Canada is not only one of the most tolerant and welcoming nations in the world but has some of the most progressive immigration systems and laws regarding Canadian permanent residence and citizenship.
Canada not only allows you to sponsor your spouse or common-law partner to join you in Canada but your dependents too. Whether or not your children are biological or adopted, Canada considers them family and is redefining antiquated concepts of what constitutes a modern family.
In fact, Canada has just recently passed a law stating that parents who have biological children through the help of assisted reproduction will be afforded the same citizenship rights as biological children. This is fantastic news for expecting mothers and same-sex couples and members of the LGBTQ2+ community who have conceived their bundles of joy through reproductive procedures such as surrogacy.
Previously, only biological children of Canadian citizens or permanent residents, as well as children who were born in Canada, were recognized as Canadian citizens. The new law was passed in the Superior Court of Quebec on July 9, after Else van der Ven (Dutch) and Laurence Caron (Canadian), whose son Benjamin was originally denied citizenship as Caron was not his biological mother. After seeking help from the Canadian court, it was confirmed that biological and legal parents at birth would be equally recognized based on the new interpretation of "parent" confirmed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as well as that of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In a press release following the court case, Canada's immigration ministry stated:
"I am very happy to announce this historic and positive declaration made by Quebec's Superior Court. This change by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada means that non-biological legal parents at birth and biological parents are now viewed equally as a child's parent for the purposes of citizenship by descent. Canadian LGBTQ2+ families and parents experiencing fertility issues have waited too long for this important day. I know this was a difficult and stressful time for the Caron/van der Ven family, and Canada is grateful to them for the courage and strength they have shown in righting this wrong."
– The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
This was certainly a momentous milestone in recognizing diversity in Canadian families, acknowledging that all people deserve to have the same rights, regardless of how they identify or who they love.
How Do I Apply for Canadian Citizenship for My Child?
There are three main steps to applying for Canadian citizenship for a minor.
Step 1: Check if Your Child is Eligible
In order to be granted citizenship your child must:
- be under 18 years of age at the time the application is signed;
- be a permanent resident of Canada; and
- have at least one parent (includes legally adoptive parent) who is a Canadian citizen or who will become a citizen at the same time as the minor (applying together as a family).
If you are a Canadian, regardless of whether you were born in Canada or received citizenship status through naturalization (becoming a citizen after immigrating to Canada) and your child was born outside Canada on or after April 17, 2009, your child is recognized as a Canadian citizen by birth as long as your child is first generation.
Adopted children who are permanent residents and under 18 years old may also be granted citizenship. If they were born outside of Canada you can apply for an adoptive grant of citizenship.
Step 2: Gather Their Documents
You will need the following documents to apply:
- Photocopies of your child's biographical page of all valid and expired Passport/Travel Documents for the five years immediately before your application date, or since they became permanent residents (if more recent than five years);
- Two forms of personal identification eg. school record, hospital immunization record, health insurance card; and
- Proof of parents Canadian citizenship (if applicable);
- Proof of Guardianship (if applicable);
- Birth certificate or adoption order; and
- Citizenship photos.
Step 3: Complete and Submit Your Application
This is probably the most complicated part of the process. All sections must be completed accurately and as per government guidelines. All documents must be submitted in either English or French. If not, they will need to be translated by a certified Canadian translator or you may need an affidavit from a notary in your home country.
Please note that you will have to pay an online application fee of $100 before you submit your application forms.
But what happens if you don't qualify to apply for Canadian citizenship for your child? Let's take a look at your sponsorship options for your family.