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American married to Canadian/separated but want to stay in Canada

American married to Canadian/separated but want to stay in Canada

Old Jan 7th 2009, 7:04 pm
  #1  
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Default American married to Canadian/separated but want to stay in Canada

I am an American married to a Canadian. We've been separated for some time now but I have remained in Canada. I have held visitor visas in the past but currently don't have a valid one. We never got around to going forward with PR status before the split. I have a 5 yr old daughter with my wife(ex) & now have moved on to a new relationship. Should I be looking over my shoulder? Will I be deported? Can I just stay in Canada (I do have a decent source of income). What if my ex calls immigration on me can they come and take me away?
What are my options?

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Old Jan 8th 2009, 3:59 am
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Default Re: American married to Canadian/separated but want to stay in Canada

I am unsure if this post really belongs in a British Expats discussion board. The Boston Tea Party was a long time ago ...

When did your visitor status expire? If it is less than 90 days you can apply for Restoration of Status.

Failing that, if this makes sense for both of you, you could be sponsored by your new partner, but it is a long process - first a divorce and a new marriage, or you would have to wait until you and your new partner have lived together for 1 year, and then she can sponsor you through the inland process (which is lengthy). This does not entitle you to work, so the practicalities of doing this may be questionable.

Frankly, if you cannot apply for Restoration of Status, I would suggest going home for 6 months and then returning. It is not a good situation to be in if you are looking over your shoulder for the authorities all the time. Your stay in Canada could end anytime - all that has to happen is, as you say, you ex could inform the authorities, or the police could stop you for instance in a routine check for persons driving under the influence and detain you under the Immigration Act.

Last edited by Ron Liberman; Jan 8th 2009 at 4:01 am.
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Old Jan 8th 2009, 11:48 am
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Default Re: American married to Canadian/separated but want to stay in Canada

Oh my... this one leaves me bursting with questions. I'm only scratching the surface here.

First, are you really out of status? You talk about a 'visitor visa', but an American wouldn't ordinarily have one of those. Unless you were told otherwise, you had six months from your last entry to Canada. Do you ever go back to the States? When were you last there?

As Ron mentioned, sponsorship might be an option if the new partner is serious. And it *would* allow you to work... eventually. It's just you can't work for several months while your application is processed.

Otherwise, check whether you qualify to immigrate in another category. Where does your 'decent income' come from? Are you working (where)? Or are you of independent means? I'm not sure whether any past overstay would be a problem: you'd have to declare it when you apply.
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Old Jan 8th 2009, 5:41 pm
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Question Re: American married to Canadian/separated but want to stay in Canada

My "temporary visitors visa" is what I had .. I had several of them. It's been over a year since I've had one. I was told on more than one occasion at the border crossing when going to the states and trying to return that I couldn't just get an indefinite amount of temporary visitor visas. If I intended to stay then I would have to take the necessary steps to do it legally. This does mean that I would have to get a divorce and then possibly re-marry or live together for at least a year. This takes alt of time and I am guessing I wouldn't legally be allowed to stay in canada during that process.
I have a monthly income that comes from an inheritance so although it would be great to legally work in canada I am ok without a paycheck, just bored.
Being in a common law relationship I can live with but getting married again is not really at the top of my list of things to do.
I only go to the US to shop or to take care of banking matters so my visits there are rare and now that I am afraid that one day they won't let me back in I am afraid to go at all. If my ex never says anything could I just live here indefinitely? The biggest drawback is healthcare .. I wouldn't be covered here and could incur huge medical bills if something unfortunate was to happen or I fell ill.
What to do.
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Old Jan 9th 2009, 1:34 am
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Default Re: American married to Canadian/separated but want to stay in Canada

Originally Posted by chelseys.dad
If my ex never says anything could I just live here indefinitely? The biggest drawback is healthcare .. I wouldn't be covered here and could incur huge medical bills if something unfortunate was to happen or I fell ill.
What to do.
If it's a year since you were last back in the U.S. then yes, you're out of status and could be deported. Whether you will be is another matter, but do you really want to live like that? I expect it's more likely you'll be simply denied entry at some point after a trip to the States.

To be legal again, you'll need to apply for restoration of status or leave the country and come back. Bear in mind that restoration of status is not a long-term solution to your problem: it gets your legal visitor status back, but doesn't allow you to stay indefinitely.

If you take the sponsorship route, you may be able to remain in Canada the whole time. But your new partner will need to sign an undertaking that she'll support you for three years. She remains on the hook for that even if you break up during that time.

Most other types of PR applications would require you to file outside the country. It's usually possible to spend time in Canada as a visitor while you're waiting, but with your history you may find that more difficult than most.

Your question is not a simple one. If you can afford it, get paid-for advice from a good lawyer or consultant who can look at all the facts of your case. And do that *before* you leave the country or apply for anything.
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