How to Restore Your Status in Canada: Reinstating Permanent Residency
Despite the rather lenient requirements that Canadian permanent residents have to abide by in order to maintain their status, there are certain situations when sticking to these rules turns out to be impossible.
There are instances when a resident is kept abroad for an abnormal amount of time due to a business necessity or a family emergency. In other cases, successful immigrants decide to go back to their home country before making up their minds and deciding to return to Canada once again.
Do you lose your PR status for failing to comply with residency requirements for permanent residents?
An immigrant receives their permanent resident status – or “PR status” – when they cross the Canadian border with an immigration visa. After going through the necessary immigration procedures at a Port of Entry, which is the first airport or land crossing they stop at in Canada, the immigrant is granted full permanent residence rights.
A short while after, the immigrant gets sent their PR card by mail. This card serves as proof of their status and needs to be reissued every five years. The PR card doubles as a so-called “entry pass” – without their card, a Canadian resident cannot legally re-enter the country.
A resident has to adhere to certain guidelines in order to maintain their PR status. One of the most important rules is to physically reside in Canada for no less than 730 days (two full years) out of every five years.
Some circumstances allow residents to retain their status even when living out of the country for longer periods of time; this will be discussed in depth in a separate article.
An individual's residency status has nothing to do with their PR card’s expiration date. Similar to a passport, a PR card is nothing more than an official means of identification. Having an expired PR card does not mean that an individual’s PR status is lost.
The only way a resident can lose their permanent residency is if the Canadian immigration authorities initiate and go through with the process of expropriating that status.
If the resident fails to meet the single aforementioned requirement (i.e., living in Canada for no less than two years out of every five) their PR status will continue to be in effect as long as they never return. Once they try to re-enter Canada, however, the immigration authorities at the border will run a check and, upon finding that the resident failed to meet requirements, will initiate the revocation of their permanent resident status.
Yes. Having an expired card does not prevent a permanent resident from entering Canada. The process can go either of two ways:
Since PR status cannot be lost, it also cannot, technically, be restored.
“Restoration of status” typically referred to entering the country after failing to comply with the requirement regarding the minimum amount of time a resident needs to spend in Canada.
Cases like this are particularly tricky: most of the success – if not all of it – depends on the actions of the immigration officer handling your case. The officer is legally allowed to do one of two things: they can either allow the resident to freely enter the country or choose to initiate the revocation process. The immigration officer will take several factors into account when making their decision:
What this shows is that the only way to “restore status” (that is, to enter Canada with an expired PR card or after failing to fulfill the two-year requirement) is to convince the immigration officer to let you into Canada without any legal consequences. This can be done by providing documents to support your case and referring to applicable legislation.
Although possible to achieve on your own, defending your case is widely more successful when done professionally. Our team of immigration specialists will be glad to provide you with the necessary help with crossing the Canadian border.
Some actions that seem like the best thing to do in a situation like this may actually lead to a permanent revocation of your PR status. Have any questions or concerns regarding your permanent residency? Contact us to receive quality legal support with your case. Our immigration pros have history of tackling PR restoration cases where the status had been “expired” for several years.