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Permanent Residence: How Long Do I Have to Live in Canada?

For many immigrants, being granted permanent residence is a first step toward becoming a Canadian citizen.

Permanent residence status comes with numerous privileges, including the right to live anywhere in the country, the right to receive health care benefits, and full protection under the law. Whether you plan to become a citizen, or you just want to safeguard your permanent residence status, it’s important to understand the physical presence requirements for immigrants.

Physical Presence Rules for Permanent Residence

Once you become a permanent resident of Canada, you are allowed to stay in Canada indefinitely, although you must renew your Permanent Resident Card (PRC) every five years.

As a permanent resident of Canada, you can also travel outside Canada and even live in other countries, but you may jeopardize your ability to return to Canada if you remain outside Canada for too long. The law requires permanent residents to live in Canada for at least two out of every five years. This means you must physically live in Canada for at least 730 days within a five-year period although there are certain exceptions to this rule.

Applying for Canadian Citizenship

If you are a permanent resident who wishes to become a Canadian citizen, you must meet certain residence requirements. At the time you file your citizenship application, you must have lived in Canada for at least four years, or 1,460 days, within the six years prior to filing your application.

As one might expect, calculating physical presence can be quite complicated, especially for people who frequently travel and work outside of Canada. There are numerous exceptions and caveats to the physical presence requirement, which is why it may be important to work with an experienced immigration lawyer before filing an application for citizenship. At Butkowsky Immigration Law, we are well-versed in all areas of immigration law. We can help you avoid costly mistakes and frustrating delays.

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