year. Citizenship and Immigration Canada works to deal with these adoptions as quickly as possible. However, international adoption can be a long process.

The immigration or citizenship process

As of December 23, 2007, anyone adopted by a Canadian citizen afterFebruary 14, 1977 may apply for a grant of Canadian citizenship without first becoming a permanent resident.. The information below will help you understand both processes and decide which to use.

Adoptive parents wishing to have the adoption of their child processed under the regulations of Bill C-14 must take note that for adoptions from China, local Chinese laws require all adopted children to depart China on Chinese passports. The Chinese government has advised that due to these regulations, it is not possible for adopted children to leave China on Canadian passports. Facilitation visas will be issued by the visa office in Beijing for children to travel to Canada using Chinese passports. ** For information on the Beijing visa office specific procedures for processing adopted children under the Canadian citizenship provisions.**

Learn more about: The citizenship process or How to apply and related fees

Learn about: The immigration process or How to apply and related fees

Before you apply

In all international adoptions there are two separate processes:

  • the adoption process; and
  • the immigration or citizenship process.

You need to understand both of these processes.

You and your adopted child must complete both processes before you can bring the child to live with you in Canada.

See the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website for information on international adoption and the immigration and citizenship processes.

Adoption Requirements and Laws of the People’s Republic of China

China is a significant source country for international adoptions by Canadians.

The Adoption Law of the People's Republic of China (PRC) came into effect on 1 April 1992. An amendment to the law was implemented on April 1st, 1999. On 10 November 1993, China promulgated the Implementation Measures on the Adoption of Children by Foreigners. In addition to adhering to the requirements under the Adoption Law, foreigners must follow the procedures stated in the Implementation Measures.

China implemented the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoptions on 1 January 2006. For more information on the Hague Convention, please see: International adoption: Learn about the Hague Convention.

The China Centre for Children’s Welfare and Adoptions (CCCWA) has been authorized by the Chinese government to regulate and process inter-country adoptions from China. For information on CCWAA and on policies and procedures for adoption from China, please see: China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoptions

Types of Adoption in China

All adoptions in China are subject to The Adoption Law of the People's Republic of China.

Procedures and documentation differ significantly between international adoptions and domestic adoptions.

Inter-country Adoptions - Procedures and Documents

All inter-country adoptions by foreigners are handled by the China Centre for Children’s Welfare and Adoptions (CCCWA. This organization was established to liaise with foreign governments or approved foreign adoption agencies in coordinating inter-country adoptions of Chinese children.

When an application to adopt has been approved by CCCWA they will assist in matching the adopter with a child to be adopted and will send a "Letter of Seeking Confirmation from Adopter" to the Canadian provincial/territorial authorities or approved adoption agencies to forward to the adoptive parents for their signature. Once CCCWA receives the signed "Letter of Seeking Confirmation from Adopter", they will issue a "Notice of Travelling to China for adoption". Adopting parents should not come to China before receiving this notice.

Most foreign adopters rely on the services of Canadian adoption agencies which have been approved by CCCWA and provincial authorities; CCCWA will not accept applications for adoption directly from individuals.  Visit the CCCWA website for information Canadian agencies that may assist with adoptions from China.

Waiting times and processing times for adoptions from China can be lengthy. Adoptive parents should submit a sponsorship application to the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga (CPC-M) or a citizenship application to the Case Processing Centre in Sydney (CPC-S) while waiting for CCCWA's approval and child matching. Once the approval and matching processes are complete and the adopting parent receives the "Notice of Travelling to China for Adoption," the adoption is normally concluded within two weeks.

When the final adoption papers have been issued, adoptive parents should contact the Immigration section of the Embassy for the application for immigration or citizenship to be processed. A medical examination will be required: medical forms are issued once the parents contact the Embassy. An examination is scheduled at one of our Designated Medical Examiners in Beijing. Once the medical examination is completed, the adoptive parents are asked to sign a Medical Condition Statement indicating that they are aware of the medical condition of the child. This statement gives them the option to agree or disagree with proceeding with the immigration application. In the event parents disagree with the continuing with the immigration application, processing of the immigration application will stop and the application will be closed.

International adoption cases are processed on a priority basis and are normally finalized within 3 working days from the date of receipt of a complete application at the Canadian Embassy.

Adopted children will be issued Chinese passports. Adopted children must exit China on a Chinese passport. The Immigration Section will issue the appropriate visa for the child to exit China and travel to Canada.

In order to process the application for immigration, the adoptive parents must submit the following to the Embassy:

  • an approved sponsorship;
  • an application form (IMM 0008) in the name of the child;
  • 4 passport-size photos of the child;
  • the original Chinese passport of the child;
  • a copy of the child's Chinese passport;
  • a copy of the original adoption certificate
  • a copy of " Notice of Travelling to China for adoption" issued to the parents by CCCWA
  • a notarized Birth Certificate
  • a notarized Adoption Certificate
  • a completed "Change of Name form" listing child's birth name and the name the baby will have once in Canada.
  • For Quebec cases, we will require as well a copy of Certificat de Sélection, Demande de Parrainage and Formulaire d'Engagement.

Domestic Adoptions - Procedures and Documents

The website of the CCCWA provides information on the requirements for domestic adoption.

Because many of these types of adoptions have been done informally and through various local procedures, they require careful review to ensure that the adoption is in accordance with Chinese law and meets the requirements of Canadian immigration law. These cases may require an interview in as part of this review.

Overseas Chinese (including Chinese nationals with permanent residence in Canada) must register adoptions with the Civil Affairs Bureau at the city level where the child resides. Adoptions that have not been registered at the appropriate jurisdiction may not be accepted a legal adoptions for the purpose of immigration to Canada. For more information on adoption from China, visit the CCCWA website.

Canadian immigration law requires that adoptions not be done primarily for the purpose of immigrating to Canada, and that the adoption create a genuine relationship of parent and child.

These cases are processed according to priority of category and date of receipt of the complete application – processing times may vary. Please consult the CIC website for current processing times.

In order to process the application for immigration, the adoptive parents must submit the following to the Embassy:

  • an approved sponsorship;
  • an application form (IMM 0008) in the name of the child;
  • 4 passport-size photos of the child;
  • a copy of the child's Chinese passport;
  • a copy of the original adoption certificate
  • Hukou (household register) for the child to be adopted;
  • Adoptive parents' Hukou and ID cards;
  • Letter from Danwei or Neighbourhood committee giving the adoptive parents' marital situation, familial situation and an assessment of their capacity to raise and educate children;
  • Abandoned child certificate issued by the police department ;
  • Certificate issued by the Family Planning Department (that they are childless and cannot have children). (The last requirement is not applicable if the adopter is adopting an abandoned child, or if the adopter is residing overseas.)

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Date Modified:
2018-11-08