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Are you a Permanent Resident (PR) and unsure of your travel rights? You will be surprised at the number of permanent residents whom are confused about their travel rights and what could potentially happen to their status in Canada if they do not meet the residency requirements.
A Permanent Resident is a person who has been given permanent status in Canada but has not obtained Canadian citizenship yet. If you came as a visitor, student or as foreign worker than you are not consider a permanent resident but rather a temporary resident. Also, if you are person that has put a refugee claim in Canada you are not considered a permanent resident until Immigration and Refugee Board approves your claim. Once your claim is approved you can apply for permanent residency. As a permanent resident you can travel in and out of Canada as long you meet and comply to the conditions that are set and you have more rights than someone that comes for temporary basis to Canada.
As PR card holder you can travel in and out of Canada as long as you meet your residency obligations. To meet the residency obligations as the PR card holder you must be physically residing in Canada for minimum of two years (730 days) in every five year period. If you are frequent traveller or have been outside of Canada quite often for long periods of time then as the PR card holder you must prove to the immigration officer why you have been absent and that your intent was to come back to Canada.
You can count the days you spent outside of Canada as if you were in Canada, if your Canadian or permanent spouse or parent was with you during your trip. Also, days can be counted if you were employed by Canadian business or if you have good Humanitarian and Compassionate reasons to be absent from Canada.
When travelling to Canada as a permanent resident, it is highly recommended to always have your PR card on hand or a travel document when re-entering Canada. Having all your documents ready prior to leaving Canada is very important to avoid being denied entry at the Canadian border. PR cards are wallet size card so ensure you carry your official proof with you as you need to show when coming back to Canada. So when you are travelling by air, boat, train or bus you need to have your PR ready as it needs to be shown at the port of entry. If you are coming to Canada with your own car you do not need a PR card, you can simply use your Record of Landing or Confirmation of Permanent Residence to enter.
In certain situation the immigration officer may require you to show a passport to be allowed entry into Canada. If you are outside of Canada and you do not have your PR card on you then you have to contact the nearest Canadian visa officer to find out what temporary travel documents you need to enter Canada.
One cannot lose their permanent resident status overnight unless you have gone through the official process or have given up your PR status. So you if you have been outside of Canada for long periods of time you may still be eligible to come to Canada as long as you have good reasons for your absence. The only way you can lose your PR status is when adjudicator determines that you are no longer a permanent resident when you do not meet your residency obligations or if you got convicted of a serious crime and told to leave Canada or you become a Canadian citizen. You do not lose your PR status if your PR card expires; you simply renew it and apply for a new one as long as you meet the residency obligations.
If you travel outside Canada frequently, or were absent from Canada for a long period of time, this causes red flags to go up in an officer’s perspective because now when you return you must prove to an Immigration Officer that your absence was temporary and that you did not intend to give up your residency in Canada. So, just for convenience sake, try not to travel abroad for a long period of time in the time period of obtaining your PR card. Of course if there is a situation in which you absolutely have to leave Canada because of an urgent matter, you are welcome to do so as long as you can prove/provide extensive evidence that it was indeed an urgent matter and not just “for fun”.
Are you a Permanent Resident and have been absent from Canada for some time? Not sure if you can renew your PR card? Contact Akrami & Associates let us assess your situation and determine your eligibility to come back home. Our team of skilled experts will do everything in their power to achieve the best possible outcome to your situation. Permanent residence is a lengthy and confusing process when you don’t know what you are doing. Let one of our legal and experienced representatives make it easier on your part by telling you specifically what documents we require and all you have to do is just provide them. No matter how big or how small your case and/or situation may be, nothing is impossible.
With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!