Navigating age and citizenship

stero

New Member
Preface: My partner (16) and I (17) are both in some pretty abusive home situations. We've already determined we're each doing about all we're able to about that issue, but as it stands, we're currently stuck where we are until we age out, so let's say that the less time we spend at home the necessary, the better. I'm almost exactly six months (my birthday in spring and theirs in winter) older than my partner, I'm American and he's Canadian, and neither of us particularly want to live over here. We're very serious about our relationship. We wanted to get married when we were older, in the more distant future, but there are some snags, which is why I'm here to ask around for ideas.

Situation: I'll turn 18 shortly before I graduate high school in 2022. I hope to leave my parent's homes pretty quickly. If nothing else, I have a few friends in the states I can crash with while legal things get sorted out. Thankfully my source of income is over the internet (even if commission art is unstable, it's better than nothing until I can get a more physical job). I want to cross the border as soon as possible and get a small apartment in my partner's city so that they can stay with me as much as we can keep them away from their home until they turn 18 too. Once we're both legally able to, we are both willing and capable to work whatever jobs we need to in order to afford everything we need for a small apartment in a hopefully less expensive city. We want to live together and are willing to do whatever it takes for that. The hope is that we can find our footing enough after a year that I at least (they haven't expressed much interest) can attend college for a 2-year degree (a 4-year program feels like too much for us to get through).

Issues: I can only stay so many months on a passport. Without college, which I'm not in a position to enter the year after I graduate, I cannot obtain a student visa. Without a degree, I cannot be hired for a specialized job and obtain a work visa. There are no partner/spouse visas. We could, in theory, delay some things and make a messy situation by attempting to marry before my partner's 18th birthday, which would be legally valid if we sealed the deal with, er, consummation. We could also try to get consent from court, but neither of us are very versed in legal situations like that. Even then, though, I wouldn't be able to stay, we can only afford so much in the way of extension fees, and they can't even apply to sponsor me until they turn 18, a process that takes a year. If I were to get stuck back in America for a time, I have people that would let me stay with them for awhile, but my partner has no one in Canada to turn to if I suddenly can't chip into rent and taxes.

Current top option: I stay behind in America a couple of additional months with a friend and leave my partner to fend for themself in an abusive home during that time. This gives me time to get fully emancipated and apply for a college that can grant me a visa or attempt to immigrate as a provincial nominee. After a couple of months, I can move in with a passport and have wiggle room after my partner has turned 18 for us to apply for and be legally married, which gives us a few possible options for making sure I can stay.


But I wouldn't be in a forum asking around if I was confident we've considered or know everything.

Questions: How lenient are courts? What are the chances they actually would allow my partner to be married at 17 so we could get them away from their home sooner? Are they capable of granting citizenship, and would they in cases as messy as ours? What areas of the country have the most affordable housing and job opportunities for high school graduates that need to make a living without any parents or guardians? How can we proof our plans to make them versatile enough to withstand further complications, such as mental health issues possibly leading to health concerns that lead to complications (like how my runaway attempt ended with me being outpatiented and becoming labeled as a flight risk)? Does anyone have other suggestions to offer we haven't found (assuming that CPS can't help us)?


Thanks for any help or really anyone who reads this. I know it's long and some people probably turned away just seeing we're 16 and 17 talking about marriage. I just want my partner to be safe. I really, really love them. If we had other options and they were safer elsewhere, I'd take it, but we've run into dead ends everywhere we've turned. If a legal disaster with me is the safest they'll be, then hell, I'll take it. I just don't want to start this process unadvised. A year out still doesn't feel like enough to get this all straightened out, but time is really of the essence and we both need legal independence from our parents/guardians ASAP.
 

Riley Haas

Administrator
Staff member
Hi,
I'm sorry your both in these situations and I'm going to do my best to help. Please keep in mind that I am just the admin of this forum and not a lawyer or an immigration consultant.

How lenient are courts? What are the chances they actually would allow my partner to be married at 17 so we could get them away from their home sooner?
The first thing to think about is this: marriage is essentially a state/provincial matter. Marriage regulations are different in each jurisdiction. From what you've said, it sounds like neither of you will be able to get the appropriate parental consent. I don't know enough about how you can get the consent of a judge in the US (or apply for emancipation before you're 18) but it might be easier to go this route if you can indeed find a way to get consent to marry under-age. Legal marriages in the US are legal in Canada normally. However, foreign marriages which would be illegal in Canada are usually not accepted as legal here. So I don't know if your partner could legally marry you in the US with the consent of a judge, since that is not an option that is available in Canada (to the best of my knowledge).

Are they capable of granting citizenship, and would they in cases as messy as ours?
Citizenship is a problem way down the road for either of you. It's not time to think about that yet. First, one of you needs permanent resident status in the country of the other.

So the objective here is to get PR somehow and you can worry about citizenship later. You seem to have read a fair amount about this but, just to be clear, the choices for you to get PR in Canada are:
  • Get sponsored by your partner either because you're married or you're living common-law for one year (as you know your partner is currently too young to sponsor you)
  • Immigrate as a skilled worker (which you do not have the education for, in nearly all cases)
  • Get a job, work here on a work permit and apply through PR after working in your skilled job for at least one year (look up your NOC code here: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigratio...ligibility/find-national-occupation-code.html )
  • Get accepted to a Canadian university or college, graduate, then work here for a year in a skilled job for a least one year, then apply for PR.
I don't know anything about immigrating the US but it might be easier to for your partner to go the other direction. No idea.

What areas of the country have the most affordable housing and job opportunities for high school graduates that need to make a living without any parents or guardians?
If you're making a living through art commissions online, you can work anywhere. The problem is that you cannot work as a visitor, you need a work permit. In theory, if you did get a job as a artist for some company with a valid work permit, you could live anywhere but whether or not that is acceptable to the employer would depend on the employer. (Though obviously the pandemic makes it more likely.)

Is there a place in Canada that is likely to have both a low cost of living and lots of job openings for someone with your skills? I would guess that it's not very likely.

How can we proof our plans to make them versatile enough to withstand further complications, such as mental health issues possibly leading to health concerns that lead to complications (like how my runaway attempt ended with me being outpatiented and becoming labeled as a flight risk)? Does anyone have other suggestions to offer we haven't found (assuming that CPS can't help us)?
This is an area I know nothing about but I feel like emancipation before your 18th birthday may be the way to go here. If it's feasible, of course. If you can find some support at Child Protective Services (goes by different names in Canada, FYI) that might be the way to go.

Sorry I cannot be more help.
 

stero

New Member
Thank you for all the information, it means a lot! We can tough our way through the system one way or the other. Knowing the options we have available is a huge help with that. Any sources are valuable and we're grateful for the input you have. Tysm!!
 

Riley Haas

Administrator
Staff member
Well Immigroup has a ton of content on sponsorship, including a brand new guide we are putting together https://www.immigroup.com/spousal-sponsorship-course (it's not totally done yet).

But, of course, that's only a possibility once your partner is 18.

So, honestly, your best bet might be to see if you can find a job with a Canadian employer. Your skill set might be relatively unique enough plus being American helps.
 
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