Canada's "Green Card" - An Overview of Canada PR Card

With the Canadian government planning to issue permanent residency to over 1.3 million immigrants by the end of 2024, now is the perfect time to get your "Canadian green card." Canada is famous for having an extremely high quality of life. The Canadian economy is booming, and there is a thriving job market throughout all sectors. In addition, the government has socialized many amenities, including healthcare and schooling, significantly lowering the cost of living. Furthermore, the society and culture of Canada are highly multicultural, open-minded, and tolerant, as the country is highly receptive to immigrants worldwide. On top of all this, Canada is world-renowned for its natural beauty, protected nature reserves, and average person's happiness. As it is such a fantastic place to live, it's hard not to see why people are lining up to get what is essentially a Canadian green card- a Canada Permanent Residency card.

What is a Permanent Residency?

The Canadian government grants Permanent Residency (PR) to those who have immigrated to Canada but have not been in Canada long enough to be considered Canadian citizens.

What Does Having a PR Allow You To Do?

They allow immigrants to live and work in Canada but are still considered citizens of another country. While they can use the considerable social benefits, enjoy protection from the Canadian constitution, and live anywhere in Canada, they cannot run for public office or work in a job requiring a high-level security clearance.

As a permanent resident of Canada, you're allowed to apply for Canadian citizenship and must always travel with your permanent resident card, should you choose to travel outside of the country. You won't need a visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to re-enter Canada if you have your Canada PR card.

You must spend at least 2 years out of every 5 years on Canadian soil to maintain your PR.

To travel to the United States (USA) as a Canadian Permanent Resident, you need a nonimmigrant visa. While a PR card is like having a Canadian green card, you will need a US worker's visa to work in the US.

A Canada PR does, however, allow you to travel to the following countries:

  • All Dutch Caribbean territories (90 days)
  • Anguilla (maximum 3 months)
  • Bahamas (90 days)
  • Bermuda (maximum 6 months)
  • British Virgin Island (up to 6 months)
  • Cayman Islands (60 days)
  • Costa Rica (30 days, must hold a valid PR card for at least six months)*
  • Cuba (30 days, PR card, and a valid, up-to-date passport required)
  • Dominican Republic (60 days)
  • El Salvador (applicable to some nationalities but not to all)
  • Georgia (90 days in 180 days)
  • Guatemala (not applicable to all nationalities)
  • Honduras (not applicable to all nationalities)
  • Jamaica (up to 6 months)
  • Mexico (6 months)
  • Nicaragua (90 days within 180 days, not applicable to all nationalities)
  • Panama (30 days or 180 days)
  • Philippines (30 days)
  • Qatar (30 days)
  • South Korea (30 days when in transit, not applicable to all nationalities)
  • Taiwan (30 days, online registration required, only applicable to certain nationalities)
  • Turks and Caicos Islands (90 days)

Who Is Eligible For PR?

Who is and isn't eligible for PR is often dependent on the immigration program you've chosen. However, certain factors that can automatically bar you from gaining PR.


  • An applicant either submits incorrect information or omits critical information from their application.
  • On top of having the application rejected, Canadian govern the applicant from reapplying for 2-5 years, depending on the province.


  • The applicant doesn't pass the medical exam they must take as part of the application process.
  • They will fail if their medical condition is too much of a burden on the Canadian healthcare system.

Criminal Record

  • Any criminal activities that appear in police background checks can also block an applicant from gaining PR if the applicant is a threat to the health and safety of the Canadian people.

Missing a Deadline

  • Most immigration programs have imposed deadlines for the submission of certain documents. Missing one of these deadlines can cause a rejection of the application.

Failure to Attach Documents

  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) provides a clear list of documents necessary to process the application.
  • If documents are missing, it will likely delay the processing but can cause total rejection if the missing documents remain unrepresented.

Choosing The Wrong Immigration Program

  • Canada offers dozens of immigration programs. Signing up for a program you're not eligible for can result in you not meeting the criteria required by the program. Doing this may result in a rejection.

Your Path to PR

There are many ways to know how to get permanent residency in Canada. Making sure you choose the right immigration program is pivotal to your success in getting Canada PR. Each program makes provisions based on age, nationality, education level, work experience and the applicant's connection to Canada. Often the program you choose determines where in Canada you will live and some of the obligations to keep your PR once in Canada.

The immigration programs, as outlined by the Canadian government, are as follows:

The Express Entry program

The Express Entry program is designed to get skilled workers PR in Canada in as little as 6 months. Candidates enter into a bi-weekly Express Entry draw. If their name comes up, they’re issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA), giving them 60 days to submit all necessary documentation and pay fees.

The Express Entry program has three major streams:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
    • For professional workers with degrees from approved institutions.
  • Federal Skilled Trade Program
    • For professional tradespeople with official certification such as a diploma from a trade school.
  • Canadian Experience Class
    • For applicants with a minimum of 1 year of work experience in Canada.

The Express Entry program primarily caters to applicants with tertiary qualifications. Check out our articles for a full breakdown of how the Express entry program works and how to apply.

Provincial Nominee Program

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) are some of the most direct ways to ensure your path to PR. They provide PR to immigrants based on the needs of the specific province to which the applicant plans to move. Many provinces employ pilot programs to bring in workers for particular industries.

The provincial nominee programs are as follows:

Quebec-Selected Skilled Workers

  • Skilled workers specifically looking to move to Quebec

Atlantic Immigration Program

  • Skilled workers looking to live specifically in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador.

Home Care Provider Pilot

  • A pilot program specifically for people specialized in in-home medical care.

Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

  • A program designed to prioritize immigrants to the more rural areas of the Northern Territories.

Agri-Food Pilot

  • A program prioritizing experienced farm workers.

Family sponsorship

  • Permanent residence is given to an applicant with a designated sponsor with either Canadian citizenship or PR and sufficient means to support the applicant.

Start-up Visa

  • A program specifically designed for applicants moving to Canada to start a business in Canada
  • This stream often requires significant investment in the applicant from outside parties with minimum amounts specified in the Canadian government’s guidelines.


  • Those granted refugee status designated by a governing body.


  • A stream designated to give nominations to self-employed people from artistic or athletic areas.

The Canadian government has a full breakdown of each program, the different costs involved, and the time it takes to complete the application process. They'll make sure you know how to get permanent residency in Canada.


How long does PR last?

PR never expires, provided you don’t violate the terms of your PR status. However, your PR card does generally expire after five years, after which you can’t use it as a travel document and must renew it. Therefore, it’s recommended you renew your Canada PR card at least 6 months before your current card is set to expire.

Does having PR mean I’m a Canadian Citizen?

No. PR means you are able to apply for citizenship but you need to have lived and worked in Canada for at least 3 years out of the previous 5 before eligible for citizenship. If you have no family relations based in Canada, you must have PR to apply for citizenship in Canada.

How long does it take to get PR in Canada?

This depends entirely on the immigration program you’ve chosen. The Express Entry program is the fastest, with the waiting period being only around 6-8 months, but other programs can take years, especially if there are any complications involved. We recommend you research your specific program to get a good idea of how long things will take.

Start your journey to PR in Canada!

Canadian PR is the only way to live and work in Canada permanently. It allows you to begin a new life in Canada and is the one pathway to becoming a full-blown Canadian citizen. There are a lot of different immigration programs that open up the possibility of PR. As there is such a variety of programs with different criteria, finding out how to get permanent residency in Canada can be confusing. One of the best ways to ensure you know the best program for you is to speak to a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). They will help you determine which program you’re most eligible for and what you need to do to ensure you qualify for it.