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International Travel as a Permanent Resident

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International Travel as a Permanent Resident

Jade Calver

A Permanent Resident of Canada is permitted to stay in Canada and hold their status as a resident without becoming a Canadian citizen.

Travelling and Living Outside of Canada

In order to maintain permanent residency status, you must meet certain requirements. One of these requirements is the amount of time you spend in Canada. As a Permanent Resident, you can live and travel outside of Canada, but you must spend at least 2 years out of every 5-year period in Canada. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule.

  • You may count time spent outside of Canada toward this two year requirement if you are travelling with your spouse or partner is a Canadian citizen.

  • You may count time spent outside of Canada if you are a dependent child travelling with their parent who is a Canadian citizen.

  • You may count time spent outside of Canada if you are an employee of (or under contract to) a Canadian business.

Some other exceptions to this rule include those who:

  • Travel with their spouse or partner who is a permanent resident and works full-time for:

    • a Canadian business, or

    • the public service of Canada or a province,

  • Are an employee of (or under contract to) the public service of Canada or a province and you are on a full-time assignment to:

    • a position outside Canada,

    • a partner business outside Canada, or

    • a client of the Canadian business or the public service outside Canada.

  • Are a child travelling with his or her father or mother who is a permanent resident and who works full-time for:

    • a Canadian business, or

    • the public service of Canada or a province.

Keeping Track of Your Time Spent Outside of Canada

If you have your Permanent Resident status and you choose to travel or live outside of Canada, you must keep track of this time. In other words, the onus is on the individual to ensure that they are meeting fulfilling the requirements of the Permanent Resident status.

We highly recommend using a travel journal to keep track of the time you spend outside of Canada. It is much easier to track your travels as they happen rather than recall trips you took four or five years later. You can download the travel journal PDF and keep it inside your passport to ensure you accurately track when you leave and return to Canada.  

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Another helpful tool you can use to calculate how much time you have spent outside of Canada is the physical presence calculator. If you are currently a Permanent Resident of Canada and you want to apply for Canadian citizenship, you can use this tool to determine your eligibility.