Canada Permanent Residence

A Canadian permanent resident is someone who has been granted permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada. A permanent resident is not a Canadian citizen; rather, all permanent residents are citizens of other countries. In order to maintain permanent resident status, permanent residents must meet certain requirements like the residency obligation.

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As a permanent resident, a person receives a significant number of benefits:

  • Access to Canadian healthcare and social services.
  • The right to live, work, and study anywhere within Canada.
  • Protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • The ability to leave and enter Canada’s borders using their Canadian permanent resident card, or permanent resident travel documents (PRTD).
  • The ability to apply for Canadian citizenship after requirements are met.

There are many immigration pathways which will enable a person to become a Canadian permanent resident. Economic immigration, business immigration, sponsorship, and refugee/humanitarian programs offer different options for becoming a permanent resident in Canada.

Permanent Residence Cards

Once a person is approved for Canadian permanent residence, they are eligible to apply for a Canadian permanent resident card (PR card). This card indicates a person’s PR status in Canada and can be used to travel in and out of the country. Applications for permanent resident cards are submitted to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Permanent Residence Card Renewal

Most permanent resident cards are valid for five years, though occasionally PR cards are only valid for one year. Permanent residents are encouraged to 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

If a permanent resident is outside of Canada and wishing 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.

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

Permanent resident status is not automatically lost when a PR card expires. PR 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.

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