One of the most important components of maintaining your permanent resident status in Canada is ensuring you meet the residency obligation.
The residency obligation is in place to ensure that permanent residents don’t just obtain permanent resident status and then go back and live in their home country. To be permanent residents in Canada and receive the benefits of being a permanent resident, they must maintain a physical presence in Canada.
However, they don’t have to be in Canada all of the time and are free to travel as much as they like, wherever they like – as long as they spend a certain amount of time in Canada. The reason it is so important to keep track of what days count for your permanent resident status is that when you renew your permanent resident card every five years, you have to prove that you’ve been in Canada for the required amount of time.
The residency requirement for permanent resident status in Canada is currently two years out of every five. However these do not have to be two consecutive years, and sometimes it’s easier to think of it as having to be physically present in Canada for 730 days. A residency day counts as one where you are living and working in Canada.
However, there are some exceptions:
If you are working in another country for a Canadian employer, you may count those days as residency days. If you are working outside of Canada for a foreign employer, you must not spend more than three years (1095 days) doing so out of the five year period.
If you are in another country because you are married to a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident who is employed by a Canadian employer abroad and you have to travel with them, you could also count those days as residency days.
It is your responsibility to make sure that you are able to prove to the Canadian government that you are able to meet or have met your residency obligation for maintaining your permanent resident status. If you are not able to meet the residency requirement and do not have a valid reason for this, you could lose your permanent resident status and have to leave Canada.
If you are concerned about meeting your residency requirement for permanent residence, please call us – do not wait to avoid complicated issues with your status in Canada.
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