Canada Permanent Residency is validated through an instrument called Permanent Resident Visa. However, many immigrants are confused between the two. You residency status and your PR card are two different things. In other words, PR card is not same as their PR status.
Consequently, if you do not renew your Permanent Resident card after its expiry of 5 years, it will not affect your permanent resident status in the country. If you were permanent resident on the day before your Permanent Resident card expires, you will still be a permanent resident of the country. Your Permanent Resident card is provisional and has few obligations attached to it which must be met to accomplish your permanent residency status. If not, your status will be no longer be called valid.
Understanding the difference
A Canadian resident card is a physical card as a proof of Canadian citizenship. Similarly, a Permanent Resident card is a proof of Canadian Permanent Residency. To continue this example, if a Canadian citizen loses its passport, it doesn’t imply that they will lose their citizenship status as well. Right? It just means that to go outside the country where passport is mandatory will not be feasible until the lost passport is replaced by a fresh passport. In a similar way, if you lose or fail to renew your Permanent Resident card, your status as a permanent resident of Canada is will remain unaffected. However, you cannot travel/ go outside Canada after expiry as then you cannot eneter Canada as a PR of the country. Thus, you need to apply for a new PR card as a proof of your Canada Permanent Residency status before leaving Canada.
What are The Canadian Permanent Residency Obligations?
- You must have spent at least 3 consecutive years out of 5 years in Canada, on a status of permanent resident with visa card of 5 years or more.
- Or, you must give guarantee to the Canadian government that you will meet all the requirements including staying inside Canada for a period of at least 730 days (2 years) out of 5 years counting from the date you become permanent resident.
What are The Expectations to The Permanent Residency Requirements?
There are certain special cases when the total days you are required to spend inside Canada can continue to count towards your residency requirements even if you fail to be present inside the country for minimum 2 years. These cases are:
- In case you have an accompanying Canadian citizen who shares with you a legal relationship of your spouse, common-law partner or parent. If you are under 19 years of age, you will be asked to furnish supporting documents to show that they are Canadian citizen and also support the existence of relationship they share with you.
- In case you have a Job in Canada or you are under agreement/ bond of a Canadian firm or employed for the Public Service of the federal government, or a province or territory of Canada. This Job has to be a full-time permanent job employment. To support relevant proofs of your employment, you must provide official documentation (on company’s letterhead) to claim your position in the firm.
Canada’s Immigration authority IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) will provide for you persuasive humanitarian on compassionate grounds in case you fail to meet the residency requirements lay down by them.
If after getting your PR visa and settling in the country you extensively come and go from Canada and spend decent amount of time outside Canada, you may be at the risk of not fulfilling your residency requirements. Fulfilling your residency requirements also makes you eligible to apply for Canadian Citizenship!
If I Stay in Canada and My Permanent Resident Card Expires, Will I Lose My PR Status?
No, you will not lose your PR status even if your physical PR card expires. But you cannot go outside Canada without renewing your PR visa. Canada granted you permanent residency status which is a conditional status and renewable after every 5 years and you must take utmost care to do so in time. A PR card is like your identity in the country and if something illegal or punishable act is performed around/by you and you fail to show your identity (PR card) in the country, then this could lead you to serious trouble.
How is Permanent Resident Status Taken Away?
Your PR status can be taken under these circumstances:
- When you fail to meet your residency requirements of being physically available in Canada for at least 2 out of 5 years on a PR visa
- You have done something unlawful which is considered a serious crime in Canadian law book
- You become a Canadian citizen after testifying in a Citizenship test
To conclude, we can make out these points:
- Expiry of your PR visa/card does not end your Permanent Residency in Canada
- It is advisable to get your PR card renewed to avoid any negative outcome
- You must meet minimum eligibility of spending 2 out of 5 years to become eligible to apply for Citizenship of the country