Canadian Green CardGreen CardPermanent Residence

“Canada’s Green Card” – Canadian Permanent Residency

Published on: October 30th, 2023
Last updated: December 5th, 2023

Did you know that Canada has its own version of the United States Green Card? The Canadian Permanent Resident Card allows individuals to work and move freely within Canada as permanent residents, for as long as they wish.

The "Canada Green Card"

A Green Card is a popular term for the United States Permanent Resident Card that allows an individual to legally enter, reside and work in the US as a permanent resident. Canada’s version of the “Green Card,” is known as the Canadian Permanent Resident Card. Similarly to the US, the Canadian Permanent Residents Card gives holders the right to enter and live in Canada.

To be eligible to obtain a PR card, you must apply for Canadian permanent residency. Canada accepts more immigrants per capita than any other country in North America. If you want to learn more about how to immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident, start by completing our online assessment form to assess your eligibility.

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American Green Card Vs Permanent Resident Card (Canada Green Card)

The American Green Card is granted to foreign-born individuals who have immigrated to the US but have not yet become citizens. Similarly, the “Canada Green Card” confers permanent resident status to foreign nationals who have applied through one of the various pathways available in Canada.

One of the main differences between the Canadian PR card and the American Green Card is the rights given to the cardholders.

A Canadian PR Card is an identification and travel document for permanent residents. Canadian permanent residents are not required to hold their PR card and are granted rights not inherent to the card itself. The PR card is only required to re-enter if travelling outside of Canada.

The U.S., on the other hand, legally requires Green Card holders over 18 to always carry their cards with them. Green Card holders can be stopped by U.S. authorities at any time and asked to show their status documents.

How to become a Permanent Resident in Canada?

To become a Permanent Resident (PR) card (AKA “Canada green card”) in Canada, you typically need to follow these steps:

1. Determine Your Eligibility:

Ensure that you are eligible for permanent residency in Canada. You can apply for PR through various immigration programs, such as Express Entry, Family Sponsorship, Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), or as a refugee. The eligibility criteria will vary depending on the program you choose.

2. Apply for Permanent Residence

Once you have determined your eligibility, you must apply for permanent residency. The application process and forms may differ depending on the program you apply under.

You may need to create an online account on the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website and follow the specific instructions for the program you choose.

3. Gather Required Documents:

You will need to provide supporting documents, such as identity documents, police clearance certificates, educational credentials, and proof of funds, depending on the specific requirements of your chosen program.

Undergo Medical and Criminal Background Checks: As part of the application process, you and your accompanying family members may be required to undergo medical examinations and provide police clearance certificates to prove that you are admissible to Canada.

4. Attend an Interview (if required)

In some cases, you may be required to attend an interview or provide additional information to support your application.

5. Wait for the Processing of Your Application

Processing times can vary depending on the program you applied under, your home country, and the volume of applications being processed. You can check the current processing times on the IRCC website.

6. Receive Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR)

If your application is approved, you will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and a visa counterfoil in your passport. The COPR will have information about your permanent resident status and the date by which you must travel to Canada.

7. Travel to Canada

You should make plans to travel to Canada before the expiration date on your COPR. When you arrive in Canada, you will need to present your COPR to a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer, who will confirm your permanent resident status and issue you a PR card.

8. Permanent resident status

While the PR card is no longer mandatory for travel in and out of Canada as a permanent resident travel document, you can apply for it once you have arrived in Canada.

The PR card is proof of your status as a permanent resident. You can apply for the PR card through the IRCC website or by submitting a paper application. Check the IRCC website for the most up-to-date application requirements and fees.

It’s important to stay informed and updated on the latest immigration rules and requirements, as they can change over time. Consulting with an immigration lawyer or an authorized immigration consultant can also be helpful, as they can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.

There are many benefits of having permanent residence in Canada. Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, permanent residents can live and work anywhere in Canada. Permanent residents can move freely throughout the country and pursue employment options in any province.

Another benefit of gaining permanent resident status is the ability to sponsor your family if they are in Canada. This can be a great option for bringing one’s spouse or child who may be residing in another country.

Also If an individual gives birth in Canada, that child will be given Canadian CitizenshipPermanent residents also have access to Canada’s universal healthcare services.

Canadian permanent residents are afforded many of the same rights as Canadian citizens and can apply for citizenship after living in Canada for just three years.

Maintaining Permanent Residence Status

Permanent residents are free to leave and re-enter Canada as they wish. However, it is important to note that, to maintain permanent resident status, permanent residents must physically reside in Canada for at least 730 days for every 5 years. These 730 days can be spread throughout the 5 years and do not need to be consecutive.

If a permanent resident does not stay in Canada for the allotted time, they may have their permanent resident status revoked. When returning to Canada, permanent residents must present their permanent resident card to the Canadian border officer.


What is the difference with a Canadian citizen?

Canada Permanent Resident and Canadian Citizen are two distinct immigration statuses in Canada, each with its rights, responsibilities, and characteristics. Here are the key differences between them:



  • Permanent Residents (PR): With a permanent resident status, you are authorized to live and work in Canada indefinitely, and remain citizens of other countries.
  • Citizen: Full legal members with Canadian citizenship as their primary and sole nationality.


  • Permanent Residents (PR): Enjoy most rights but cannot vote or run for office. No Canadian passport.
  • Citizen: All rights, including voting, running for office, and Canadian passport.


  • Permanent Residents (PR): Must follow laws, pay taxes, uphold Canadian values, and meet residency requirements.
  • Citizen: Same responsibilities plus voting in elections.


  • Permanent Residents (PR): Your permanent resident card is your permanent resident travel document, the document need renewals.
  • Citizen: Free travel with a Canadian passport.

Citizenship by Birth:

  • Permanent Residents (PR): Not citizens by birth. Children born in Canada acquire citizenship.
  • Citizen: Canadian-born individuals are citizens by birth.

Eligibility for Public Office:

  • Permanent Residents (PR): Generally ineligible for political office.
  • Citizen: Eligible to run for political office.


  • Permanent Residents (PR): Don’t hold Canadian passports.
  • Citizen: Entitled to a Canadian passport.

If you have a Permanent resident status, you can apply to become a Canadian citizen after meeting residency requirements, granting them the full rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizens.


Interested in learning more about how you can immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident? Complete our free online assessment form today!


Do I qualify for Canadian Permanent Residency? Find out today!

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