March 8, 2016

As a Permanent Resident, May I stay outside Canada longer than 6 months?

Filipinos leaving the Philippines with Immigrant Visa are required to attend Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) conducted by Commission of Filipinos Overseas.  Even if you have the the Immigrant Visa, you can't leave the country if you do not have proof that you have attended the PDOS.  This is a mandatory requirement by the government to make money to make sure that Filipinos are aware of their rights, responsibilities and the do's and dont's while abroad.

Now there are clients who after attending the PDOS are asking us if it's true that as Permanent Resident in Canada, they can't live outside Canada longer than 6 months.  This is contrary to what we are telling our clients.  

As a Permanent Resident, is it ok to stay outside Canada longer than 6 months?
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First, you need to understand what your permanent resident status means.

A permanent resident is someone who has been given permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada, but is not a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents are citizens of other countries. 

A person in Canada temporarily, like a student or foreign worker, is not a permanent resident.
When you are a permanent resident, you can live outside of Canada, but must live in Canada for at least two years in a five-year period. If you live outside of Canada for longer, you may lose your permanent resident status. 

How do you lose your Permanent Resident Status?
Losing your permanent resident status does not happen automatically. You cannot lose your permanent resident status simply by living outside of Canada long enough that you don’t meet the residency requirement. Unless you have gone through an official process, you have not lost or given up your permanent resident status, even though you may not be eligible to return to Canada as a permanent resident.
You may lose your permanent resident status if:
  • an adjudicator determines that you are no longer a permanent resident following an inquiry; or 
  • a visa officer determines you do not meet the required residency when you apply for a permanent resident travel document or temporary resident travel document.
You may lose your permanent resident status in one of the ways described above if:
  • you do not live in Canada for two out of five years;
  • you are convicted of a serious crime and told to leave Canada; or
  • you become a Canadian citizen.
Yes, you may stay in Canada longer than 6 months.  Ask for their reference and tell them that what they are saying is contract to what is being stated at

By the way, if you are planning to attend PDOS, you can now reserve and register online.