How long can you stay out of Canada if you are a Permanent Resident?

How long can you stay out of Canada if you are a Permanent Resident
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Getting permanent residency in Canada is a dream come through for any foreigner who wishes to one day become a Canadian citizen.

As a permanent resident in Canada, you are eligible for the majority of social benefits enjoyed by Canadian citizens, such as health insurance, the ability to live, work, or study in Canada, apply for citizenship, and be protected by Canadian law.

Even though you are a citizen of another country, you are legally announcing your intention to live in Canada and be part of the country’s growth when you apply for permanent residence status there.

You might get married, have friends and family back home, or your Canadian job might send you to work abroad.

But unlike real citizens, you are required to stay physically in Canada for several days within a specific period.

While you have ties with your home country and are allowed to stay out of Canada, you are not allowed to (abandon your Canadian residency and) reside permanently in your home country.

How long can you stay out of Canada if you are a Permanent Resident?

You can stay out of Canada if you are a permanent resident for 1,095 days (3 years) in five years within which you are required to renew your permanent resident card.

Else, you may jeopardize your permanent resident status if, after an investigation, an adjudicator finds that you are no longer keeping your permanent resident obligations and therefore can’t continue to be a permanent resident.

Within the five years that you are required to renew your Permanent resident card, you are required to be physically present in Canada for at least 730 days otherwise, you can’t renew your Permanent resident card.

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So within five years for your card to be renewed, you can be out of Canada as a permanent resident for 1,095 days which is 3 years while you are required to be physically present in Canada for 730 days (two years). 

These 730 days can be spread across the five years, the most important thing is that you cumulatively stay physically in Canada for 730 days within a five years circle.

You can come in, stay for a while and go back to your country as long as you meet up with the 730 days mark.

What happens if you don’t renew your permanent resident card in Canada?

If you don’t renew your permanent resident card when it expires, you will still maintain your permanent resident status.

You DO NOT automatically lose your permanent residence because your Permanent resident card expired and you are unable to renew it.

Also, you won’t be asked to leave the country, and you won’t be arrested or denied anything because you didn’t renew your permanent resident card.

But for various services in your province, you might still require your current Permanent resident card. 

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For example, to travel by commercial vehicle back to Canada after you leave the country, you must have a current Permanent resident card.

If you are outside Canada without a valid Permanent resident card you will need to apply permanent resident travel document before returning to Canada.

Otherwise, you won’t be allowed into Canada because you must show your active PR card and passport at the port of entry when you return to Canada on commercial vehicles.

When boarding a flight to Canada or traveling to Canada on any other commercial airline, permanent residents (PRs) of Canada must have their current PR card or permanent resident travel document (PRTD) with them. 

You might not be allowed to board your airline, train, bus, or boat to Canada if you don’t have your PR card or PRTD.

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So, you must renew your permanent resident card when it expires after five years because you almost can’t do without it.

Conditions under which you will lose your permanent resident 

You risk losing your status as a permanent resident:

1. If after an inquiry or PRTD appeal, an adjudicator concludes that you are no longer a permanent resident.

2. If you voluntarily relinquish your permanent resident status

3. If a removal order is issued against you and becomes effective

4. If you become a Canadian citizen.

Even if you don’t fulfill the residency requirement, you are still a PR up until your status is decided on formally.

Things you have to avoid as a permanent resident of Canada

As a Permanent Resident (PR) holder in Canada, you are subject to Canadian law and are required to follow all rules and regulations.

There are certain things you are not allowed to do as a PR holder, and if you break the law, you may be subject to arrest, detention, and possible deportation.

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In addition, you must respect the conditions of your PR status, or you may be asked to leave the country

Some of the things you are not allowed to do as a PR holder include:

  • Possessing or using illegal drugs
  • Not following the conditions of your PR status
  • Working without authorization
  • You must not commit criminal acts. If you are convicted of a crime, you may be deported from Canada.
  • You must not engage in terrorist activities.
  • You must not be a member of a terrorist group.
  • You must not engage in human trafficking.
  • You must not engage in war crimes or crimes against humanity.
  • You must not engage in activities that would harm Canadian security.
  • You must not lie on your PR application. If you are found to have misrepresented yourself, you may be deported from Canada.

If you break any of the above rules, you could be arrested, detained, and deported from Canada.

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So it’s important to know and follow all the rules and regulations as a PR holder in Canada.

Can I apply for permanent residence while outside Canada?

Yes, you can apply for permanent residence from outside Canada if you meet the eligibility requirements. 

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To do so, you will need to submit a complete application, including all required supporting documents, to the visa office responsible for your country or region.

If you are applying for permanent residence from inside Canada, you must follow the instructions on the IRCC website.

Please note that you cannot submit your application online if you are applying from inside Canada.

If you don’t renew your permanent resident card, will you lose your PR in Canada?

No, you will not lose your PR in Canada if you don’t renew your permanent resident card.

You will only lose your PR if you denounce it, an adjudicator determines you are longer a permanent resident after investigation.

A removal order is made against you or you become a Canadian citizen.

Who is eligible for permanent residency in Canada?

You are eligible for permanent residency in Canada if meet all the criteria set by the Canadian government. 

For example, you must be 18 years of age or older, have a valid passport, and have a clean criminal record. 

You must also be able to show that you have ties to Canada, such as a job or family members, and that you will be able to support yourself financially. 

If you meet all of these criteria, you can apply for permanent residency.

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Other criteria may apply depending on your type of situation.

How long does it take to get permanent residency in Canada?

The process of obtaining permanent residency in Canada can take several months or even years. 

It all depends on your circumstances and the current backlog of applications.

If you are applying for permanent residency from outside of Canada, you will first need to submit an application to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 

Once your application is received, it will be placed in a queue and processed in order of receipt. 

The IRCC has set a goal of processing 80% of applications within 6 months, but this can vary depending on the current backlog.

After your application is processed, you will be asked to attend an interview at a Canadian visa office. 

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During the interview, a visa officer will assess your application to ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements for permanent residency. 

If your application is approved, you will be granted permanent residency status.

In conclusion

When you are granted permanent residency in Canada, you will receive a permanent resident card which expires every five years after which you are required to renew it.

You need to be physically present in Canada for at least 1,095 days (3 years) every five years as a permanent resident of Canada.

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You can only stay out of Canada as a permanent resident for 730 days out of every five years within which your PR card will expire and you are required to renew your card.

You won’t lose your PR status because your card expired and you failed to renew it.

Rather, you will lose your PR status if an adjudicator finds you unfit to remain a permanent resident.

There are other conditions under which you can lose your permanent residency status.

If you lose your PR status, you will also lose any benefits that come with it, such as healthcare coverage and the ability to apply for Canadian citizenship.

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