I’m not a Canadian citizen. Will I be forced to leave Canada if my partner and I separate or divorce?

3. Find out what can happen if you don’t have permanent status

The risk that you will be forced to leave Canada depends on your immigration status.

If you’re being sponsored by your partner from within Canada

Your partner may have sponsored you under the “Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada” class. This is sometimes called an “inland spousal sponsorship”.

If your partner withdraws their sponsorship or you separate while your application is being processed, you can’t get permanent resident status under this class and you may be forced to leave Canada.

If you’re in this situation and you separate or are thinking about separating from your partner, get legal advice right away. You may still be able to apply for permanent residence based on your language skills, education, employment history, and job prospects, or for “humanitarian and compassionate” reasons.

If you’re included in your partner’s application for permanent residence

Your partner may have applied for permanent residence and included you as a dependent in their application. If you separate from your partner, you might not be able to get permanent residence.

If you’re in this situation and you separate or are thinking about separating from your partner, get legal advice. You may still be able to apply for permanent residence based on your language skills, education, employment history, and job prospects, or for “humanitarian and compassionate” reasons.

If you have a refugee claim

Your claim for refugee protection may be based on your partner’s claim. If you separate from your partner, you might have difficulty succeeding with your refugee claim. If you’re in this situation, get legal advice from your own lawyer.

If you haven’t made a refugee claim, but you’re afraid to return to your country, get legal advice. You may be able to make your own refugee claim. You need to act quickly. You can’t make a refugee claim if a removal order has been made against you.

If you have a temporary status or no status

You have temporary status if you:

  • have a work permit
  • have a study permit
  • have a visitor visa

You may have no status if your temporary status has expired or if your refugee claim has been denied or declared abandoned.

Talk to a lawyer about your options. You need to act quickly. For example, you may have time to “restore” your status if it recently expired. Or, you might be able apply for permanent residence for “humanitarian and compassionate” reasons.

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