Immigration options for victims of family violence
If someone is threatening or abusing you, get help right away. Please call 9-1-1 or your local police in an emergency.
- Do you currently live in Canada and are waiting for a decision on your permanent resident application?
- Are you facing family violence?
- Are you afraid to leave your abusive spouse or common-law partner for fear that you may lose your immigration status?
- Has your temporary status expired?
We can help protect you by giving you a special permit to stay in Canada. It’s called a temporary resident permit (TRP). It will give you legal immigration status in Canada. You can also get this permit for your children if they are in Canada.
In Canada, you do not have to testify against your abuser to get temporary resident status.
There is no fee for an initial TRP in cases of family violence. Depending on your situation, it's possible to apply for another TRP at the end of the initial period.
If you get a TRP, you can also get coverage for trauma counselling and health-care benefits. You may also apply for a fee-exempt work permit.
To get a TRP you can:
- contact our Client Support Centre at 1-888-242-2100 (TTY: 1-888-576-8502)
- choose the option for victims of abuse and forced marriage to speak directly to an agent
- use a web form
- apply on paper for a TRP
- include supporting evidence of your situation of abuse
- make sure you mark the outside envelope with “FV” to help us quickly identify your application
If you are a victim of family violence
- to speak to an agent about your immigration status
- contact our Client Support Centre at 1-888-242-2100
- they can tell you about your options
- call 2-1-1 to find community, social and health services
- find more services and information to deal with violence and abuse
- find more resources
Immigration officers at one of our offices will contact you to assess if you can get a temporary resident permit based on the evidence that you provided.
If needed, they will put you in contact with support groups that help victims of family violence.
Benefits of a TRP
You may need a TRP for any of these reasons:
- to escape the abuse of your spouse or partner
- to give you time to decide whether you want to leave Canada or consider other immigration options
- to help make sure you are not separated from your children in Canada while you decide your next steps
- to earn a living without fear of family violence (using a work permit)
If you want to stay in Canada permanently
If you are in a situation of family violence, you may be able to apply for permanent residence based on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds. If you do, make sure you clearly describe your situation of abuse in your application.
Be sure to mark the outside envelope with the letters “FV” to help us quickly identify your application.
If you are in a situation of family violence and already have an application in process, you can tell us about it. We’ll consider it in processing your application. Contact the office that has your application, or contact our Client Support Centre at 1-888-242-2100.
Other Government of Canada links
Provincial and territorial resources
- New Brunswick Services for Women Who Have Experienced Violence or Abuse / Services au Nouveau-Brunswick pour les femmes qui ont subit de la violence ou de l’abus (PDF, 168 KB)
Newfoundland and Labrador
If you are in Ontario and experiencing domestic violence, you can have a free consultation with a private lawyer by calling 1-800-668-8258.
Prince Edward Island
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