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Permanent Resident Obligations

Permanent Resident Obligations

Once a foreign national becomes a permanent resident of Canada, they must still meet certain requirements in order to maintain their permanent residence status. 

In order to maintain permanent resident status, most foreign national must demonstrate that they have been physically present in Canada for at least 730 days (two years) in the five years preceding the date of the application for renewal of their permanent resident card.


Exceptions to the Physical Presence Test

There are a couple of exceptions to the physical presence requirement of at least 730 days in the five years preceding the date of application. These exceptions include:

  • Time spent outside of Canada on assignment on behalf of a Canadian employer or the Canadian federal or public service;
  • Time spent outside of Canada accompanying a family member who is a permanent resident of Canada, whom works for a Canadian employer or the Canadian federal or public service; or
  • Time spent outside of Canada accompanying their Canadian family member outside Canada.

Unfortunately the following scenarios are not exceptions to the physical presence test, and will not allow a foreign national to maintain their permanent residence status if they are outside of Canada for more than 1,095 days: 

  • Caring for a sick or elderly relative (including parents or grandparents) who are not Canadian citizens;
  • Working outside Canada for a foreign employer; or
  • Incorporating a company in Canada, and then leaving Canada to work for that company, when you are the only, or one of few employees. 

Information Considered by Immigration Canada

In determining if a permanent resident of Canada meets the residency requirements, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (Immigration Canada) will collect information regarding their: 

  • Travels outside Canada, including history of entries into Canada;
  • Activities (employment and studies); 
  • Address history; and
  • Income tax information and filing history. 

Immigration Canada also prefers that those who apply for their permanent residence cards be currently in Canada. If a foreign national is outside Canada and their permanent residence card expires, they may be required to apply for a Travel Document in order to return to Canada to collect their permanent residence card.

After a foreign national has obtained permanent residence and physically lived in Canada for at least three years (in a five year period), they may be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship.