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You met during your exotic vacation to a faraway land and fell madly in love. Now an international marriage is in your future, and your new fiancé(e) is returning home with you. It sounds like the plot of a reality series, but it could happen to you.

If you’re marrying a non-U.S. citizen, you’ll need to make sure you’re following the rules. That includes taking legal steps to make sure your new fiancé is in the country legally.

What is the citizenship process for my fiancé(e)?

Marriage alone doesn’t grant a person U.S. citizenship. The road to citizenship can be a long one. Each step involves time and lots of documentation. Be careful during this process: improper disclosure and inaccuracies can delay or prevent residency or citizenship.

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.

 

As of April 28, 2017, IRCC has eliminated the Conditional Permanent Residence rule for spousal and partner sponsorships. Read our news release on what has changed.

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.

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