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Residency obligation when renewing your Canada PR

Posted on March 13, 2020
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Canada PR renewal

If you have a permanent residency in Canada, you will have to meet the residency obligation requirement as a PR visa holder. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of Canada says that PR visa holders should comply with this requirement to every five-year period.

The residency obligation requires that you must spend a total of 730 days (roughly two years) during this five-year period. The 730 days need not be continuous, you can enter and exit the country any number of times. But you must ensure that you spend a minimum of 730 days in the five-year period. This is relevant when you apply for renewal of your PR visa. If you do not meet the residency obligation you are at risk of not being able to renew your PR visa and losing your PR status.

This residency obligation is verified when you make an application for renewal of your PR visa or apply for a permanent resident travel document. Your residency obligation will be assessed at the Canadian border.

If you were not able to spend 730 days in Canada during the five-year period, you can still meet the residency requirement under the following conditions:

  • You had to travel with a spouse or parent who is a Canadian outside of Canada
  • You had to work outside of Canada on a full-time basis for a Canadian business or the Canadian provincial, territorial, or federal government
  • You had to accompany your spouse or parent who is a permanent resident and is working outside Canada for a Canadian business or the Canadian provincial, territorial, or federal government

Exemption can be made on humanitarian or compassionate grounds if you have breached the residency obligation.

Even if you stayed outside Canada as a PR visa holder for many years, you would not lose your PR status till a final decision is made to revoke your PR visa.

If at all your PR visa is revoked because you have not met the residency obligation requirements, what are your options?

You can apply to the Immigration Appeal Division (“IAD”) for an appeal to renew your visa. This should be made within 30 days of the decision.

But you should be aware that your right to appeal may expire if the decision to revoke your visa was made outside Canada. In such a case you must submit an appeal within 60 days of the decision. The IAD will give you a full hearing. A panel member will hear your case and even if you have not met the residency obligation, the IAD can permit you to retain your PR status on humanitarian or compassionate grounds.

Remember you will not lose your PR status when your PR card expires but ensure your residency obligation is met when it comes to renew your visa.

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