February 17, 2023

How Long Can a Canadian Citizen Stay Outside of Canada?

Posted by Athena Portokalidis - Bellissimo Law Group PC

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.[1] 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.”[2] 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.[3]

Alternatively, permanent residents must meet the residency obligation, requiring at least 730 days in the last five years.[4] The days do not need to be continuous, and some time spent abroad can count towards meeting the residency obligation.[5] 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.[6]

If you think you may be a citizen and want to learn more, feel free to schedule a consultation with our office.