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I am an American citizen living in Québec for the past 3.5 years. The first 6 months were under a student visa, and the last 3 years have been under two separate work visas (under NAFTA). I have submitted my application to the Québec government to obtain a CSQ, I should receive my CSQ within the next few weeks.

Next step will be to submit my application to the federal government under the Quebec Skilled Worker Class track (I've read that the average application processing time, for this application track, is roughly 15 months).

I plan to travel for roughly a year, starting this December. My question is, must I remain in Canada for any/all of the time while my application with the federal government is pending?

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It's been a while, but no, I don't believe so. I certainly left the country while I was applying for PR, although that was a couple of decades ago now. This assumes you have some other visa which permits you to leave and return.

The whole "can't leave the country while waiting for your green card" thing appears to be unique to the states.

  • In the US, you can leave the country once you get an advance parole document. You can also leave the country without one and then apply at a consulate for an immigrant visa, but that usually means leaving the country for longer than you want to, which is why people wait for advance parole before leaving. This arises because the application to become a permanent resident while residing in the US is "adjustment of status," and if you leave the country you no longer have immigration status to adjust. Similar situations exist in Europe for residence card applicants. – phoog May 28 at 16:14
  • I agree. In Canada you are applying for a whole new visa, not an 'adjustment', so you are still present on your old visa until you leave and enter on your new one. – DJClayworth May 28 at 17:42

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