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Canada eases law for Internationally adopted Children to become Canadian Citizen

Canadians who adopt children abroad will find it easier to have their newest family members become Canadian citizens. The new law allows children adopted abroad by Canadian citizens to obtain Canadian citizenship without first having to become permanent residents. After Dec. 23, 2007, citizenship can be granted to them after the adoption is complete, after submitting an application for citizenship.

Bill C-14, an amendment to Canada's Citizenship Act which became law on June 22, 2007, will go into effect Dec. 23. As a result, the difference in treatment between children adopted abroad and children born abroad to a Canadian parent is minimized.

Under the current system, a Canadian adopting children abroad must first apply to sponsor the child to come to Canada, then seek a permanent resident visa, then apply for citizenship. Now, parents will apply for their adopted child's citizenship abroad rather than submit sponsorship and permanent resident applications. They will save time and have less paperwork, as the steps are merged into one. Once the child has citizenship, the parent will be able to apply for a Canadian passport through the appropriate Canadian government office outside Canada.

Some adopted children will still have to go through the immigration process, if the adoption is to be completed (finalized) in Canada or is a guardianship arrangement rather than a full adoption.

The new law also permits granting citizenship to children adopted overseas after Feb. 14, 1977. In Quebec, it allows citizenship to be granted before finalizing an adoption for children adopted into Quebec; it's the only province which doesn't complete adoptions until the children are in Canada and living with their adoptive parents.

Under the existing law, when an application for citizenship is refused, the parent may apply for judicial review at the Federal Court and is limited to the grounds set out in the Federal Courts Act. This situation is not changed by Bill C-14. In contrast, when an application for permanent residence is refused, the parent may have recourse to the Immigration Appeal Division and the case may be reviewed on both facts and law.

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