Separation and divorce
The impact of separation on immigration status
You’re not a Canadian citizen, and you’re worried that your recent separation will affect your right to stay in Canada? Here’s an overview of the possible consequences of separation on certain types of immigration status. This information applies both to married couples and de facto partners.
People awaiting permanent residence
If your sponsorship application has not yet been finalized, meaning you are not yet a permanent resident, a separation may have serious consequences for your immigration status.
If you and your ex are no longer in a relationship, your application may be refused. Speak with a lawyer or go to a legal clinic to find out how your breakup will affect your application for permanent residence or your right to stay in Canada.
People who are permanent residents
If you have already been granted permanent residence status, your separation will have no impact on your immigration status. This is the case even if your spouse sponsored you. You can remain in Canada as a permanent resident.
Furthermore, if your ex sponsored you, they must provide for your essential needs (for example, housing, food, clothing) for three years from the date you became a permanent resident. This obligation continues even if you separate. If your ex refuses to provide this support, you could be eligible for social assistance (welfare).
Temporary resident based on ex’s status
If you have temporary residence status in Canada because you are accompanying your ex, who has a work or study permit, your temporary residence status will remain valid until the date indicated on your visa.
In the event of a breakup, you will not be able to renew or extend your temporary residence status. You will have to find another way to regularize your immigration status, or you will have to leave Canada.
Your refugee claim cannot be refused simply because you separated from your ex. However, if your claim is based on persecution directed at your ex, there may be an impact on your chances of success. You should discuss this issue with your legal counsel. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may have new reasons to put forward to support your refugee claim, following your separation.
If you and your ex claimed asylum together, and are now separating, you must ask the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) to separate your claims.
Protected person (accepted refugee)
Once your refugee claim has been accepted, you become a “protected person” (accepted refugee). Separation from your ex will have no impact on your immigration status. You can continue to reside in Canada and apply for permanent residence status.
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The information presented on this page is not a legal opinion or legal advice. This page explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. To obtain a legal opinion or legal advice on your personal situation, consult a legal professional.
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