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A permanent resident card is subject to maintenance.  Like an automobile, the amount of maintenance depends on how the card is being used.  For example, if you obtained permanent residency in Canada and then never left Canada for five years, there is relatively little effort involved in maintaining permanent residency.  In fact, remaining in Canada on a permanent resident card for such a duration may allow one to apply for Canadian citizenship after suitable evidence has been acquired.  Acquiring Canadian citizenship would be the successor status to that of permanent resident card holder.

By contrast, if your permanent resident card has been used to travel outside of Canada extensively, then the ability to renew it may require additional maintenance.  Such maintenance would include documenting your entries and exits in Canada.  The source of such documentation may be your passport.  Similarly, in the near future the Canadian government will be collecting data on persons departing Canada.  This latter ability of the Canadian government may ensure that persons who mis-state their exits from Canada may not be trusted  As a consequence, their permanent resident card may be revoked, should an officer determine that one of the main requirements (i.e. to acquire two years of physical presence in the previous five years), has not been met.    In such a case an appeal may be available.  The Canadian government may nevertheless   revoke permanent resident status even if the misrepresentation is inadvertent and/or unintentional.

The reason for travelling outside of Canada may be helpful in terms of renewing your permanent resident card. For example,  if you are employed by a Canadian based business full time and on a short term basis, that time may be counted towards the time needed to be present in Canada.  This rule does not transfer to the law regarding Canadian citizenship which requires strict physical presence in Canada for the requisite time dictated under the Citizenship Act.  Because the full time employee of a Canadian business  exception allows one to be outside of Canada longer than the three years out of five and still maintain permanent resident status, said exception is subject to a great deal of skepticism by officers.

Who you accompany outside of Canada may be helpful. If you are married to a Canadian citizen spouse or de facto spouse, and if you are accompanying them outside of Canada, then your required time that must be accumulated in Canada in order to maintain permanent resident status may be counted towards meeting the residency obligation requirements of two years out of five.  The caution when relying on accompanying a Canadian spouse abroad may lie proving that you have been accompanying the Canadian spouse.  Such proof may include evidence of what the Canadian spouse is doing outside of Canada, and your activities while outside of Canada accompanying the Canadian spouse. The actual time one must be with their spouse is the subject of some debate, where some have stated that you need not accompany your spouse by living with the spouse at the same residence.

If you are considering renewing your permanent resident card, it would be preferable to get some advice before filing.  Such advice may relate to the chances of success, and also, the documents that may make or break your permanent resident status.

If you’re looking for a Toronto immigration lawyer, look no further than Max Chaudhary of Chaudhary Law Office.

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