The Procedures:
International adoption process in Québec

Page 2: Steps 4, 5, 6

Back to the menu of the adoption process

Back to steps 1, 2, 3

  1.  The child proposal
  2.  Giving out of the support letters by the SAI
  3.  Sponsorship of the application for landed immigrant status
 or go to   Go to steps 7 to 9  or  Go to steps 10 to 12

Progress diagram of an international adoption project

4. The child proposal

    If everything goes well, one day, at the least expected moment, you will receive a child proposal. It is a marvelous day, you will remember it for a long time.

This proposal can arrive in various forms and means. It can be a letter, with or without a photo, or it can be a call from your agency or your foreign contact. Of course, you must have complete trust in the person that makes this proposal to you. Certainly, you would not accept a proposal with a doubtful origin, would you?

Then, you must make a decision: accept or decline. Accepting will commit you for life, except if a problem arises afterwards... You must be certain of your decision.

To decline means that you will have to wait again to get another proposal. And there are no assurances that a second proposal will be more acceptable to you. Also, You must be careful not to decline or refuse many proposal as this can irritate your intermediary and/or the foreign authority. There is also a chance that the child being proposed will never be adopted. You see, this decision is not easy. Think about your decision thoroughly.

If you receive the proposal directly, you must, if you proceed with an intermediary, inform your certified agency or the Secrétariat à l'adoption internationale (SAI; International Adoption Secretariat). Your intermediary will then forward your decision to the foreign authority.

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5. Giving out of the support letters by the SAI

Special case of China
    In order to have the right to bring your child to Québec, you must have the approval of the immigration service. To obtain their approval, you must contact the Secrétariat à l'adoption internationale (SAI) and they will give you the package required to prepare your sponsorship request (this is explained in the next step below). The SAI will give you a document called, in its jargon the "letter of no objection" and also an accompaniment letter. More positively and in simpler words, we will refer to it here as the support letter of the SAI. Essentially, these documents establish that you have followed Québec's laws and that the SAI doesn't object to the immigration of the child.

To obtain these support letters, you must present to the SAI the following documents:

  • the birth certificat of the child or, if it is not available, an official document proving that the child exists and stipulating the date of birth of the child, the names of the parents, if available, and the location of birth;

  • depending on the countries, a judgment of adoption or an abandonment certificat written in accordance with the law of the country of origin or a consent to adoption, again written in accordance with the law of the country of origin, or else a judgment of adoption and or a custody judgment delivered in the forign country. Don't worry if you don't understand a word of the previous sentence, it simply means: all the "official" papers coming from the country of origin;

  • a letter from the public or private organization of the foreign country stating under which authority they proposed you the child and identifying the person(s) to which the child is proposed (you);

  • a psychosocial assessment in accordance with the Québec law and the foreign requirements.

Even if it is not formally required, it is better, if possible, that the documents coming from abroad are identified by the embassy or the Canadian consulate in the relevant country. This facilitates the verification process by the SAI because at least they are sure of the documents authenticity. This precaution is more recommendable in the case of a private adoption.

If you have any kind of problem, if your case is special or complicated, you can contact the SAI at any time to get help. In general, if you have all the required documents, the giving out of the support letters by the SAI is a matter of a few days to the most.

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6. Sponsorship of the application for landed immigrant status1 2

    With the support letters of the Secrétariat à l'adoption internationale (SAI) in your hands, you can now get through the step of the immigration process and "sponsor" your child in order to have him come into Canada. As you will see, it is only one step but many forms to fill out and get approved.

To have the right to sponsor a child, you must be Canadian citizen or permanent resident, be 19 years old or more and live in Canada. As sponsor of the child, you commit yourself to provide for the childs needs for a ten years period. In Québec, this sponsorship may last until the child reaches the age of majority.

A child
can be adopted if he is:

  • less than 19 years old;
  • an orphan;
  • an abandoned child of unknown parents;
  • placed for adoption in the custody of a youth protection office because:
    • he was born outside of marriage;
    • his parents are separated;
    • one of the parents is dead.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is responsible for the immigration process that allows the child that you adopted or that you plan to adopt to come in Canada. For that, you need to do an application for sponsorship on behalf of the child and an immigration application to the visa office.

In practice, the process begins by submitting an "Undertaking form". This form is part of the application kit "Sponsoring a Family Class Relative"3. You can obtain this kit from the SAI, at the Web site of Citizenship and Immigration Canada 3 or by telephone at an Immigration Call Centre:

in Montréal: (514) 496-1010 - elsewhere: 1-888-242-2100

The sponsorship application must be accompanied with the proof that the applicable fee has been paid to cover the treatment of the application; this amount is not refundable whatever the decision.

It is a "Case Processing Center (CPC)", located in Missisauga, Ontario, who verifies the information on the application and informs the appropriate post abroad of the approved sponsorship. Eventually, a letter will be sent to the sponsors to inform them that their application was approved and that a "permanent residence application" form must be filled out for the child and submitted to the Canadian visa office (CVO) responsible for the child's home country.

Contact info for the
ministère des Relations
avec les citoyens
et de l'immigration du Québec (MRCI)
(Citizens Relations and Immigration Department)
  • Montréal

    415, rue St-Roch
    H3N 1K2
    Phone: (514) 864-9181
    Fax: (514) 873-3259

  • Québec

    890, avenue de Lévis
    G1S 3E1
    Phone: (418)643-1435
    Fax: (418) 643-7460

    Regional offices also exist.

In Québec, the sponsorship application, approved by the federal government, is sent to the ministère des Relations avec les citoyens et de l'immigration du Québec; (MRCI or Citizens Relations and Immigration Department). In fact, the MRCI receives the IMM-1344 form 4. The MRCI then opens a file in the name of the sponsor and waits until you contact them. So, as soon as you get the approval letter from the federal government (CPC), you may ask for a meeting with the MRCI.

At this meeting, the MRCI officer will fill out the forms "Committment Application", the Committment and a "request for a selection certificate" (demande de certificat de sélection), mentioning the names, date of birth and address of the child identified in the "letter of no objection" of the SAI. He will also get your signature for an authorization to exchange nominative information with the SAI.

Note that, in the case of an international adoption, the MRCI doesn't establish the financial capacity of the sponsor, as in other sponsorship cases by relatives, because this factor was already taken care of by the psychosocial assessment. However, he verifies that the sponsor has not failed to keep a previous committment and that he is not submitted to forced measures like the payment of a living allowance towards a spouse or a child 5.

  • to the Canadian visa office (CVO) responsible for the home country of the child,
  • to the Québec immigration office (Service d'immigration du Québec, SIQ) abroad (this office is also part of the MRCI).
  • to the SAI who informs the adoption agency and/or the parents.

This dispatch states the all the procedures in Québec have been completed with success. On receipt of this dispatch, the SIQ opens a dossier in the name of the child and emits a Québec selection certificate (Certificat de sélection du Québec, CSQ) to the sponsored person. The CSQ is then sent to the SVC asking him to give it to the parents or to the person who will escort the child to Québec.

Your intermediary abroad or the representative of the agency then contacts the SVC and gives them photos of the child. They begin verification of family ties and proceed with the medical examination of the child.

In order for the child to enter Canada as an immigrant, the visa office (CVO) abroad verifies that the child satisfys a certain number of requirements before emitting an immigrant visa:

  • the permanent residence application is accompanied with all required documents;
  • the child has passed in his birth country a medical examination done by a doctor appointed by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. This exam is an important step for the entry of the child in Canada. If the child cannot be admitted for medical reasons, the visa to come to Canada would normally be denied;
  • the age of the child is verified and that he is less than 19 years old;
  • the visa clerk is convinced that it is not an adoption illegally aggreed upon in order to enter the child under false pretences, such as, to immigrate other family members in the future. If in doubt, the clerk might arrange to meet the child and the parents or tutor;
  • The visa office abroad has received a letter of "non-opposition/non-intervention" from the province (step 5 - support letter from the SAI);
  • proof that the child is in a situation making him suitable for adoption have been presented;
  • the adoption doesn't contrevene to the home country laws and, if applicable, to the Hague Convention;
  • a passport must be obtained allowing the child to travel to Canada;
  • authentic adoption documents and other official papers establishing that the child is entrusted to the adoptive parents have been submitted

All these verifications occur abroad and, if the previous steps have been correctly taken, you will not even be aware of them. So, if everything is in order, the immigrant visa is issued in the name of the child and you are informed that you can organize the travel of the child to Québec. By the way, you can note that sponsored persons can obtain their permanent residence status only at the moment of their arrival in Canada.

The sponsors should never go abroad to get the child before having been informed that the immigration process is completed. One should not assume that Canadian requirements pertaining to immigration are removed if the adoption as already taken place abroad.

In case of refusal, you have an appeal right to the Immigration and Refugies Status Commission; an appeal notice must be submitted within 30 days of the refusal notice. If the Hague Convention has not been respected when it was applicable, you don't have an appeal right.

Costs and delays of the sponsorship application for landing immigrant.

In 1997, the costs demanded by Québec for a sponsorship application are 250$ Can. for the first sponsored person and of 100 $Can. for each other person sponsored in the same application. The government of Canada also asks for payment of fees for the treatment of the sponsorship application and the immigrant visa application and establishement rights.

It is difficult to determine the time needed to complete the immigration procedures steps. Even if departments personnel will not give you a timeframe, expect about eight to twelve weeks. That being said, it is possible in urgent cases to completed the process in a few days. You have correctly read: in just a few days, but only in truly urgent cases, for example if the eligible child is sick

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  1. A pamphlet explains the immigration procedures: International Adoption and the Immigration process, Citizenship and Immmigration Canada, C&I-198-02-97, french-english brochure, 24 pages.

  2. The page Pour mieux connaître l'immigration et la citoyenneté - Adoptions  of Citizenship and Immmigration Canada (CIC) present an overview of this brochure. The pages of that site are also available in Adobe Acrobat format (376K) at the same address.

    That page, specific to international adoption, is one of the pages pertaining to immigration and citizenship and is accessible through the table of content.

  3. Another page of the CIC site explains: How to submit a sponsorship application and all the guides and forms required are available at the same address.

  4. The site of the ministère des Relations avec les citoyens et de l'immigration (MRCI) includes a presentation of immigration procedures in Québec.

  5. Source: ministère des Relations avec les citoyens et de l'Immigration, Guide des procédures de sélection, Chapitre 6: Les parrainages, Section 5: Parrainages des enfants mineurs, 1994-10-31.

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