Permanent Resident Card
Law Office of Matthew Jeffery, Canadian Immigration Lawyer
based in Toronto, Canada.
Matthew Jeffery, Barrister & Solicitor, is an expert in all areas of Canadian immigration law, including Family and Spousal Sponsorships, Skilled Worker, Canadian Experience Class and Express Entry applications, Permanent Resident Card renewals, Citizenship applications, Humanitarian applications, Work Permits, Study Permits and Visitor Visas, as well as the full range of immigration litigation services including appeals to the Federal Court, appeals to the Immigration Appeal Division, and Citizenship appeals.
Recognized by Best Lawyers in the immigration category, Matthew Jeffery has the experience needed to guide clients through Canada’s complicated immigration system.
Renewing Expired PR Card if you are Meeting a Residency Requirement
To have your PR card renewed, you must meet the minimum residency obligations. To maintain your permanent residence, you must reside in Canada for at least 2 years in a five-year period.
If you have been a permanent resident for more than 5 years, you must show that you have been physically present in Canada for a minimum of 730 days (2 years) within the past 5 years.
If you have been a permanent resident for less than 5 years, you must show that you will be physically present in Canada for a minimum of 730 days within 5 years from the date you become a permanent resident.
You may be able to count days spent outside of Canada as part of the 730 days required to meet the residency obligation. For instance, if you accompany a Canadian citizen spouse outside of Canada, you may also count those days.
Another common situation is when you work for a Canadian company outside of Canada. You can count each day you worked outside Canada as long as certain requirements are met. We’ll look at these two common situations below.
Situation 1: Working for a Canadian company abroad
Has your permanent resident card expired while working abroad for a Canadian employer? There are strict regulations that enable permanent residents to fulfill their residency while working outside of Canada.
Other than being physically present in Canada, the permanent resident may fulfill the residency obligation if he/she was or is employed on a full-time basis outside Canada by a Canadian business or in the public service of Canada or a province in Canada.
For the organization to be considered a “Canadian business”, it must:
- Be incorporated under the laws of Canada or a province of Canada and has an ongoing operation in Canada
- If not incorporated under the laws of Canada, it must be an enterprise that has an ongoing operation in Canada and is capable of generating revenue (is conducted in anticipation of profit) and the majority of voting or ownership interests are held by Canadian citizens, permanent residents or Canadian businesses.
- Be an organization or enterprise that is created by the laws of Canada or a province.
A business that exists primarily to allow a permanent resident to satisfy the residency obligation while living abroad will not be considered as a “Canadian business”.
A permanent resident will have complied with the residency obligations while working abroad provided that:
- The person is under contract to or a full-time employee of a “Canadian business” or public institution that controls all its assignments from the head office in Canada.
- The person is assigned on a full-time basis as a term of their employment or contract to a position abroad either with a “Canadian business” or an affiliated enterprise/client.
- The person maintains a connection to a “Canadian business”.
- The person is assigned to work on an assignment on a temporary basis and
- He/she will continue working for the “Canadian business” once the assignment is over.
Permanent residents can also satisfy their residency obligation if they accompanied a permanent resident abroad who is/was a full-time employee of a “Canadian business” or in the public service working outside of Canada for the total of 730 days.
Situation 2: Accompanying a Canadian citizen spouse/partner
Each day that a Canadian permanent resident spends abroad accompanying (ordinarily residing with) a Canadian citizen, is considered a day of physical presence in Canada. However, the Canadian citizen must be the spouse or common-law partner of the permanent resident. You will be required to provide supporting documents to prove that the person you are accompanying is a Canadian citizen and you are the spouse/common-law partner of this person.
Generally speaking, the immigration authorities do not apply any nuances when assessing residency in this situation. When a permanent resident and a Canadian citizen travel outside Canada, it is not necessary to determine who is accompanying whom or the intent of their travel. As long as the permanent resident is accompanying the Canadian citizen, the purpose of their absences is irrelevant.
Similar rules apply when a permanent resident child is accompanying a Canadian citizen parent outside of Canada. The child, in this case, refers to a child under the age of 22 who is unmarried. If a permanent resident child is accompanying their Canadian parent abroad, then this time will be counted as time in Canada for purposes of the residency requirement.
Note that these rules apply to the residency requirement for the continuation of permanent resident status only. For purposes of qualifying for citizenship, time working for a Canadian company abroad or accompanying a Canadian spouse, partner or parent abroad do not count towards the residency requirement.
Permanent Resident Card Renewal Lawyer
People who have obtained permanent residence in Canada will be issued Permanent Resident Cards (“P.R. cards”) valid for 5 years. Permanent Resident Cards are important because they are travel documents that will allow the permanent resident to return to and enter Canada for as long as they are valid. These cards can be renewed continuously provided the permanent resident has met the residency requirement. In this regard, it is a requirement of Canadian immigration law that permanent residents physically reside in Canada for at least 2 years out of every 5 in order to maintain their permanent residence.
Therefore, a Canadian permanent resident can spend up to 3 years out of every 5 years absent from Canada and still maintain their residence. How this 3 years is divided up within the 5 year period is irrelevant. As long as the permanent resident lives in Canada for at least 2 years within the 5 years prior to an application for a new card, then they will meet the residency requirement. However, if a permanent resident remains outside Canada for more than 3 years in a 5 year period, then they risk losing their permanent residence.
There are some exceptions to the 2 years in 5 rule. If a permanent resident is outside Canada accompanying a Canadian citizen who is their spouse, common-law partner, or parent, then this time counts as being resident in Canada. Also, if a permanent resident is employed outside Canada by a Canadian business or the Canadian federal or a provincial government, then this time counts as though they were resident in Canada. In the instance of permanent residents employed outside Canada, their accompanying spouses and children will also have the time counted as though they were resident in Canada.
Renewing P.R. Cards
As long as a permanent resident card is valid the possessor can return to Canada and will be presumed to be a permanent resident on entry.
When it comes time to renew the card, however, a permanent resident must make an application describing their travel history in order to demonstrate that they have met the residency requirement. If the immigration authorities are satisfied that the applicant has met the residency requirement, they will issue a new card valid for a further 5 years.
The processing of P.R. cards can be expedited in the event a permanent resident needs to travel immediately.
Renewing P.R. Cards on Humanitarian grounds
In the scenario where a permanent resident needs to renew their P.R. card but has not met the residency requirement, and does not fall into one of the exception categories, the application to renew the card can be made on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds, by explaining the extenuating circumstances why the permanent resident was not able to meet the residence requirement.
If the immigration authorities are satisfied that there are sufficient Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds to justify renewing the P. R. card, they can renew it even though the permanent resident has not met the residency requirement.
What are Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds?
Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds are mitigating factors that demonstrate the permanent resident has a compelling reason why they were unable to remain in Canada for at least 2 years out of 5.
For example, remaining out of Canada in order to care for an elderly or sick relative could be a humanitarian and compassionate factor. The immigration authorities will also consider the best interests of any child affected by the decision as being a potential humanitarian and compassionate factor.
In each case the individual facts will be considered and the decision-maker will make a subjective judgment as to whether the explanation offered is sufficient to overcome the failure to meet the 2-out-of-5-year residency requirement.
Where a permanent resident has remained outside Canada and their permanent resident card has expired, they may apply for a travel document to allow them to re-enter Canada.
The permanent resident will be required to describe their travel history. If the applicant has not been able to meet the residence requirement, and does not fall into one of the exception categories, they can apply to keep their permanent residence and return to Canada on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds. Once inside Canada the permanent resident can then apply to renew their P.R. card.
If a permanent resident applies to have their permanent resident card extended and this application is refused, they may appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board within 60 days. Similarly, those who apply for a Travel Document and are found to have lost their residence may also appeal within 60 days.
The Appeal Division will hold a hearing to decide if the decision to take away the appellant’s permanent residence should be allowed to stand, or if it should be overturned. The Appeal Division may consider both the legal basis for the appeal and the Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds related to the appeal.
The appeal will be held in Canada and the appellant can provide new evidence in support of their case and can testify before a judge. Where the appellant is outside Canada such testimony may be done by teleconference. If the Immigration Appeal Division decides to grant the appeal then the appellant will be permitted to retain their permanent residence and can obtain a new P.R. card. If the Immigration Appeal Division denies the appeal a further appeal to the Federal Court may be made.
Travel documents to Canada can be obtained by those appealing the revocation of their permanent resident status where they have been in Canada at least once within the last year, or where the Immigration Appeal Division determines that their presence in Canada is necessary for their appeal.
The Law Office of Matthew Jeffery, Barrister & Solicitor, has years of experience assisting clients with all types of matters related to Permanent Resident cards. Please contact us if you require our assistance or further information.
Frequently Asked Questions