Once you become a permanent resident, you will receive a PR card. This card will prove you are a PR when you are returning to Canada from abroad using commercial vehicles (i.e., plane, train, bus or boat). Your card will list your personal information, issuing and expiry date, as well as the date you became a PR. If your PR card expires, you can always renew your card. You still have your PR status even if your PR card expired. However, in order to maintain your PR status, you have to meet certain residency obligations and remain admissible to Canada.
Meeting Your Residency Obligation
In order to keep your permanent resident status, you must have been in Canada for at least 730 days in the last five years, which is equivalent to two years. It does not need to be continuous and you may be able to count some of your time abroad towards your residency obligation if it meets some of the exemption requirements.
The period being assessed can vary depending on your circumstances. If you have been a permanent resident for over five years then the assessment period is the 5-year period directly before your application submission. If you have been a permanent resident for less than five years then the period being assessed is from your PR issue date to the application submission. As long as residents continually meet the 2 out of every 5 years in Canada requirement then their status is maintained.
Exemptions to the Residency Obligation
Some of your time abroad can count towards your residency obligation if it is spent working with a Canadian organization or in the company of your Canadian spouse/partner.
Conditions where time abroad counts towards PR residency obligation:
- If you work full-time for a Canadian business, organization, or government institution;
- If you are accompanying your Canadian spouse or common-law partner;
- If you are accompanying your permanent resident spouse or common partner who is working full-time for a Canadian business, organization, or government institution;
- If you are a dependent child accompanying your Canadian citizen parent or permanent resident parent working full-time for a Canadian business, organization, or government institution.
If you have spent over three years abroad and cannot meet the 730 days residency obligation by either being physically in Canada or meeting one of the exemption conditions, then any application made to renew your PR card will have to be made on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds. This allows the applicant to explain the circumstances around their time abroad and any compelling reason they were unable to meet the residency requirement. These circumstances can include your own health, taking care of a sick or dying relative, travel restrictions, and legal or financial proceedings outside of Canada.
Remain Admissible to Canada
Another way to lose your PR status is if you become inadmissible. There are four ways a PR can be found to be inadmissible:
- Security grounds – engaging in espionage, subversion (i.e., attempts to overthrow a government), violence or terrorism, or membership in an organization involved in any of these activities;
- Violations of international and human rights – committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, or being a senior official in a government engaged in gross human rights violations or subject to international sanctions;
- Serious criminality – convicted of an offence that is punishable by at least 10 years imprisonment or convicted and sentenced to more than 6 months in prison;
- Organized criminality – membership in an organization that takes part in organized criminal activity or transnational crime such as people smuggling, money laundering, and drug trafficking.
If a PR is found to have engaged in such activity, then they could lose their PR status and be subject to a removal order asking them to immediately leave Canada. If you are found to be inadmissible and you are outside of Canada, then you will not be allowed to travel back.
How We Can Help
The Immigration Law Office of Matthew Jeffery specializes with PR card Renewals with over 20 years of experience. We specialize in complex cases with high success rates. If you are looking to renew your PR card, please fill out our free PR Card Renewal Assessment form to see if we can help you right away.