What is the residency obligation and how do I meet it?

Updated: Jan 5


If you are a permanent resident you have been given permanent resident status in Canada but you are not a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents are citizens of other countries.

If you are in Canada on a work permit, study permit or as a visitor you are here as a Temporary resident, and are not a permanent resident.

The permanent resident (PR) card

Your PR card can be used to show that you have permanent resident status in Canada. If you travel outside Canada, you will need to show your card and your passport when you come back on a commercial vehicle, like an airplane, boat, train or bus. PRs traveling outside Canada who do not have a valid PR card, or who are not carrying it, need to apply for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD) before returning to Canada by commercial vehicle.


Residency Obligation To keep your permanent resident status, you must have been in Canada for at least 730 days during the last five years. These 730 days don’t need to be continuous. Some of your time abroad may count towards the 730 days.


Time abroad that counts towards your permanent residency obligation:

1. You work outside Canada, full-time for a Canadian business or organization, or

the Canadian federal, provincial or territorial government.

2. You travel with a spouse or common-law partner who is a Canadian citizen, or

a permanent resident working outside Canada, full-time for a Canadian business, or

the Canadian federal, provincial or territorial government.

3. You’re a dependent child and travel with your parent who is a Canadian citizen, or

a permanent resident working outside Canada, full-time for a Canadian business or

the Canadian federal, provincial or territorial government.


Keeping track of your residency:

You may find it beneficial to use a travel log or residency log to keep track of your residency, particularly if you travel frequently. Remember, each day counts!

When you are recording your time make sure to include:

  • The date you left and the date you came back to Canada (even if it’s the same day)

  • Countries you visited

  • Why you left – give examples like vacation, work, family, etc.

  • Include any day trips (less than 24 hours), including to the United States

  • When the journal is full, keep it safe and print a new copy

For assistance calculating your residency obligation, to obtain a PR renewal or for more information please book an appointment.


About Us


Immigration Station Canada is a dedicated, professional Canadian Immigration firm practicing out of Northumberland County, just east of Toronto, in Canada. We serve clients from Kingston, Belleville, Brighton, Cobourg, Oshawa, the GTA, Guelph, Milton, Stratford and St. Catharines and around the world. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, Anne C. McCaughey (Annie) is an experienced immigration services provider and a fifth generation Canadian who values the immigration process and the unique individuals who immigrate to Canada to become part of the fabric of this wonderful country. If you would like to submit a question to Ask Annie, use the link located at the top right of the page.


How Can We Help?


We do work permits, study permits, visitor visas, Express Entry, spousal sponsorship, family class sponsorship, and Canadian citizenship with an expertise in Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications and Global Talent Stream applications.


Please contact us if you would like assistance with your immigration application or to book an appointment.



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