Voluntary relinquishment or renunciation of permanent resident status

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

There are situations where applicants for citizenship may have voluntarily relinquished or renounced their permanent resident status. This relinquishment or renunciation may be the result of a request from the applicant’s country of origin or a third country, or of an interview with an immigration official at a port of entry (e.g., applicant admits on re-entry to having been away from Canada for a considerable period of time and wants to avoid being issued a removal order).

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) use different procedures regarding voluntary relinquishment or renunciation of permanent resident status, depending on whether a person

  • relinquished permanent resident status under the former Immigration Act;
  • relinquished permanent resident status under the current Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) before November 21, 2014; or
  • renounced permanent resident status under paragraph 46(1)(e) of the current IRPA on or after November 21, 2014.

Prior to November 21, 2014, there was no legislative mechanism under the IRPA to voluntarily relinquish permanent resident status as it was only an administrative process. The only way to legally lose permanent resident status was by failing to meet the residency obligation or otherwise losing status under section 46 of the IRPA. Additionally, under the former Immigration Act, applicants could relinquish their permanent resident status, but if the residency obligation was met, the relinquishment did not have the force of law. This means that it is possible that a person may have voluntarily relinquished their permanent resident status without having actually lost their status.

On November 21, 2014, the IRPA was amended to include paragraph 46(1)(e), which provides a legislative mechanism for applicants to voluntarily renounce permanent resident status. See Renouncing permanent residence.

When an applicant for citizenship voluntarily relinquishes or renounces permanent resident status, two distinct and separate factors must be considered:

  1. the applicant’s immigration status;
  2. the residence/physical presence calculation.

If there is any indication in the immigration records section of the Global Case Management System (GCMS) that a person voluntarily relinquished or renounced permanent resident status or their permanent residence document, the citizenship officer will check GCMS to verify if there is confirmation from CIC or the CBSA that the applicant has lost permanent resident status.

If there is information that the applicant has voluntarily relinquished or renounced their permanent resident status but no confirmation that the applicant has lost permanent resident status, the following applies:

  • The citizenship officer will suspend the application  in GCMS and contact the local CIC immigration or CBSA office to seek confirmation on the status or when a decision will be made.
  • If a response is not received within 60 days, the citizenship officer resends the email with high priority to the local manager responsible for CIC immigration or to the CBSA, and requests a read receipt.
  • The citizenship officer indicates that processing will resume in 30 days if no response is received.
  • The citizenship officer may also write to the applicant to ask if they wish to withdraw their citizenship application. The applicant should complete the Withdrawal of Citizenship Application form [CIT 0027 (PDF, 725.77KB)] and provide it to the local office.

If there is confirmation in writing from a CIC or CBSA officer that the applicant is no longer a permanent resident of Canada, the citizenship judge or officer may refuse an application for failing to meet the requirement to be a permanent resident under paragraph 5(1)(c) of the Citizenship Act. Citizenship judges have authority to refuse applications where the applicant is no longer a permanent resident for applications received before June 11, 2015, while citizenship officers decide on this requirement for applications received on or after June 11, 2015.

If an application to renounce or relinquish permanent resident status is refused, the citizenship application continues the regular processing. Citizenship officers are encouraged to review the applicant’s residence/physical presence closely. See How residence/physical presence is calculated.

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