How To Keep Your PR Status When You Have To Leave Canada?

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Permanent Resident Card

Permanent residents of Canada sometime need to reside abroad due work obligations, family matters, studies or personal emergencies. In those circumstances, keeping permanent resident status should be top of mind. In some circumstances, you may still maintain permanent resident status in Canada after living abroad for few years.

Before, explaining how to maintain your permanent resident status in Canada while living abroad, your should understand your rights as a permanent resident of Canada. Further, it is key to understand that, once you become a permanent resident of Canada, you’ll be a permanent resident until, by way of a legal proceeding, your permanent resident status is taken away from you or your voluntarily surrender it. The immigration lawyers at Kahane Law Office in Calgary gladly help people looking at keeping permanent resident status In Canada

Knowing Permanent Resident Rights In Canada

As a permanent resident of Canada, you have the right to enter and remain in Canada. In addition, you have the following rights:

  • live, work or study anywhere in Canada;
  • obtain most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage and student loans;
  • apply for Canadian citizenship; and
  • to have protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Permanent Residency Obligations To Keep PR Status

The basic requirement to maintain your status as a permanent resident in Canada is simple. You must be physically present in Canada for at least 730 days within a 5-year period. This means that you can spend a total of up to 3 years outside of Canada during a 5-year period.

However, if you have been a permanent resident for less than 5 years and decide to leave Canada for an extended period of time, it is your responsibility to prove to immigration officers that you will be able to meet the 730 days residency requirement.

Do The 730 Days Needs To Be Continuous?

The 730 days do not need to be continuous. To maintain your permanent resident status in Canada, you do not need to be in Canada for 730 days in a row. You can be 5 months in one year, travel back to Canada every weekend and be another 6 months another year and so on.  The requirement to maintain permanent resident status includes demonstrating physical living in Canada for at least 730 days within a 5-year period.  An officer confirms if your time in Canada counts when you re-enter Canada, or when applying for a permanent resident card.

Exceptions To The 730 Day Rule

There are exceptions where time spent outside Canada may also count towards the 730-day residency requirement.

Accompanying A Close Family Member Outside Of Canada

If you are accompanying a spouse or common-law partner who is a Canadian citizen outside of Canada, then each day outside Canada is considered as if you were physically present in Canada.  A child permanent resident can accompany a parent outside of Canada and also be considered physically present in Canada for calculating the 730 days requirement, as long as the child demonstrate that is traveling or accompany a parent who is a Canadian citizen.

Certain Employment Outside Of Canada

As a permanent resident of Canada, you maintain permanent residence status when employed abroad, subject to a few restrictions:

  • You must be a full-time employee of a Canadian business or the public service with the head office in Canada that controls assignments overseas. This must entail working for a Canadian company with overseas offices that you were assigned to from the head office in Canada. Public service includes federal public administration and the public service of a province.
  • This applies to someone who has a contract with a Canadian business. You can be a contractor working overseas for a Canadian business.
  • This includes assignments to an affiliated enterprise of the Canadian business or a client of Canadian business overseas.

In all these situations, days spent working abroad are counted as days spent physically in Canada.

Accompany A Permanent Resident Spouse, Common Law Partner Or Parent

If a permanent resident accompanies a spouse or partner who is also a Permanent Resident outside of Canada, he or she will be considered physically present in Canada only if the spouse or partner is employed full-time by a Canadian business or employed by the public service of Canada or a Canadian province. This exception also applies to a child permanent resident of a permanent resident.

The permanent resident spouse needs full-time employment by a Canadian business. This also includes public service of Canada employment or a Canadian province.  It is not necessarily that the permanent resident is working overseas. So, time spent away from Canada on holidays while employed full-time at a Canadian business would count as days spent in Canada.

Burden To Prove Meeting Permanent Residence Requirements

As the permanent resident, you do have the burden. You have the entire responsibility to prove you meet the Permanent Residence requirements to the satisfaction of the visa officer.  Hence, it is extremely important to maintain present evidences to demonstrate you meet the permanent residence requirements. Otherwise even if you meet the requirement you may lose your permanent resident status.

Evidences Required To Prove Residency Requirements

There is not one specific document that can be use to demonstrate a permanent resident meets the permanent residency requirements. Each case is different.

It is strongly recommended to those living or traveling abroad often to maintain records of trips outside of Canada. Maintain a travel journal with date of departure from Canada, date of return, destination, and reason for absence. I also advice them to keep copy of plane tickets, hotel bookings, visa stamps in passport and any document that shows exactly when they left Canada and when they returned. In addition, I suggest to provide copy of lease agreements, medical records showing visits to doctors in Canada, online purchases, club memberships in Canada, car insurance, school transcripts, utilities bills, pay stubs, and correspondence making reference to time in Canada

For those who may fall within one of the exceptions discussed above, keep detailed evidence of employment abroad. This evidence includes copies of employment contracts, letters assigning employment overseas and information about your employer.

Lawyers For Keeping Permanent Resident Status In Canada

Questions about maintaining your permanent resident status in Canada? or you need to submit an application to renew your permanent resident card and want to ensure your application is as strong as possible, then please contact one of our immigration professionals at our firm. The best way for us to help is to email us. Email us at email us directly here. We gladly accept calls to at 403-225-8810 locally in Calgary, Alberta or reach us toll-free at 1-877-225-8817.