Permanent Residency in Canada

If you immigrate to Canada, you can be categorized as a permanent or temporary resident.

If you are a permanenent resident of Canada, you may have permanent residency, but this does not mean you are a Canadian citizen. At this point, you are most likely still a citzen of another country.

If you are studying or working in Canada temporarily, as either an international student or a foreign worker, you are not a permanent resident. This also applies if you are a tourist visiting Canada.

What You Are Allowed to Do as a Canadian Permanent Resident

As a Canadian Permanent Resident, You Can:

Receive social benefits (for example access to Medicare, Canada’s government healthcare program)
Live, study or work in Canada (so long as you meet the requirements of the province or territory you choose to live in)
Apply for Canadian Citizenship
Receive protection as a permanent resident (the Canadian government must protect you under their law system and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms)

But there are also things you are not entitled to do as a permanent resident of Canada. For example, you are not allowed to vote, run for political office or have a job with a high-level security clearance

A Canadian Permanent Resident Card

If you wish to travel abroad, you must take your Permanent Resident Card with you. You can use it to provide proof that you are a Canadian permanent resident and it can be used to re-enter Canada’s borders.

If you have lost your Permanent Resident Card, you will need a document called a Permanent Resident Travel Document to return back to Canada. This document can only be used once to enter Canada.

How Long You Need to Spend in Canada to Keep Your Permanent Resident Status

If you are a permanent resident, you are allowed to spend two years out of a five year period in Canada. If you spend more than three years in another country that is not Canada, you can lose your permanent resident status.

Losing Your Permanent Residency in Canada

You Can Lose Your Permanent Residency in Canada If You:

Applied with false documentation for either permanent residency, Canadian citizenship or any other application
Gave falsified information from your sponsor
Gave falsified information for a refugee claim
Committed a serious crime, either before or after becoming a Canadian permanent resident (unless you receive a pardon for your crime, or meet other requirements)
Lived more than three years in a five year period outside of Canada
Are believed to be a danger to the Canadian government due to:

a. Spying

b. Treason

c. Terrorism or

d. Your classification as a security risk

Belonged to a terrorist or criminal organization or
Committed war crimes, crimes against humanity or human rights violations