Permanent Residency

By immigrating to Canada, you are classified as a permanent resident, however you will need to still qualify to be a Canadian citizen. At this stage, you will still be a permanent resident of your own country.
If you are in Canada temporarily as a student, tourist or foreign worker, you will not be classified as a permanent resident.

What can I do as a permanent resident?

As a permanent resident, you cannot vote or run for political office and you cannot hold a job that requires high-level clearance, however you can:

  • Get most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage
  • Live, work or study anywhere in Canada
  • Apply for Canadian citizenship
  • Get protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • You must pay taxes and respect all Canadian laws at the federal, provincial and municipal levels

Permanent Resident Card

If you decide to travel outside of Canada, you must always ensure that you have your Permanent Residency card on you at all times. This card serves as proof that you are a permanent resident of Canada. If you find yourself without a PR card, you will need to obtain a Permanent Resident Travel Document to enter the country again.

Time spent in Canada

If you get your permanent residence, you will be able to live outside of the country, but you must live in Canada for at least two years out of five- otherwise you risk losing your status.

Losing your permanent residency

Losing your permanent resident status is not an immediate action and is determined by several factors. You cannot lose your permanent status by simply living outside of Canada for several years.

You may lose your permanent resident status if:

  • An adjudicator determines that you are no longer a permanent resident following an inquiry
  • A visa officer determines you do not meet the required residency when you apply for a permanent resident travel document or temporary resident travel document

You may lose your permanent resident status in one of the ways described above if:

  • You do not live in Canada for two out of five years
  • You are convicted of a serious crime and told to leave Canada
  • You become a Canadian citizen
  • You do not lose your permanent resident status if your PR card expires

Our RCICs specialize in Canada’s immigration policies and will be able to assist and guide you with any queries you might have about your PR status. Contact us to learn more.


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