Permanent Residency

Under Canadian immigration law, a Permanent Resident is a person who has been given permission to live, work and study in Canada on a permanent basis, but is not a Canadian citizen.  Instead, they are citizens of their home country.  A person with permission to stay in Canada temporarily, including through a Study Permit or Work Permit, is not a Permanent Resident.

When an immigrant is approved for permanent residence in Canada, they receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) document. An immigration officer at the port of entry or a Canadian immigration office signs and dates this document when permanent residence finalizing the grant of permanent residence.

As a Permanent Resident in Canada, you have the following rights:

  • to receive most social benefits that other citizens receive, including health care,
  • to live, travel, work or study anywhere in the country,
  • to apply for citizenship, and
  • receive protection under Canadian law, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Similarly, as a Permanent Resident in Canada, you have the following responsibilities:

  • to pay taxes, and
  • to follow all federal, provincial and municipal laws in Canada.

Further, as a Permanent Resident, you do not have legal right to participate in Canadian politics (e.g., voting in or running for an election).

Permanent Residency Obligations

In order to maintain Permanent Resident (PR) status, you must live in Canada for at least two years in a five-year period. If you leave  Canada for longer, you may lose your permanent resident status.

How to Become a Permanent Resident in Canada

There are various ways (or immigration categories) to become a Canadian Permanent Resident, including:

1.  Economic Class – immigrants selected for their ability to contribute to Canada’s economy by using their skilled work experience, ability to build a business, to make a substantial investment, to create their own employment or to meet specific labour needs.  This includes Express Entry (Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades, Canadian Experience Class and Provincial Nominees) and Business Immigration (self-employed persons or start-up visa) categories.

2.  Family Class – immigrants sponsored by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident based as a spouse/partner, parent, grand-parent, child or other eligible relatives.

3.  Refugee Class – immigrants in need of protection and are unable or afraid to return to their home country and wish to settle in Canada. This includes government-assisted refugees, private sponsored refugees, and others living abroad referred for resettlement to Canada by the United Nations Refugee Agency, another designated referral organization or private sponsors.

4.  Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) Cases – immigrants unable to qualify under the above categories may apply on humanitarian or compassionate grounds in exceptional cases based on their ability to settle in Canada, family ties, best interests of their children and consequences of not granting them permanent resident status in Canada.

Permanent Resident Card (PR Card)

Canadian Permanent Residents can also apply for official proof of status, called a PR Card.  If you travel outside Canada as a Permanent Resident, you will need to show your PR Card and your passport when you come back on a commercial vehicle, including by airplane, boat, train or bus.

All new Permanent Residents automatically receive their new PR cards as part of the immigration process. 

Permanent Residence Application Process

For more information on Permanent Residency in Canada, or to determine your eligibility, contact us today to speak with a Canadian immigration lawyer.

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