How does divorce affect my immigration status?

Generally, you do not lose your immigration status because of divorce.

You may need to seek legal advice about your specific situation.

Permanent Residents (Landed Immigrants) and Citizens

If you are a permanent resident (landed immigrant) or citizen, you generally cannot lose your status or be removed from Canada because your relationship has ended. There are some exceptions for permanent residents.

However, if you lie to a court of law about the length or evolution of your relationship, this may affect your immigration status.

Sponsorship

Sponsors are still financially responsible for sponsees for a total of 3 years after the spouse arrives in Canada, even if the relationship breaks down.

If your former spouse cannot or will not support you, you may be able to apply for social assistance.

If your sponsorship has broken down but you do not have permanent resident status, contact a lawyer or a community legal clinic for advice as soon as possible.

Read Sponsorship Breakdown for more information.

Conditional Permanent Residency

You are considered to be a conditional permanent resident if:

  • your spouse sponsored you on or after October 25, 2012
  • your have been in a relationship with your spouse for less than 2 years and
  • you do not have children together.

Conditional permanent residency lasts 2 years. During this time, you could lose your status if you do not live with your spouse. There are exceptions in case of abuse or neglect.

Refugees

If you are in Canada and have been granted refugee status, you do not lose your status because your relationship has ended.

If you are a refugee claimant and your claim is based on your spouse's situation, you might be able to separate your claim. Contact a lawyer or a community legal clinic for advice.

For More Information

  • Divorce and Separation - This website has information about family law, the court system, children, and financial issues. From the Government of Ontario.
  • What You Should Know About Family Law in Ontario - This publication has information about the laws that may affect you if you separate. For example, the care and support of your children, support for you or your spouse (partner) and the division of your property.
  • Family Law - Clear language publications on family law and related topics. From CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario).
  • Family Law Issues for Immigrant, Refugee and Non-Status Women - This guide has information for women who need information about their status and rights in Canada when relationships end. From Family Law Education for Women (FLEW).
  • IRCC Help Centre - A tool that helps answer frequently asked questions on immigration matters. It offers several ways of searching through the information available, including search by keyword. From Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Last updated: July 13, 2016 4001511