As a permanent resident, if I am out of country for more than 5 years in Canada, is my residency dead?
This question and the answers below manage to disprove the properly held belief that the Canadian Immigration Website is the single sole source of complete accurate information on all issues relating to Canadian immigration and citizenship. This plays into the government pushed storyline that proper expert advice is not necessary and therefore a waste of time and money.Let me demonstrate how someone could easily be mislead by the Canadian government website into believing that they have lost their permanent residence status, because they are physically absent from Canada for extensive periods of time.A new permanent resident of Canada is issued a Permanent Resident Card soon after they assume Permanent Residence Status in Canada,A PR Card is the document that one uses to prove to Canadian port of entry officials when you are entering Canada using a commercial conveyance, that you possess the status of Permanent Resident of Canada. An equivalence can be drawn to Canadian Citizens proving their Canadian Citizenship to these same port of entry officials when entering Canada using a commercial conveyances by presenting a valid Canadian passport,PR Cards are issued for 5 year periods. In order to renew your PR card, one needs to indicate on the application that they have been physically present in Canada at least 2 out of the last 5 years before applying (Note: Let’s leave aside for a moment the tremendous amount of fraud on this point, as Canada does not have the means to enforce physical presence).If you are outside of Canada when your PR card expires, the government website then implies you have lost your PR status and then maps out a complicated process to prove why they should issue you a Permanent Resident Travel Document to seek re-entry,If your PR card expires that does NOT mean that you cease to be a PR of Canada. It means that you do not have a unexpired PR card to prove that status to Canadian port of entry officials when you are entering Canada using a commercial conveyance. An equivalence would be that the expiry of a Canadian passport does not mean that the person ceases to be a US citizen.However, If you dig deep enough into the government website, you will find this admission here:“You are still a permanent resident if your card expires.”and here: “If you live outside of Canada for longer, you may lose your permanent resident status.”Since you are still a PR of Canada, there is nothing that prevents you from attempting to enter Canada on a private conveyance (such as a car or boat from the US). You will either be allowed into Canada where you can spend the required time to be eligible to apply for a new PR Card which will allow future entry by commercial conveyance OR you will be identified at the port of entry as someone who MAY be found to have abandoned your permanent residence.In order for you to actually lose your PR status the following must occur:-You must be found by an Immigration Official to have been absent for extensive periods of time, and-The official must file an appropriate report, and-An adjudication must be heard that examines fully your situation pursuant to basic Canadian administrative law procedures,-A decision of abandonment must be made and all appeals exhaustedIf all of that happens then the “may lose” turns into a “have lost”. Since this is obviously resource intensive for the Canadian government with an uncertain outcome of lost pr status, a significant effort is made to “convince” the pr to “abandon” their pr status.Like the mistaken assumption that one loses their pr status if their pr card expires, having someone abandon their status rather than go through extensive effort to legally remove that status is in the government (but not the pr’s) best interest.In short, the government by implying, burying required procedures , and lack of clarity on this issue fills a government objective. Specifically to have long-time absent Permanent Residents either think they have lost their pr status or “convince” them to actually voluntarily relinquish their pr status. This is NOT in the interests of Permanent Residents who have spent considerable sums of money in government fees and other costs to acquire that permanent resident status.The belief that professional advisors are not required as the Canadian government website always gives you all the necessary legal guidance that you could possibly need is demonstrable incorrect. Such a belief is the equivalent to believing that the Canadian Tax Authority Website will show you ever possible legal tax avoidance option available to you.Yes these websites are free. However, as I just demonstrated, the advice they sometimes give is worth exactly what you paid for it….nothing.