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Permanent Residents' Residency Obligation Appeals

IRPA requires permanent residents to be physically present in Canada for at least 730 days out of every five years. This is called residency obligation. If you are outside Canada and a Canadian visa office finds that you have not met this residency obligation, you may lose your permanent resident status. You have the right to appeal the visa office decision to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board Canada (IRB). You must file an appeal no later than 60 days after receiving a decision letter from the visa office.

Note: You may not appeal if you have been found to be inadmissible to Canada because of:

  • a serious criminal offence,

  • involvement in organized crime,

  • security grounds, or

  • violations of human or international rights.

You may be outside Canada when you receive the decision letter from the visa office on the residency status determination. If you have been in Canada at any time over the past 365 days, the visa office must give you a travel document so that you can re-enter the country. In other cases, you may apply to the IAD for a travel document. If the IAD decides that you must be present at the hearing in person, it may issue an order. The visa office will then issue you a travel document to allow you to enter Canada for the hearing. If you are not in Canada for the hearing, the hearing may be held by telephone.

The IAD may allow an appeal – and set aside the original decision – if there was:

  • an error in law or fact, or

  • a breach of a principle of natural justice.

In some cases, the IAD may give special relief and allow an appeal based on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) considerations, such as the best interests of a child.

If the appeal is dismissed, you will lose your permanent resident status. If you are in Canada, the IAD will order your removal from Canada.

When you appear at residency obligation appeals, you have the right to be represented at your own expense by counsel. Appeals are adversarial, i.e., your counsel has to argue against the Minister's counsel before the IAD member (who is a decision-maker like a judge in court) why your permanent resident status should be retained.

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