February 17, 2023
How Long Can a Canadian Citizen Stay Outside of Canada?
As a Canadian citizen, there is no requirement to maintain physical presence, or spend a certain number of days in Canada, to maintain your status as a Canadian citizen. In fact, section 6 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the right of Canadian citizens to come and go as they please. If you are a Canadian citizen outside of Canada and plan to return to Canada, it is important to have with you proof of your status as a Canadian citizen, such as your passport, which is strongly recommended for citizens travelling abroad as it “is the only universally accepted identification document, and it proves that you have a right to return to Canada.” Other documents which may be accepted to prove Canadian citizenship aside from a Canadian passport, and subject to certain conditions, are a Canadian birth certificate, citizenship certificate or citizenship card.
Alternatively, permanent residents must meet the residency obligation, requiring at least 730 days in the last five years. The days do not need to be continuous, and some time spent abroad can count towards meeting the residency obligation. The best form of proof of permanent resident status is a valid permanent resident card, however this alone is not enough to maintain permanent residence status, as the residency obligation must also be met.
If you think you may be a citizen and want to learn more, feel free to schedule a consultation with our office.