February 16, 2010
Q. I am from China and would like to apply for permanent resident status. My wife and I are separated for two years and I do not know how to declare her, as in China there is not this concept of “legal separation” as required by Immigration Canada. Can I apply without my wife or do I have to declare her as my ex-wife or should I declare us “separated”? I do not know how to proceed.
A. This is an interesting question and frequently asked by our readers. First, you must know that if you are not divorced and neither of you are living in another common-law relationship with a new partner you are still legally married even if separated. Therefore, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) always requests that separated spouse be medically examined medically and undergo criminal checks. Why? This is because, it just might just happen that after a “separation”, spouses reconcile and want to immigrate together or depending upon the timing of reconciliation, sponsored later. In such cases, even “separated” spouses must be examined whether accompanying or not. Therefore, she should be listed on the forms as separated, your current marital circumstances should be clearly communicated to CIC and likely she will have to undergo the requisite background checks. Good luck!