How long can you stay out of Canada if you are a Canadian citizen?

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Wondering how long you can stay out of Canada if you are a Canadian citizen? Well, as a citizen, it’s expected that you need to go abroad for several reasons. However, you can’t stay out of Canada for an infinite period.

The time to stay out varies on the country you visit and the provinces you live in Canada. Let’s know in detail.

How long can you stay out of Canada if you are a Canadian citizen?

As a Canadian citizen, you can stay a maximum of six months, i.e. 182 days, within one year. It can be in a single trip or multiple short trip aggregation.

However, people from countries other than Canada are allowed to stay a maximum of 3 months. And a Canadian citizen returning to Canada after a long absence can have several consequences.

Apart from that, the duration to stay out of Canada depends on the following factors:

For visiting the U.S.:

You can stay in the U.S. for up to six months without a visa or more if the immigration authority allows you to do so.

Staying duration limit outside Canada in different provinces

As for Canadian provinces, the authority wants a citizen to stay for a specified duration in their respective provinces. Below are the provinces regarding how many days they allow their citizens to stay away.

  • 6 months (Quebec, Yukon, Northwest Territories, PEI)
  • 7 months (Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Nova Scotia)
  • 8 months (Newfoundland and Labrador) and
  • 12 months (Nunavut)

Note that the duration U.S. allows and the time limit of the respective province are not linked unless there is an exception.

What if anyone stays outside Canada and exceeds the allowed duration?

Many northern Canadians visit the south and the U.S. during the winter. Canada follows a citizen when they enter or leave the country, either by air or land. Staying less than 730 days in Canada in the last 5 years resulted in cancelling Canadian PR status.

On the other hand, a person with a P.R. card has to stay for at least 2 years in Canada within 5 years after getting it for renewal.

What might be the problem because of staying outside for a longer time?

It’s not about Canada only. The interesting thing is that staying outside the province but within the country’s border will also be counted the same as that is considered for travelling overseas.

And for that, a citizen may miss ‘residency’ or medical benefits. In that context, they have to re-instate the eligibility. It takes to stay in their respective provinces for 3 months continuously. After that, one can regain their suspended benefits upon proving to obey.

Remember one thing also. If a person stays for significantly longer and appears more of a U.S. citizen than a Canadian, they must pay taxes in both countries.

Conditions for studying or working outside Canada

Every year a lot of students from Canada join universities in foreign countries. Many countries also encourage and welcome student exchanges to enrich the individual countries.

Many people relocate outside Canada to work or gain or enhance skills. In these cases, naturally, their stays outside Canada may exceed 6 months easily. They get permission from both countries and the institutions they join, and that’s how it is possible to meet this exception.


A person won’t lose their citizenship based on their stay outside Canada but rather some benefits from the country or provincial government. That is especially true if they are a citizen by born.

Last Words

Overall, as a Canadian citizen you can stay a maximum of six months outside Canada. In case you exceed the limit, you may be exempted from your provincial benefits or create further complexity.