How long must I stay in Canada to keep my permanent resident status?
To maintain your status as a permanent resident, you must live in Canada for at least two years within a five-year period. During this time you must be here physically.
The two years may not need to be continuous. An officer can confirm if your time in Canada counts when you:
- re-enter Canada, or
- apply for a permanent resident card.
Time spent outside Canada may also count towards the two years if you are:
- travelling with your spouse or partner who is a Canadian citizen,
- a dependent child travelling with his or her father or mother who is a Canadian citizen,
- an employee of (or under contract to) a Canadian business.
It may also count if you are:
- travelling with your spouse or partner who is a permanent resident and works full-time for:
- a Canadian business, or
- the public service of Canada or a province,
- a child travelling with his or her father or mother who is a permanent resident and who works full-time for:
- a Canadian business, or
- the public service of Canada or a province.
- an employee of (or under contract to) the public service of Canada or a province and you are on a full-time assignment to:
- a position outside Canada,
- a partner business outside Canada, or
- a client of the Canadian business or the public service outside Canada.
Learn more about calculating the number of days to comply with the residency obligation (Operational Manual ENF 23, Section 6.4).
The travel journal is an easy way to record your time outside Canada. It can help you fill out the permanent resident application form.
Losing your status
You must not engage in an act that would make you inadmissible to Canada such as committing a serious crime. Other acts that could lead to a permanent resident losing your status include security, human or international rights violations, organized criminality and misrepresentation.
Permanent residents are not afforded the same protections and privileges under Canadian law as Canadian citizens and may be subject to removal if they commit criminal acts.
Giving up your status
Some people may choose to voluntarily give up their permanent residence status. For example, you may decide to apply to give up your status if you:
- know you have not met your residency obligations by being outside Canada for a long period of time, and
- want to visit Canada, and
- do not want to wait for a visa officer to do a formal assessment of your permanent resident status
- you no longer want to live in Canada permanently
- would like to avoid processing delays at the Port of Entry
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