Prior to November 21, 2014, there was no formal way for permanent residents to voluntarily renounce their permanent resident status in Canada. Incredibly, permanent residents who wanted to voluntarily relinquish their status had to generally first be declared inadmissible to Canada by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”). This changed in 2014, and the ability to formally relinquish permanent resident status will benefit numerous individuals. As the IRCC website states:
In some cases, permanent residents know that they failed to meet the residency obligation and have no desire to remain in Canada as permanent residents, but they wish to visit Canada without being reported for non-compliance with respect to their residency requirements. In other cases, individuals may be required to provide proof that they have given up Canadian permanent resident status in order to obtain benefits from their country of origin or a third country, such as accepting a diplomatic posting, renewing civil documents (national identity cards, health or pension coverage, etc.) or entering military service.
Section 46(1)(e) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA“) provides that:
46. (1) A person loses permanent resident status
(e) on approval by an officer of their application to renounce their permanent resident status.
Regulation 72.6 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR”) further clarifies that:
Application — conditions
72.6 An officer may approve a person’s application to renounce their permanent resident status if
(a) the person has provided evidence of their citizenship, nationality or permanent legal resident status in another country; and
(b) in the case of an application in respect of a person who is less than 18 years of age, the application is signed by every person who has custody of that person or who is empowered to act on their behalf by virtue of a court order or written agreement or by operation of law, unless otherwise ordered by a court.
SOR/2014-269, s. 2.
Application to Voluntarily Renounce Status
The mechanism through which an individual renounces their permanent resident status is the IMM5782 – Application to Voluntarily Renounce Permanent Resident Status.
Importantly, there is no legislative authority for immigration officers to consider the reason for the renunciation.
Once an officer approves an application for renunciation of permanent resident status, the individual loses their permanent resident status and becomes a temporary resident for a period of six months unelss they make their application to renounce their permanent residence at a port of entry or are not physically present in Canada on the day on which their application is approved. Such individuals who are inside Canada cannot work or study unless they make the appropriate application and it is approved.
If an individual with permanent resident wants to renounce their permanent resident status, and they have family members who are also permanent residents, those individuals do not automatically need to renounce their permanent resident status.
Additional information on renouncing permanent resident status can be found in the powerpoint below. Please note that this powerpoint was created for internal use by IRCC, and was obtained through an Access to Information Act request. Its reproduction has not occurred with the affiliation of the Government of Canada, and should not be viewed as legal advice.
Reinstating Permanent Resident
As the following internal IRCC communication indicates, people who wish to renounce their permanent residence should understand that there is no way to reinstate it.