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Permanent resident status determination

Mercan Canada Employment Philippines. Inc.

Permanent resident status determination

Permanent resident status determination

For an officer to make a permanent resident status determination, the officer must consider several factors, including

  • who may apply for a status document
  • when and why determinations of residency status are required
  • what to take into consideration when making a determination of residency status
  • what to do if an applicant does not meet their residency obligation
  • when to issue a permanent resident travel document to a permanent resident

On this page

Residency requirements

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) establishes residency requirements and obligations with respect to each 5-year period after an individual obtains permanent resident status.

Pursuant to subsection A28(2), a permanent resident complies with the residency obligation provisions with respect to a 5-year period if, for at least 730 days in that 5-year period, the permanent resident is

  • physically present in Canada
  • accompanying outside of Canada a Canadian citizen who is their
    • spouse
    • common-law partner
    • parent, in the case of a child
  • employed outside Canada on a full-time basis by
  • accompanying outside Canada their spouse, common-law partner, or parent (in the case of a child), where the person they accompany is a permanent resident and is employed on a full-time basis by
    • a Canadian business or
    • the federal or a provincial or territorial public administration
  • referred to in regulations that provide for other means of compliance

Determining if residency requirements are met

Officers shall use the date that an application is officially received in the office in the examination of residency status. Using this date does not disadvantage the applicant in any way if the formal assessment of an application is delayed for any period of time following receipt of the application.

At the examination, it is sufficient for those who have been permanent residents for

  • 5 years or more to demonstrate that they have met their residency requirements in the 5 years immediately before the examination
  • less than 5 years to demonstrate that they will be able to meet their residency requirements using the day they became a permanent resident as the starting date

Note: Officers may not exclude the possibility that an applicant who has resided abroad for 3 years may still be able to comply with the residency obligation during the remaining 2 years of the 5-year period.

Five years or more as a permanent resident

For people who have been permanent residents of Canada for 5 years or more, the only 5-year period that can be considered in calculating the applicant’s residency requirements is the one immediately before the application is received in the office.

As per subparagraph A28(2)(b)(ii), officers must examine only the 5-year period immediately before the date of receipt of the application. Even if a person resided outside of Canada for many years, but returned to Canada and resided there for a minimum of 730 days during the last 5 years, that person would comply with the residency obligation and remain a permanent resident.

Less than 5 years as a permanent resident

People who became permanent residents of Canada less than 5 years prior to the date of receipt of the application are governed by subparagraph A28(2)(b)(i). This provision allows new permanent residents to qualify under the residency obligation provided they can meet the 730-day criterion during the first 5-year period immediately after their arrival in Canada. Even if a person resides outside of Canada for up to 3 years following the date of first arrival in Canada, that person will meet or may meet the residency obligation as long as they still have the possibility of complying with the requirement to be in Canada for 730 days.

In addition to section A28, section 61 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) provides definitions and further describes situations in which time spent outside of Canada can be counted towards the residency obligation in Canada to retain permanent resident status.

Calculating residency or physical presence for PR card and PRTD applications

Applicants must physically be in Canada for 730 days over a 5-year period. The 730 days do not have to be consecutive. Applicants are to specify the date from the last 5 years preceding their application, or since becoming a permanent resident if less than 5 years ago, for the period to be assessed for meeting the residency obligation. Applicants must specify the dates that they were absent from Canada. Exceptions for physical absences must comply with subsection A28(2), as stated above in the residency requirements.

Note: If the applicant leaves Canada and comes back the same day, it is not considered an absence and therefore it does not need to be recorded as time spent outside Canada.

Residency requirement

Example 1: less than 5 years as a permanent resident

An applicant became a permanent resident in Canada on March 14, 2020, residing in Edmonton, Alberta. On September 30, 2020, the applicant left Canada for Brazil to visit their family and returned to Edmonton on January 2, 2022. Upon their return, the applicant had lost their permanent resident card and submitted an application for a replacement on July 13, 2023.

Calculating physical presence:

Period to be assessed would be: from March 14, 2020, to July 13, 2023

Since becoming a permanent resident, the applicant has been outside Canada for 458 days. As they have been a permanent resident for less than 5 years, the applicant still has time to meet the residency obligation over the next year and half. However, an officer will make an assessment if the applicant is likely to meet their residency obligation as a permanent resident based on the number of absences outside Canada.

From To Your location(s) (city, country/territory) Reasons for absence If “other” please add reason Days
2020/09/30 2022/01/02 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Other Vacation 458

Note: The day you departed and returned to Canada count towards your residency, as they were days you were in Canada, and therefore those days will be excluded from the days counted towards the time you spent outside of Canada.

Example 2: 5 years or more as a permanent resident

An applicant from Senegal was a temporary resident in Canada before becoming a permanent resident on June 2, 2018. The applicant lived in Montréal, Quebec, and did not leave Canada except to vacation. On July 13, 2023, the applicant applied to renew their permanent resident card.

Calculating physical presence:

Period to be assessed would be: from July 13, 2018, to July 13, 2023

Since the applicant has been a permanent resident for 5 years or more, their period to be assessed would be 5 years back from the date of their application. The applicant has been outside Canada for only 31 days. Therefore, in a 5-year period, the applicant was able to maintain physical presence in Canada for 730 days.

From To Your location(s) (city, country/territory) Reasons for absence If “other” please add reason Days of absence
2021/06/05 2021/06/28 Lisbon & Porto, Portugal Other Vacation 22
2020/02/02 2020/02/14 Paris, France Other Vacation 11

Note: The day you departed and returned to Canada count towards your residency, as they were days you were in Canada, and therefore those days will be excluded from the days counted towards the time you spent outside of Canada.

Example 3: Accompanying a Canadian Citizen

An applicant has been a permanent resident since November 12, 2000. The applicant has been living in India with their spouse since January 1, 2002. The applicant’s spouse is a Canadian citizen working abroad and they applied for a permanent resident travel document to return to Canada on July 13, 2023, as their permanent resident card had expired.

Period to be assessed would be: from July 13, 2018, to July 13, 2023.

Since the applicant has been a permanent resident for 5 years or more, the period to be assessed would begin 5 years back from the date of the application. The applicant has been absent from Canada during the entire duration of the period to be assessed, which is 5 years. However, since the applicant has been accompanying their Canadian citizen spouse, this time away from Canada would count towards physical presence in Canada. As a result, the applicant would have maintained their residency obligation.

From To Your location(s) (city, country/territory) Reasons for absence If “other” please add reason Days
2018/13/07 2023/07/13 Mumbai, India B 1826

Note: The day you departed and returned to Canada count towards your residency, as they were days you were in Canada, and therefore those days will be excluded from the days counted towards the time you spent outside of Canada.

Assessing humanitarian and compassionate concerns

Designated officers with the authority to assess humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) considerations are obliged to consider all the information they have when reviewing an application. They cannot rely solely on guidelines to make a decision, given that H&C considerations must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

At any point in the process prior to the determination, applicants are free to submit any aspect of their personal circumstances that could help justify maintaining their permanent resident status, despite not having met their residency obligation. Although space is reserved for H&C considerations in the application form, there is no specific format in which the submission should be made. H&C considerations can also be initiated by the officer on behalf of the applicant. Whatever is apparent on the file must be considered by the designated officers with the authority to assess H&C considerations before a determination is made.

Given the significance of the loss of permanent resident status, designated officers with the authority to assess H&C considerations should give a fair chance to the applicant and inform them of any possible opportunity for H&C considerations.

Factors to consider for humanitarian and compassionate grounds

Designated officers with the authority to assess H&C considerations should consider a combination of factors when assessing whether it can justify the retention of status. Designated officers with the authority to assess H&C considerations should remember that they are not assessing intent. Rather, they are assessing the circumstances and events that occurred in the 5­year period that led to the breach of residency requirements.

The designated officer with the authority to assess H&C considerations should also take into account the best interests of a child directly affected by the determination, and the degree of hardship that may be caused by a determination to an individual or family that has lost permanent resident status.

The extent and circumstances of the non-compliance

  • How long beyond 3 years in the last 5-year period was the person outside of Canada?
  • Was the person outside of Canada for more than 3 years in the last 5-year period because of a medical condition or the medical condition of a close family member?
  • Could alternative arrangements have been made? Was it the applicant’s choice to remain outside of Canada?

Circumstances beyond the person’s control

  • Are the circumstances that led to the person remaining outside of Canada compelling and/or beyond their control?
  • Was the person prevented from returning to Canada?
    • Why?
    • By whom or by what event?
  • Did the person leave Canada as a child accompanying a parent?
  • If they left as a child, are they now returning to Canada at the earliest possible opportunity?
  • Are they now over 22 years of age and returning at the earliest opportunity since becoming 22 years of age?
  • Does the person who is over 22 years of age meet the requirements to be considered a dependent child due to a mental or physical condition and are or were they accompanying their parent when they left Canada?