The requirements and restrictions of citizenship and permanent residency can be confusing to understand and one question we get asked a lot is how long can Canadian permanent residents stay abroad? Each status offers different rights and privileges, so it is essential to know the differences, especially if you are worried about losing your permanent resident status for staying out of the country for too long.

Before we answer the question How long can Canadian permanent residents stay abroad? It is crucial to understand what a PR is before determining how long can Canadian permanent residents stay abroad.

What is a Canadian permanent resident?

A permanent resident is a citizen of another country who has been granted permission to reside in Canada. They are not Canadian citizens.

As a permanent resident, you are entitled to certain rights by the government. They are:

  • entitled to health care coverage and many other benefits that Canadian citizens are eligible for
  • they can live, study or work anywhere in Canada
  • they can submit an application for citizenship when eligible
  • they obtain protections under Canadian law

How long can Canadian permanent residents stay abroad?

In order to maintain your permanent resident status, you must have been physically present in Canada for at least 730 days within the past five years. This period of 730 days does not have to be continuous, however, some of the days you spend abroad may contribute to the 730 days.

calendar of how many days in canada

Can any days abroad count toward my permanent resident status?

You may be able to apply your time spent outside of Canada towards your permanent resident status if you fulfil one of the following conditions:

You work outside Canada

You need to work full-time for:

  • a Canadian business overseas
  • the Canadian territorial, provincial or federal government

You travel with a spouse or common-law partner

The common-law partner or spouse needs to be:

  • a Canadian citizen, or
  • a Canadian permanent resident who is working outside Canada, full-time for:
    • a Canadian business or
    • the Canadian territorial, provincial or federal government.

You travel with a spouse or common-law partner

The common-law partner or spouse needs to be:

  • a Canadian citizen, or
  • a Canadian permanent resident who is working outside Canada, full-time for:
    • a Canadian business or
    • the Canadian territorial, provincial or federal government.

You are a dependent child and have travelled with your parent

Your parent needs to be:

  • a Canadian citizen, or
  • a Canadian permanent resident who is working outside Canada, full-time for:
    • a Canadian business or
    • the Canadian territorial, provincial or federal government
celebrating permanent residency

How to track my days in Canada?

Make use of this travel journal to keep track of your time in Canada.

If you do not know how many days you have spent in Canada, you can also:

  • ask a visa officer when you enter Canada
  • renew your PR card. You will be told if you are eligible.

Can I lose my permanent resident status?

The only way you can lose your permanent resident status is by going through an official process.

If any of the following occur, you could lose your permanent resident status:

  • if an adjudicator decides that you are no longer a permanent resident, according to Canadian law during an inquiry or PRTD appeal,
  • you renounce your PR status;
  • you have a removal order against you
  • you are granted Canadian citizenship.

When your PR card expires, you do not lose your permanent residence status.

Although you might not satisfy the residency obligation, you are still a PR until an official determination is made about your status.

Should I take my PR card when leaving Canada?

The permanent resident card is issued to Canadian permanent residents as proof of their status. When returning to Canada on a commercial vehicle like an aeroplane, boat, train or bus, you will be required to show your permanent resident card and passport.

If you are a PR travelling outside of Canada without a valid PR card, or if you forget to bring your card with you, then you will need to apply for a permanent resident travel document before returning home by a commercial vehicle.

If you are leaving Canada and are worried you may not maintain permanent residence status or have any Canadian immigration questions get in touch.