Permanent Resident Card and Canadian Citizenship Requirements

Our family got Canadian Permanent Residence and a Record of Landing in 1995.  I traveled back to Hong Kong and returned to Canada on a regular basis to meet the legal requirements. In 2000, I stayed in a Hospital (I have medical records) for some months and I did not to return to Canada for few years. My spouse and children are Canadian Citizens now. I only hold a Landing Record.

How I can get Canadian citizenship or my Permanent Resident Card?  My spouse is a worker, two children are studying in University and will graduate in 2010 in the summer.


You can apply for your Permanent Resident Card every 5 years provided you meet the residency requirements which are generally living in Canada for at least 2 years in a 5 year period. For Canadian citizenship, the general rule is 3 years of Canadian residency within the last 4 years of applying. There are of course exceptions to both rules pertaining to Canadian permanent residency and Canadian citizenship.

In the case of your hospital stay, if you do not meet the regular requirements, you may still qualify for Canadian citizenship or a PR Card renewal based on humanitarian grounds depending on the circumstances.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

  • Sydney

    I migrated with my wife and our three then minor children in 2003, landing there on 15 November 2003 after obtaining the permanent resident visas. We later applied for a PR card, but in the mean time, my wife bought two houses, and lived in Canada for 936 days, or 2 years, 6 months and roughly 23 days between 2003 and 2007 (at one point we travelled back to our country of origin to spend a few months for professional reasons and where also I had to be hospitalised).
    We left Canada in August 2007 because we had lost our jobs and worked overseas, while my wife did advanced studies and obtained three university degrees and postgraduate diplomas. Our PR card expired in 2008 while we were overseas.
    Does its expiration mean that the residency status stands cancelled as a result? Have we lost residency in the legal sense?

    • Michael Niren

      Hello Sydney

      Thank you for your question. Your PR status has not necessarily expired and you can apply for a PR card renewal based on humanitarian grounds given your circumstances. You have to show the reason for your absence from Canada and that you are serious about re-establishing ties to Canada. Our law fir handles lots of these cases. It is important to have them well documented. If you are approved, you will get another PR card valid for 5 years.
      I hope that helps


  • Olcay Met


    It has been a year since I received my PR status and have been living in Canada for 4.5 years. So I need one more year to be eligible for citizenship. I was offered a job in Germany few weeks ago and wonder if employment outside Canada would fall into exceptional circumstances category.

    Thank you!

  • Javid hakimi

    My wife is applying for Canadian Citizenship, but her PR has expired. It expired last summer. Does she have to renew her PR Card in order to be able to apply for Canadian Citizenship?


    • Dear Javid Hakimi,

      If she has resided in Canada for 3 years (1095 days) in the four years immediately before the date of the application, she may apply for Canadian Citizenship. But, she also needs to have a valid PR Card when she applies for Citizenship.

      Thank you.

  • Manu

    This is for my parents.
    What happens if they cannot fulfill the residency obligation for their PR?

    • Dear Manu,

      Depending on the reason why they were not able to satisfy the residency obligation, they may be able to apply for a PR renewal based on the Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds. However, I would need to know the circumstances surrounding their absence from Canada to see if they could fall under the exceptions.

      Hope this helps.

  • Andy


    I will be completing my three years of stay in Canada in the next two months. I am planning to leave Canada for a period of over a year. Before I leave Canada, I want to apply for my citizenship. My question is if I have to be present in Canada to while my citizenship application is in process. My PR Card will remain valid.

    Thanks in advance.


    • Dear Andy,

      As long as you have met the residency obligation to become a Canadian citizen (at least three years in the past four years before applying), you may travel outside Canada and this will not affect your eligibility.

      Hope this helps.

  • Noor

    Dear Sir/Madam

    Is it 29 categories for applying the PR for Canada?

    with regards

    • No, there are currently 29 Occupations under the Skilled Worker Category. If you have worked in one of these occupations you MAY qualify for Canadian permanent residence.

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