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PR renew outside Canada

Discussion in 'Permanent Residency Obligations' started by Gabriel Ferreyra, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. I have a question about this, because I think things have changed since last year.

    My PR Card is about to expire and I'm abroad. I haven't spent the 730 days required but I've been abroad accompanying my wife who's a Canadian Citizen. Last time I checked it was okay to be abroad with your spouse and I could renew my PR card provided I give evidence of still being with my wife. But now, I checked the obligations one more time before applying and it says that your spouse has to be either working for a Canadian Business or Canadian Government only. Is that something that changed since a couple of months or I'm mistaken? Can I apply even if she doesn't work for the government or Canadian business?
  2. The one rule that has not changed is that you cannot apply to renew a PR card from outside Canada, you would need a PRTD to travel back.
    YVR123 likes this.
  3. What may have changed is the level of scrutiny in exactly who is accompanying whom. Is your Canadian spouse the main reason for being outside Canada or is she actually accompanying you because you are the main reason for the absence? She doesn't have to be working for a Canadian company or the government. It's an error on the IRCC website I believe.
    dpenabill likes this.
  4. The credit for accompanying a Canadian citizen spouse abroad is still the law. There is no sign this has changed or is changing. No sign that the citizen must be employed abroad by either a Canadian business or Canadian government.

    Note, however, as a policy matter a Permanent Resident needs to be IN Canada to apply for a new PR card. This too has NOT changed.

    A PR does NOT need a PR card to keep PR status. That is, PR status is NOT dependent on obtaining or having a PR card.

    That said, a PR abroad needs a valid PR card OR a PR Travel Document to board a flight destined to Canada.

    In the recent past IRCC implemented a policy of issuing multiple-use PR Travel Documents to SOME PRs abroad, such as those who were complying with the PR Residency Obligation based on credit for time abroad they were accompanying a Canadian citizen spouse.

    Generally, policy appears to prefer that a PR living abroad utilize the PR Travel Document process to facilitate travel to Canada UNTIL the PR returns to live in Canada. As long as the PR complies with the PR Residency Obligation this should NOT be a problem (other than the logistics and time it takes, which can be significantly more inconvenient in some parts of the world). And as long as a PR is living together abroad with a Canadian citizen spouse, the PR is in compliance with the Residency Obligation.


    See http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=1466&top=10

    This is the FAQ answer to the question:
    "Can my time abroad count towards my permanent resident status?"

    Note that this response is couched in terms of time that "MAY" count . . . and is clearly NOT a definitive answer. It does not state time which will for sure count. It does not fully illuminate circumstances in which the time will count. It merely identifies (in rather general terms) times abroad that may count toward RO credit.

    In particular, the answer states: "It depends on what you do and who you travel with. Your time outside of Canada may count towards your PR status . . ." in certain listed circumstances.

    It appears the effort to provide a shorter and simpler answer led to a sentence construction conflating and blurring the criteria for accompanying a Canadian citizen and the criteria for accompanying a Canadian PR. The FAQ states:
    "If you travel with a spouse . . . Your spouse or partner needs to be a permanent resident or Canadian citizen working outside Canada, full-time for:
    -- a Canadian business or
    -- the Canadian or a provincial government

    The working for a Canadian business or government element is required if the spouse is a Canadian PR. That element is NOT required if the Canadian spouse is a citizen.

    NOTE . . . actually what the FAQ states is TRUE. It does describe time abroad that MAY count. It does not, however, fully describe all circumstances in which the time abroad may count. In particular, it understates time that may count . . . since time accompanying a Canadian citizen spouse abroad counts without regard to the citizen's employment.

    It tends to also be misleading in understating the precise requirements that must be met if a PR is abroad working full time for a Canadian business; qualifying for that credit is a lot more tricky than this FAQ even hints. Still, the FAQ is true. The time "MAY" count. But that falls well shy of what is required to get this credit.

    @zardoz also refers to a separate potential issue, related to a somewhat stricter approach in allowing PRs abroad credit toward compliance with the RO for time abroad "accompanying" a Citizen spouse which might distinguish who-accompanied-whom. There is a separate topic here devoted to this specific issue. Generally, as long as the PR was living in Canada with the Canadian citizen spouse prior to moving abroad, and they more or less moved abroad together (or the PR clearly followed the citizen), there should NOT be any concern about this issue. That is, generally as long as the couple is living together, the credit is allowed, UNLESS the circumstances and history clearly indicate the PR was not established in Canada, but rather was living abroad, and the citizen went abroad to be with the PR.
  5. I formally reported the confusing nature of the help article at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=1466&top=10 via the feedback link on at least two widely spaced occasions. IRCC have either :
    1) not received that feedback, or
    2) have not had time to update the information, or
    3) have deliberately left the information in it's confusing state, (possibly in order to discourage use of the exemption?).
  6. Or they pay little or no attention to such feedback.

    As I often say: "bureaucracies are what bureaucracies do."

    Whenever a bureaucracy couches information in a contingent form, when it says what "MAY" happen, RED FLAGS should shoot high into the sky, and much caution exercised. "MAY" signals the need to do some serious, critical homework.

    That said, yes, this particular FAQ answer is especially misleading. In multiple respects. And yes, it is disconcerting that there is little or no real response to the feedback. Even though "bureaucracies are what bureaucracies do," in many instances they can do better. And this is one.

    However, not holding my breath.

    Side-note: The accompanying Canadian citizen spouse credit is long-established, and so far, other than some wrinkles in more egregiously obvious cases in which a PR appears to be gaming the system, there is no overt indication of any significant changes in the wind. BUT this is an issue PRs abroad probably should NOT take for granted, and should MONITOR sources of information about PR obligations. I do not see changes coming, but neither would it be much of a surprise to see some changes, especially if the Conservatives get a majority government this fall.
  7. Thank you very much to you all for your answers.

    Now, I have family and an address in Canada where I've been sending all my documents back and forth. To apply for the renewal of my PR card, do I need to be present in Canada? I ask this because I can have someone in my family send all the application papers without me having to travel just to do that. If CIC requests I pick it up in person, then I'd have to go.

    I guess my question is, why do I need to be IN Canada to mail documents?

    I would appreciate any thoughts on this.
  8. Because IRCC say so...

    To be eligible for a PR card, you need to:
    If you are outside Canada, apply for a permanent resident travel document to return to Canada. After you arrive, apply for a PR card.
  9. You're absolutely right, it's one of the eligibility requirements. I guess what I interpreted at first was that "submit your application in Canada" part meant you couldn't do it in any foreign Embassy or Consulate, but that you also didn't need to be physically present in the country. I was hoping to send all my documents to my family in Canada and have them send the papers to IRCC, first to save time, and second so I could use that renewed PR card to travel to Canada.
  10. No you are supposed to drop off your application in Canada and go back and pick it up. Why do you want the PR card? Canada has been giving out multiple entry PRTDs for cases like yours. I assume you have no plans to return to Canada in the immediate future except for short visits to see family.

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