Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Immigration Corner | I want to adopt my niece

Published:Tuesday | February 21, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Ms Powell,

I am a Jamaican-born citizen of Canada. My sister died recently, leaving my niece. I would like to adopt my niece as currently, she is staying with a friend who I'm paying to keep her. Can you please guide me with the steps to adopt her and take her to Canada? How long would this take? Do I need a lawyer, or are there just online forms I can fill out? What documents will I need?

- B.N.

Dear B.N.,

I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your sister, and I commend you for taking steps to assist your niece. Inter-country adoption can sometimes be a challenging process as you will be required to work with government agencies in Canada and in Jamaica to get approved.

While you do not need a lawyer to assist you in the process, I strongly recommend that you get one as the process is not a simple completion of online forms. As part of the application process, you will get an adoption order from the courts in Jamaica which state that you are the permanent parent of your niece.

You did not mention your niece's father. Is he alive? If he is alive and a fit and proper father you may have a challenge. You should discuss this with him before taking further steps. If he is not alive or not known, you will need to provide documents to substantiate this fact.




How old is your niece? You should note that under Canadian immigration laws, she will need to be under 18 years.

The process requires you to work with your provincial or territorial adoption central authority to explain the requirements for inter-country adoption and international standards. They will assess your eligibility to adopt a child. If approved, they will grant you a letter of no objection.

Some people find this process overwhelming, therefore, I recommend that you meet with a lawyer and take the following documents:

1. Birth certificate for yourself, your sister, and your niece;

2. Sister's death certificate

3. Details about your personal immediate family and financial ability to take care of your niece. Documents may include marriage certificate, citizenship card/ certificate, job letter, notice of assessments / tax returns, proof of ownership of home and any other property.

This list is not exhaustive as you will be assessed on your eligibility as a sponsor. As you reveal the details of your case, your lawyer will advise you of the additional documents required.

- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars. Email:,subject: Immigration.