Canada Permanent Residence

A Canadian permanent resident is someone who has been granted permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada.

A permanent resident enjoys many of the same benefits of Canadian citizens. However, unlike citizens, they must maintain their status by meeting certain requirements like the residency obligation.

Find out if you're eligible to apply for Canadian permanent residence

Canadian permanent residence overview


Benefits of Canadian PR status

Here are 5 of the major benefits you’ll experience once you become a Canadian permanent resident:

1 – The ability to live and work anywhere in Canada

Canadian permanent residents have the legal right to live and work anywhere in the country. If a new PR starts off in Montreal but finds a better job in Toronto, they will have every right to move. Permanent residents aren’t tied to a specific employer or province.

Additionally, Canadian permanent resident have the ability to leave and enter Canada’s borders using their Canadian permanent resident card, or permanent resident travel documents (PRTD).

2 – Access to universal healthcare and social services

Canadian healthcare is universal, which means access to free medical care. Once an individual becomes a permanent resident, they have access to Canada’s healthcare and social services.

3 – Family sponsorship

Permanent residents can apply to sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, and dependent children to join them in Canada. That said, if you immigrate through Express Entry, you can include your family on your initial application so you won’t have to sponsor them later on.

4 – Free education for children

Children of Canadian permanent residents can study for free up until secondary school. After graduating, post-secondary school is also much cheaper for permanent residents than it is for international students.

5 – Can transition to Canadian citizenship

Becoming a permanent resident is the first step to becoming a Canadian citizen. After residing in Canada for three out of five years, PRs are eligible to become citizens. Once a PR has transitioned to Canadian citizenship, they can vote, apply for a Canadian passport, and no longer need to renew their status in the country.

6 – Protected rights

The rights of Canadian permanent residents are protected under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Permanent residence cards

Once a person becomes a Canadian permanent resident, they are eligible to apply for a Canadian permanent resident card (PR card). This card indicates a person’s PR status in Canada; permanent residents can use the PR card to travel in and out of the country.

Permanent residence card renewal

Most permanent resident cards are valid for five years, though occasionally PR cards are only valid for one year. The Canadian government encourages permanent residents keep track of their expiration date and apply to renew their Canadian permanent resident card within six months of their card expiring.

Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD)

If a permanent resident is outside of Canada and wishes to enter Canada they may apply for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD) if they do not have a valid PR card. The PRTD is usually valid for a single entry to Canada, allowing the permanent resident to enter the country before applying for a PR card, or PR card renewal.

Canadian permanent residency requirements

In order to maintain permanent resident status in Canada, a person must meet a residency obligation. The residency obligation refers to a person’s physical presence inside of Canada for a set amount of time. Canada’s residency obligation for permanent residents requires a person to be physically present inside of Canada for at least 730 days within a five-year period or to fall under one of several exceptions.

Canadian citizenship

Foreign nationals wishing to become Canadian citizens must meet several requirements, including having valid permanent resident status in Canada. In addition, permanent residents wishing to become citizens have different residency obligations than those required for permanent resident status renewal. Consult Canadim’s web resource to learn more about becoming a Canadian citizen.

Renouncing permanent resident status

A Canadian permanent resident does not automatically lose their status when their PR card expires. A permanent resident’s status can only be lost through an official process. If a person wants to renounce their permanent resident status, they may submit an application to voluntarily give up their permanent resident status. This may save time during travels if a person knows they have not met their residency obligation and they intend to travel to Canada.

Is permanent residence the same as citizenship?

Canadian permanent residents are not citizens of Canada. Canadian permanent residents cannot apply for a Canadian passport, among other benefits enjoyed by citizens. Unlike Canadian citizens, they are also certain requirements a PR must fulfill to keep their status.

Can Canadian permanent residence be revoked?

The Canadian government may revoke permanent resident status for one of the following reasons:

  • serious criminality;
  • if an individual achieved PR status by means of misrepresentation; or
  • they are unable to meet their residency obligations

How long is Canadian permanent residence valid?

Unlike temporary status in Canada, permanent residence status does not expire. If a Canadian PR continues to meet their residency requirements, and the government does not revoke their status, they will continue to maintain their status as a PR.

Can a permanent resident leave Canada?

A permanent resident can leave Canada at any time but must continue to meet their physical presence obligations.

How can I become a Canadian permanent resident?

There are many immigration pathways that will enable a person to become a Canadian permanent resident. For example, permanent residence can be achieved through economic immigrationbusiness immigrationsponsorship, or refugee/humanitarian programs.

Complete our free online assessment to find out if you’re eligible for Canadian immigration.

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