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PR residency obligations

rgcan2021

Newbie
Jun 24, 2022
6
1
Hi Everyone

Me and my family landed in May 2018 and applied the PR card. We left Canada after few weeks and returned to settle permanently in Feb 2021. At that time our plan was to maintain residency obligations. However, earlier this year my sister is diagnosed with Leukemia in India and i have been traveling to India regularly since last 4-5 months. Now i need to go again to be the bone marrow donor for her transplant procedure. However, i calculated my total time in Canada and it would be less than two years if i go for 3-4 weeks this time (for the period between May 2018 to May 2023). My current PR card is valid till Sept 2023. I am wondering what are my options considering i cannot avoid this trip.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance guys!
 
 

rgcan2021

Newbie
Jun 24, 2022
6
1
Hey Guys,

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Is there a way to inform IRCC that i'll be in breach of RO requirements? or is it really not a concern since my PR card is valid till Sept 2023?
 

Sigma.06

Member
Mar 8, 2022
13
1
Sorry to know about your family member health. Hope she recovers soon. IRCC looks back 5 years while determining if you have met residency obligation. If you are short of meeting 730 days before September 2023, plan your travel and enter Canada before your PR card expires. Also it is advisable to keep the medical records handy to justify your absence if at all there is a query from CBSA or IRCC. And also IRCC will determine your eligibility of meeting RO only if you make any application to them, example PR card renewal. Don't try to renew your PR card unless you have 730 days + (looking back 5 years) on the date you submit your PR card renewal application. All the best.
 
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rgcan2021

Newbie
Jun 24, 2022
6
1
Sorry to know about your family member health. Hope she recovers soon. IRCC looks back 5 years while determining if you have met residency obligation. If you are short of meeting 730 days before September 2023, plan your travel and enter Canada before your PR card expires. Also it is advisable to keep the medical records handy to justify your absence if at all there is a query from CBSA or IRCC. And also IRCC will determine your eligibility of meeting RO only if you make any application to them, example PR card renewal. Don't try to renew your PR card unless you have 730 days + (looking back 5 years) on the date you submit your PR card renewal application. All the best.
Thanks Sigma.06. Does this mean i don't need to worry about CBSA at arrival airport if i travel now and come back around say August 2022 (since my PR card is valid until 2023)?
 

Sigma.06

Member
Mar 8, 2022
13
1
If you are coming back with one more year left before your PR card expiry then generally there should not be any problem while admitting you in. However, as advised, keep all the medical records etc. handy to deal with any eventuality even if there is a low probability.
 
 

armoured

VIP Member
Feb 1, 2015
10,962
5,564
Me and my family landed in May 2018 and applied the PR card.
... and it would be less than two years if i go for 3-4 weeks this time (for the period between May 2018 to May 2023).

My current PR card is valid till Sept 2023. I am wondering what are my options considering i cannot avoid this trip.
You will have to do specific calcs yourself. As noted, the relevant dates for now are May 2018-May 2023. If you have been outside Canada more than 1095 days so far, you are out of compliance.

After May 2023, it is always looking back five years (same > 1095 days out of Canada means out of compliance).

The PR card is not your status - it gives one thing of importance, the ability to board a flight to Canada without further questions until Sept 2023.

But: on arrival in Canada, they can report you for being out of compliance. They might not - hopefully less likely because of your H&C reasons (sickness of a family member). Optimistically perhaps you might not have any problem this year or even until expiry of your PR card.

So I'm going to draw attention to one key point: your ability to travel back and forth or out of the country at all might/will become seriously compromised beginning in Sept 2023 (or if you should lose your PR card). Pay attention to that and what it might mean if you think you will need to do so frequently. There may be mitigating circumstances such as ability to travel through USA, but it also might prove extremely difficult.
 

dpenabill

VIP Member
Apr 2, 2010
5,506
2,473
Hi Everyone

Me and my family landed in May 2018 and applied the PR card. We left Canada after few weeks and returned to settle permanently in Feb 2021. At that time our plan was to maintain residency obligations. However, earlier this year my sister is diagnosed with Leukemia in India and i have been traveling to India regularly since last 4-5 months. Now i need to go again to be the bone marrow donor for her transplant procedure. However, i calculated my total time in Canada and it would be less than two years if i go for 3-4 weeks this time (for the period between May 2018 to May 2023). My current PR card is valid till Sept 2023. I am wondering what are my options considering i cannot avoid this trip.
I basically concur with the observations by @armoured.

Otherwise, my version:

Anticipating Going Abroad and Failing to Comply With the Residency Obligation:

There is no in-advance solution or guarantee. There is no way to obtain permission to not comply with the PR Residency Obligation; there is no way to get pre-approval of H&C reasons for failing to comply.

Thus, if you arrive at a Port-of-Entry and as of that day you are in breach of the RO, you are in breach of the RO. At that time, there at the PoE, you would have some risk of being examined, and if examined and border officials determine you are in breach, you would be subject to an inadmissibility Report which can potentially (depending on the influence of of H&C considerations) result in being issued a Removal Order. You would, then, be able to appeal, and thus have an opportunity to again make the H&C case before the IAD.

But your odds of being OK are good or very good. With some caveats.

As long as your PR card is valid, your current home is IN Canada, your primary ties are IN Canada, and you are only a little short (a month or two or less) of being in compliance with the PR Residency Obligation, the odds are good there will be NO serious questioning (that you would just be waived through), and even if referred to Secondary, the odds should be very good there will not be a problem, that you will not be "Reported." And even if the questioning in Secondary leads to a more thorough, extensive examination as to RO compliance, an explanation of the circumstances (helps, as @Sigma.06 noted, to have some medical records to support this) should mean the odds of H&C relief are probably still very good.

The length of the absence itself can be a factor in whether you are even asked questions about RO compliance upon your return. Should be obvious, the longer the most recent absence, the bigger the risk border officials will inquire about RO compliance.

That said, no one here can give you an answer that completely assures you it will go OK. No more than anyone here can guarantee that you will not encounter problems while abroad that delay your return to Canada, or by how long. The risks vary depending on individual circumstances, including variable contingencies (like not just how long you intend to be abroad but how long you are actually abroad).

But in the circumstances you describe, without some complicating elements, odds should be quite good you will be OK going abroad for a few weeks and then only being three or four weeks short of RO compliance. And if it came down to it, even if Reported and issued a Removal Order, you would be allowed into Canada and as long as you and your family are settled in Canada the odds should be good you will get a favourable outcome on an appeal.

That is . . . No guarantee, but good odds . . . so what you do is of course your decision to make.

REMINDER: Only days IN Canada during the relevant FIVE years count toward meeting the Residency Obligation. So those days you were here following landing in May 2018 will begin to fall out of the calculation next May (as they are no longer in the relevant five years). So, once you are abroad long enough to be in breach of the RO during the first five years, you will need to wait until you have been IN Canada 730 days within the preceding five years before you will no longer be in breach (which as @armoured noted, would affect the availability of future travel and as @Sigma.06 noted, when you should apply for a new PR card).
 

rgcan2021

Newbie
Jun 24, 2022
6
1
Thank you @dpenabill @armoured and @Sigma.06 for your valuable comments and i have much better understanding of the issue.

Couple more things though, At the port of entry do they check every person's RO eligibility or is it done based on random selection or in case any doubt is raised while asking basic questions such as how long you were out, purpose of visit etc?

Also, my wife and my older child will not be in breach of RO since they have not left Canada since we moved here in Feb 2021. Also, my second child is Canadian citizen. Does they traveling with me increase my odds of being waived through?
 
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armoured

VIP Member
Feb 1, 2015
10,962
5,564
Couple more things though, At the port of entry do they check every person's RO eligibility or is it done based on random selection or in case any doubt is raised while asking basic questions such as how long you were out, purpose of visit etc?

Also, my wife and my older child will not be in breach of RO since they have not left Canada since we moved here in Feb 2021. Also, my second child is Canadian citizen. Does they traveling with me increase my odds of being waived through?
I think on both your questions it would be not much more than speculation.

They probably do check your files and particularly if there is a 'flag' or warning from other officers from previous entries. If not, they do not seem to always inquire in detail.

I don't know whether they have a running total of compliance, ie. a simple number that tells them in or out of compliance, but my guess is not. If my guess is correct, then they mainly go by whether a file is obviously out of compliance (one or many long absences).

But at any rate, I think that's misguided: just tell the truth to questions. The strengths of your case are basically now being settled in Canada, your reasons now for absence are H&C (caring for sister), and your more recent absences not being that long. Be prepared to show some basic info about the medical case.

So overall: probably they wont' show much interest in your case and wave you through. If they do, your case is not bad and might be waved through anyway.

Frankly 'reporting' you for non-compliance takes work and they don't like to do it if the chances on appeal are not bad - it's a waste of time and not good use of resources.

And even if reported, you'd still have a decent chance on appeal.

Travelling with spouse and children? Don't know. Probably somewhat better than being able to refer to them as settled in Canada too. Won't hurt.

But note: none of these are guarantees, I could be completely wrong. Just a bit of speculation.

Any way you cut it, your best approach is just to be relaxed, answer questions truthfully and calmly (briefly - don't go into unnecessary detail).

Good luck.
 
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dpenabill

VIP Member
Apr 2, 2010
5,506
2,473
Couple more things though, At the port of entry do they check every person's RO eligibility or is it done based on random selection or in case any doubt is raised while asking basic questions such as how long you were out, purpose of visit etc?

Also, my wife and my older child will not be in breach of RO since they have not left Canada since we moved here in Feb 2021. Also, my second child is Canadian citizen. Does they traveling with me increase my odds of being waived through?
While I largely agree with @armoured's observations, it is safe to say that the vast majority of times a PR arrives at a PoE returning to Canada there is NO particular screening of the PR's compliance with the Residency Obligation.

I traveled frequently, and just as other PRs I have known personally have said, and this is consistent with forum and other sources of anecdotal reporting, there were never any questions even remotely about RO compliance . . . except, what most returning Canadians are asked, in one way or another, as to how long you have been abroad, which is asked for customs' reasons as much as immigration, but which may signal factors potentially leading to questions about RO compliance. Obviously, a very lengthy absence in itself can suggest cause for RO compliance inquiry, and especially if the absence approaches three years, noting that an absence of three years or more is on its face an indication of a RO breach (unless the PR is entitled to credit under one of the exceptions, which it is the PR's burden to present and prove).

Beyond that, as @armoured alluded, there can be a range of factors that invite more specifically RO related questions, and as @armoured specifically referenced, some PRs are "flagged," meaning there is an "alert" on their GCMS file that pops up when a border official pulls up that PR on their computer.

A big clue that a particular PR might be asked more questions about RO compliance is having been asked RO related questions during a previous PoE examination. It appears you have arrived here from abroad more recently than me (I have yet to travel abroad since covid), and you know how it went during your PoE arrival experience, so you could be providing some anecdotal insight into the extent to which you have encountered RO related questioning. Again, if you have already been asked questions about RO compliance, yeah, that's a clue you will be examined more thoroughly about this when you next return to Canada.

There is such a wide range of information that PoE officials can see, if they look, and much variability in terms of what they look for, as @armoured also suggested, trying to forecast the nature and extent of questions a particular PR will encounter is indeed speculative.

Basically a PR who is cutting-it-close, and especially any PR who is in breach, should anticipate being questioned, and be prepared to give SIMPLE, STRAIGHT, HONEST answers, and if in breach, prepared to offer a BRIEF explanation of the reasons for the extent of absences (and as previously noted, where a medical H&C factor is involved, have IN HAND some medical records to show, supporting the explanation -- but still keep it as simple as possible).

And note: they can, and sometimes will access your CBSA travel history. While it was prior to me becoming a PR, and thus not RO related but length of stay in Canada related, they were able to do this and for me did it fifteen years ago; and their record capturing, and access, has been much expanded and improved since then. The PIL officer may not look, but they can, and if referred to Secondary the likelihood increases border officials will access details of your travel history; ASSUME they know the truth.

There are generally very low odds of playing the system, that is other than minimizing the extent to which one is abroad. So, for example, whether to be traveling with family or not should not be influenced based on how it might affect your examination upon your return. PoE examinations simply vary so widely there is no reliable way to script or orchestrate things, and just attempting to do so can be and often is far more transparent than many realize (contrary to many opinions in forums like this, border officials tend to get it, they tend to know far more than many give them credit; they have screened thousands of travelers, after all, and learned some things along the way). Straight, simple, and honest tends to work the best. (Sure, there is no shortage of those skilled in the con and they can be particularly able in pulling the con off . . . so many get-away-with-it, so to say . . . but many more don't, and many way overestimate their abilities in this area, and if and when border officials get the scent someone-is-gaming, that can be, well, a game-changer, as in NOT good.)
 
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armoured

VIP Member
Feb 1, 2015
10,962
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While I largely agree with @armoured's observations, it is safe to say that the vast majority of times a PR arrives at a PoE returning to Canada there is NO particular screening of the PR's compliance with the Residency Obligation.
Just to note that I do overall agree with this; I didn't really intend to say extremely consistent and formal RO compliance checks happen every time.

I think the reality is that the vast majority of times they do record info and that usually should result in pulling up some data held on the traveller. And if there are flags (as discussed above) they will likely look into that - to varying degrees of detail depending on the nature of the flag - and/or send the traveller to secondary examination.

But in other cases (again, vast majority): I meant to emphasize that I don't believe they have any kind of simplified "in compliance or not" info or simple summary.

And hence in those cases: they're balancing 'RO compliance' with all the other things they are supposed to be doing, and that list is long: checking the official documents and data entered all coincide and are genuine; glancing to see if there are customs issues; status in Canada / time abroad / nature of travel; and on and on. And the things they are looking into if it's someone residing in Canada or just visiting, etc, differ. The computers are pulling up information, and not always instantaneously.

The officers are mostly doing this all at once while asking some questions, a combination of things they need to ask and to glean information to compare against the docs and the apparent story the docs tell (and because they're working quickly, they're also checking to see if they've misunderstood the case eg visitor vs resident). Some things will draw their attention to RO compliance - things like a long time abroad and/or no evidence of living in Canada.

But most of the time, it's probably a quick heuristic (tech term for 'gut check guess'): if no clear reasons to look into RO compliance, and the questions/answers all fall into what looks like a normal, settled PR case, wave them through.

So yeah, most are not likely seeing any specific screening for RO compliance.
 
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dpenabill

VIP Member
Apr 2, 2010
5,506
2,473
I think the reality is that the vast majority of times they do record info and that usually should result in pulling up some data held on the traveller. And if there are flags (as discussed above) they will likely look into that - to varying degrees of detail depending on the nature of the flag - and/or send the traveller to secondary examination.

Et Al . . .
Yep. Yep.

It may be worth further noting what I (and I suspect others) typically take for granted: there is no hint of an issue for the majority of PRs traveling in and out of Canada. Meaning in the facts themselves. No issues, no need for border officials to make further inquiry. And the border officials are usually busy enough they are not much inclined to make work for themselves.

"Issues" do not magically appear in any given PR's interactions with CBSA or IRCC. OK, sure, there are anomalies, and stuff happens, and things might appear this or that way triggering further inquiry, but that is far from the norm. A snippy traveler encountering a cranky official on an off day, yeah, real people sometimes get testy with little provocation.

Nonetheless, screening returning Canadians (including PRs) for immigration "issues" is generally limited to positively identifying the traveler's identity and status as a Canadian. Hence airport kiosks. Hence Nexus. Can seem like getting into the ball game involves more scrutiny.

That coin has another side, like any coin. If and when there is any aspect of the traveling PR that might hint the PR is not settled in Canada, or otherwise is not returning "home" (to Canada) after a trip abroad (from Canada), that can be rather obvious. And, probably, usually is rather obvious to border officials. No advanced degrees in rocket science necessary to map the trajectory of potential questioning in such scenarios. Similarly, other circumstances can likewise be more or less obvious to border officials and signal cause to question a returning PR, and this particularly applies for those who are cutting-it-close and especially those who are in fact in breach. But of course there are other "signs," like not presenting a valid PR card at a land crossing. I cannot say that CBSA has sophisticated algorithms electronically screening a PR's data, but I am quite sure there is at least some electronic/software analytics based on certain criteria that is employed which will generate a "hit" for some PRs in certain circumstances. That is, seems likely that certain patterns of travel may trigger additional questions, and this is probably due to an electronic alert as much if not more often than what a border official observes.

Those who are among the latter, those at elevated risk for being identified as potentially having RO compliance issues, ranging from those cutting-it-close or in outright breach, to those who are not settled in Canada or who have only recently settled in Canada after a lengthy time abroad (since becoming a PR), should anticipate an elevated likelihood of additional questioning, including a potential referral to Secondary. While the PIL (Primary Inspection Line) officer might barely glance at the information that comes up on the computer screen for a given PR, once in Secondary for immigration screening the odds are high the examining officer will take a much closer look at the client's information in both CBSA and GCMS databases. As with border screening generally, much like the approach employed in many law enforcement contexts, the process is inherently telescoping, the scope of inquiries dependent on responses to questions and whether those resolve questions or invite expanding the inquiry.

MOST of the ABOVE should be widely and readily understood. But sometimes it is worth revisiting and highlighting. It warrants remembering and emphasizing that travelers, including PRs, do not arrive at the PoE as a blank slate. Travelers always have some baggage (and not the kind carried by hand), and they will be screened according to what is known and observed, and this is very much individual specific, very much related to the individual's baggage. Example: as I previously mentioned, if a PR has been asked RO compliance related questions during a previous PoE examination, that's a damn good clue they are more likely to be similarly examined during subsequent arrivals at a PoE.
 
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canuck78

VIP Member
Jun 18, 2017
44,611
10,554
I think on both your questions it would be not much more than speculation.

They probably do check your files and particularly if there is a 'flag' or warning from other officers from previous entries. If not, they do not seem to always inquire in detail.

I don't know whether they have a running total of compliance, ie. a simple number that tells them in or out of compliance, but my guess is not. If my guess is correct, then they mainly go by whether a file is obviously out of compliance (one or many long absences).

But at any rate, I think that's misguided: just tell the truth to questions. The strengths of your case are basically now being settled in Canada, your reasons now for absence are H&C (caring for sister), and your more recent absences not being that long. Be prepared to show some basic info about the medical case.

So overall: probably they wont' show much interest in your case and wave you through. If they do, your case is not bad and might be waved through anyway.

Frankly 'reporting' you for non-compliance takes work and they don't like to do it if the chances on appeal are not bad - it's a waste of time and not good use of resources.

And even if reported, you'd still have a decent chance on appeal.

Travelling with spouse and children? Don't know. Probably somewhat better than being able to refer to them as settled in Canada too. Won't hurt.

But note: none of these are guarantees, I could be completely wrong. Just a bit of speculation.

Any way you cut it, your best approach is just to be relaxed, answer questions truthfully and calmly (briefly - don't go into unnecessary detail).

Good luck.
In this case OP is actually donating bone marrow and will be having a procedure mthis trip so more than just caring for an ill sibling which may have less H&C consideration. Would make sure to keep all your medical records. Think what needs to be considered is any future trips after the trip for bone marrow sample collection. For others potentially reading this is a good example why it is important to leave a significant buffer to the 730 days out of 5 years. Many run into family emergencies but have only returned to Canada after being outside for cery close to 3 years
 
 

AkashBR

Member
Dec 21, 2018
11
2
Hey Guys,

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Is there a way to inform IRCC that i'll be in breach of RO requirements? or is it really not a concern since my PR card is valid till Sept 2023?

Hey brother,

extremely sorry to hear about your sister and glad to see you are doing all you can to help her come back to life. And some insightful answers by @armoured and @dpenabill

Sorry for being selfish but I am writing here to get some guidance from you as you stated that you landed in may 2018 and came back in feb 21, which is almost 3 years. Due to worsening covid situation and my father being diagnosed with cancer, I had to come back after spending approx a year in canada, and now in India for close to 2 years. I will be back in Canada in Dec 22, which means I will be out of canada for around 790 days straight. From what I learnt from your question is that, you were out of canada for almost 30-32 months straight. Did you have to inform authorities in prior for your absence or were you asked anything during immigration process? Your answer would be of great help to me though I understand you are looking for answers yourself.
 

rgcan2021

Newbie
Jun 24, 2022
6
1
Thanks everyone for your replies and wanted to give an update:

I travelled to India only for 2 weeks which was minimum required for bone marrow harvesting and i had a written note from the doctor stating the same. On arrival in Toronto, i was asked by CBSA about how long i have been out of the country to which i replied 2 weeks and they just let me in without any additional screening.

In future, i plan to travel only for minimum possible duration until i am able to meet RO.

@AkashBR sorry to hear about your Father's condition. Hope he is better now.
To answer your question, there was no enquiry at the border about why i spent 33 months straight and i did not inform anyone in advance. However, i overheard two border officers at that time talking something like 'he has 3 months or so remaining' but they did not bring this in any conversation with me.
 
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