What Days Count For Permanent Resident Status

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 permanent residency obligation and counting residency days

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.

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

  • Baivoom


    I am just being confused how they count the days. I lived in Canada from Jan 1st 2013 to Dec 3rd 2013 and then left Canada, I came back Jan 10 2017. Do they count the present days for past five years from Jan 1st 2013 ? Can they count days from Dec 3rd 2013? Really need you help and thanks in advance.

    • Immigration Lawyer (rachel)

      Hi Baivoom,

      Thank you for contacting us at VisaPlace! We would have to take a closer look at your case to better understand what days may have counted toward your permanent residence and to best advise you. Hiring an immigration lawyer will help you get answers to all of your questions, plus it will increase the chance of getting a visa approved. Please, complete this form for me http://www.visaplace.com/immigration-assessment/ it is just a quick and easy way for me to learn more details about your situation so that I will be able to advise you accurately and determine the best avenue for us to take to give you the best legal advice.

      The above response is for informational purposes only and does not form a lawyer-client relationship nor should it be construed to be legal advice.

  • Patricia Souza

    Hi , if i work for an american employer remotely and therefore live in Canada, can i later apply for permanent residence if i meet the leght of time requirement?
    or the employer has to be registered in Canada?
    kind regards

    • Mira Freiwat

      Hello Patricia,

      Thank you for your post. Do you mean to meet your PR Residency Obligation? Or so you can apply for PR in the first place? MF

  • ali

    I was wondering if the days spent in Canada on vacation from my work outside the country are considered part of the 2 years presence in Canada ?
    for example : if I go back to Canada for 5 days vacation do they count that as part of my 2 years ? thank you

    • Hello
      All physical presence in Canada counts generally. If you work for a Canadian company outside of Canada, that MAY count but we would have to look into this case in more detail.

  • Anthony

    Hi John!

    For the residency obligation requirement, will days spent in Canada for vacation, studies, training and leisure can be considered a day in counting the 2 year period?


  • John

    Whats is considered “day”? Can I cross the border from the US and have lunch in Canada and return back to the US if I work there? Or are they looking for 24hrs as a day?

    • Hello John

      That is a good question. A day is a day but generally if you go to the US for less than a day for an outing and then return, you can count that day as a day “in Canada”. Best Michael

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