January 18, 2016
How Permanent Is Permanent Residence Status?
A person who has been granted PR status by immigrating to Canada is considered a Permanent Resident of Canada. As a permanent resident you have the right to live, work or study anywhere in Canada, you are entitled to most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive (including health care coverage), and you are protected under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Permanent residents cannot vote, run for political office or hold jobs (some, not all) that require a high level of security clearance.
Permanent Resident Card
In order to maintain your permanent residence status, you must live in Canada for at least two years in a five-year period. When you become a permanent resident, you will receive a permanent resident card (PR card) which is issued for a period of five years. If your PR card expires, it does not mean that you have lost your permanent residence status, it means you have to submit an application to renew your PR card and demonstrate how you have met a minimum of 730 days in Canada. In some circumstances, you may count days spent outside of Canada as days for which you satisfy the residency obligation. This includes time spent:
- outside Canada accompanying a Canadian citizen who is your spouse or common-law partner or, in the case of a child, their parent;
- outside Canada employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or in the public service of Canada or of a province;
- outside Canada accompanying a permanent resident who is your spouse or common-law partner or, in the case of a child, their parent and who is employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or in the public service of Canada or of a province.
Losing Your Permanent Residence Status
Losing your permanent resident status does not occur automatically. Unless you have gone through an official process where a determination has been made, you have not lost or given up your status. Even if you are living outside of Canada and have not met the 730 day residency requirement, you still have permanent residence status.
You may lose your permanent resident status if:
- a decision maker determines that you are no longer a permanent resident following an inquiry; or
- a visa officer determines you do not meet the residency requirements when you apply for a permanent resident travel document or temporary resident travel document.
You may lose your status if you do not live in Canada for two out of five years, are convicted of a serious crime or you become a Canadian citizen. It is important to note that you do not lose your permanent resident status if your PR card expires.
Voluntary Renunciation of PR Status
There are some situations when people may want to voluntarily give up their permanent residence status. For example, if you have been living outside of Canada for a long time and know you have not met your residency obligation and now wish to come to Canada as a visitor, you may want to submit an application to renounce your status instead of having a visa officer do a formal assessment of your status or avoid processing delays upon entry.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA”) was amended on 21 November 2014 to introduce a formal renunciation mechanism so that those who clearly have no intention to remain permanent residents of Canada, no longer need to submit to the residency determination under the IRPA. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) provides legislative framework for people to voluntarily give up their permanent residence status by submitting an application to do so. As per section 72.6 of IRPR, an officer may approve of a person’s application to renounce their permanent resident status if they have provided evidence of their citizenship, nationality or permanent legal resident status in another country and in the case of a minor, the application is signed by every person who has custody and is empowered to act on their behalf. Once you lose your permanent resident status and will then be treated as a foreign national.
For more information on Permanent Residency, please click here.