Immigration process — Intercountry adoption: How to apply

Provinces and territories are responsible for adoptions in Canada. You should contact your provincial or territorial adoption authority to find out if you’re eligible to adopt and the requirements you’d have to meet. First, you should read the information in this section to know what to expect.

You can apply to sponsor your child once

  • the adoption process is in progress and
  • the province or territory has sent you a
    • Letter of Agreement
    • Letter of No Objection OR
    • Letter of No Involvement

After that, you can apply for a permanent resident visa for your child to come to Canada.

If you’re adopting using the immigration process, you may apply for citizenship for the child after they

  • arrive in Canada and
  • have permanent resident status

The adoption must be finalized before we can grant citizenship.

Sponsoring your adopted child

You may leave the name of the child blank on the sponsorship forms if you haven’t yet been matched with a child.

When you apply to sponsor a child for adoption, remember that you’re committing yourself to provide the necessary care and support for that child. You’re bound to this agreement for 10 years or until the child reaches the age of 25—whichever comes first.

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

Sponsoring more than one child

You must submit a separate application for each child you adopt. This applies even if the children are siblings.

Sponsorship application process

You must now apply online

As of September 23, 2022, it is now mandatory to apply online. 

If you can’t apply online, and require accommodations, including for a disability, you can ask for the application in another format (paper, braille or large print).

The Instruction Guide (IMM 5196), will help you fill out the forms properly.

You may be able to sponsor a child as soon as you decide to adopt, if you know the country you plan to adopt from. Check with your provincial or territorial adoption authority.

By signing your application you are also signing an agreement that commits you to supporting your adopted child for a specific period of time.

1. Apply to sponsor

You need a Document Checklist — Sponsor [IMM 5287] (PDF, 821.91 KB) 

  • Use your checklist to make sure you include all the forms and documents you need.
  • Upload the checklist with your online application

Your visa office may also require additional documents.

  • Choose the visa office that serves your area.
  • If you are not sure which one to use, see our list of countries and which offices serve them.
  • Upload the visa office instructions and any additional documents with your online application.
Visa office instructions

The documents below have more detailed information for each visa office.

The sponsor must

The person you’re sponsoring (principal applicant) will

  • upload them to their online application
  • electronically sign for the entire application, including those of any other family members

2. Steps for the sponsored person (or if under 18, their guardian or you on their behalf)

Sign in or create a Permanent residence online application portal account (opens in a new tab).

Fill out these digital forms online

  • Generic Application Form for Canada (IMM 0008) 
  • Schedule A – Background/Declaration (IMM 5669)
  • Additional Family Information (IMM 5406)

The person who fills the forms will also need to upload the sponsor’s completed and signed forms.

If the person being sponsored is under 18, you or their guardian can fill out the forms and sign them on their behalf.

Using an immigration representative

If you’re a representative, find out how you can create an account and submit applications on behalf of your clients.

If you want to appoint someone to do business with us on your behalf, you must

An immigration representative (an immigration consultant or lawyer) can give you advice and help you with your application for a fee. But they can’t

  • open a portal account on your behalf
  • electronically sign the application for you
  • sign into the portal using your username and password

A representative can fill out forms and communicate with us on your behalf through their own account. They can also

  • help you prepare the documents you need to upload
  • answer questions about the forms

After you read the declaration, you must be the one who types your name. This is the legal requirement for your application to be considered “signed,” according to Canada’s immigration law.

Photo specifications

You need one photo for each person on your application.

Follow the instructions in the online application to scan and upload both sides of the photo.

Technical issues

If you’re having technical issues applying, contact us using the web form

  • under type of application/enquiry, choose technical difficulties from the drop-down menu
  • in the text box, specify the program you’re applying under
  • upload screenshots from your account that show us
    • the page where you’re having problems
    • the error message(s) you get

If you need to upload a number of images, find out how to combine them into 1 document.

Get fingerprints and photo taken

Adopted children over 14 years old need to give fingerprints and photo (biometrics) for every application for permanent residence.

  • The biometric fee must be paid when the application is submitted. Otherwise you may experience delays.
  • Get this done as soon as you get the letter from us that tells you to give biometrics.
  • You have 30 days to do this from the date on the letter.

Temporary changes to biometrics

Book your biometric appointment as soon as you can to avoid processing delays.

If you can’t book an appointment by the deadline on your biometric instruction letter, there may be measures in place to help you.

Pay fees online

Find out how to pay fees.

Submit the online application

Before you submit the application, make sure you:

  • answer all questions
  • electronically sign your application (type your full name exactly as shown on your passport)
  • include your processing fee receipt
  • upload all the supporting documents
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