Area of Law: Immigration Law
Answer # 661
Permanent residents and their travel rightsRegion: Ontario Answer # 661
A permanent resident is someone who has been granted the right to live permanently in Canada, but who has not yet been granted Canadian citizenship. Permanent residents have more rights than visitors or refugees but not all of the rights of Canadian citizens. Permanent residents can enter legally and live in Canada so long as they comply with certain conditions.
As a permanent resident, you have the right to travel outside of, and re-enter Canada. To meet the residency obligations, you must be physically present in Canada for a minimum of two years (730 days) in every five-year period. However, if you travel outside Canada frequently, or were absent from Canada for a long period, 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.
You may also count the days you spent outside Canada as if you were in Canada, if:
- you were accompanying a Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent,
- you were employed by a Canadian business, or
- you had humanitarian and compassionate reasons to stay abroad.
Travel documents required
Permanent residents require a permanent resident card (PR card) or other official travel document to re-enter Canada. Having a PR Card is the easiest way for a permanent resident to re-enter Canada, and it is advisable to obtain one before travelling. It is a wallet-sized plastic card which is official proof that someone is a permanent resident of Canada. A PR card must be shown when you re-enter Canada on a commercial vehicle, such as an airplane, boat, train or bus. If you return to Canada in a private vehicle, such as your own car, you do not need a PR card, you can use your Record of Landing or Confirmation of Permanent Residence.
In some cases, you may also need a passport to re-enter Canada. If you are outside Canada and do not have a PR card, you may contact the nearest Canadian visa office, or the Canadian Border Services Agency to find out what temporary travel documents you will require to re-enter.
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