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What is Permanent Residence in Canada: 11 Key Points

Do you want to call Canada your home? Do you want to be a part of its diverse communities? It is no surprise that many people from around the world are considering moving to Canada to live and work. Non-Canadians can achieve this through permanent residency.

1. So, What is Permanent Residence in Canada?

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Permanent residency in Canada allows foreign nationals to live and work in Canada. It provides access to many benefits and services. Approximately 341,000 individuals got Canadian PR in 2019 according to the government. This number has been increasing over the past decade. It reflects the country’s commitment to welcoming immigrants from around the world. You get many benefits and privileges with permanent resident status.

2. Some of the Key Benefits Include:

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2.1 Health Care Benefits:

As a permanent resident, you have access to Canada’s healthcare system. According to CanadaVisa, “Canada’s healthcare system is publicly funded, which means that residents and permanent residents can receive medical treatment at no cost or for a reduced cost.”

2.2. Access to Education:

As a PR you can attend public schools and universities in Canada. That too at the same cost as Canadian citizens! This includes access to government-funded financial aid and scholarships and free education programs.

2.3 Ability to Work and Live in Canada:

A Canadian permanent resident can work and live anywhere in Canada. The Canadian immigration law firm, Campbell, Cohen, writes “Unlike a temporary work permit, which is usually linked to a specific job and employer, permanent residence allows you to work for any employer in Canada in any occupation.”

2.4 Social Services:

Permanent residents are eligible to apply for social services. These include employment insurance, welfare, and other government benefits.

2.5 Protection Under Canadian Law:

Permanent residents have access to legal services and courts under Canadian law.

2.6 Ability to Apply For Citizenship:

Permanent residents who meet certain requirements can apply for Canadian citizenship. This includes passing a citizenship test. Here, you test your knowledge of Canada’s history, values, and institutions.

2.7 Access to Travel:

Permanent residents can travel within Canada. You can also travel abroad and re-enter. You may also be eligible for visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to other countries.

2.8 Pathway to Sponsor Family:, another Canadian immigration law firm, states that “As a permanent resident, you can sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence, including spouses, common-law partners, parents, and dependent children.” This means that your loved ones can join you in Canada.

3. Several Ways to Become a Permanent Resident of Canada.

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  • The eligibility criteria and application process for each differ. The most common method is through Canada’s Express Entry system. The Express Entry system is a point-based system. It ranks eligible candidates based on various factors. These include age, education, language proficiency, and work experience. Candidates with the highest scores can then apply for permanent residency. This system selects candidates who have high skills and experience. This is to ensure the entry of those who can contribute to Canada’s economy and society.
  • Another way to become a permanent resident is through family sponsorship. Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their eligible relatives. They can enter Canada as permanent residents.
  • According to the Canadian government‘s official website, “The Family Class Sponsorship program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their spouses, common-law partners, dependent children, parents, and grandparents for permanent residency in Canada.”
  • Provincial nominee programs are another way to become a permanent resident. It allows Canadian provinces and territories to nominate candidates for permanent residency. This depends on their specific economic and labour market needs. The Canadian Bar Association explains that “The Provincial Nominee Program allows provinces and territories to nominate candidates for permanent residency who have the skills, education, and work experience needed to contribute to the local economy.” Candidates nominated by a province or territory can apply for permanent residency. They can apply through Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
  • Finally, refugees can apply for permanent residency after meeting certain requirements. They need to meet the definition of a refugee under Canadian law. They must pass a security test and medical screenings, as well.

4. So, Can You Calculate Points For the PR?

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Yes, you can! Applicants must first determine which immigration program they are eligible for. Each program has its own eligibility criteria and point system.

For example, the Federal Skilled Worker Program awards point based on different factors. Parameters include age, education, language proficiency, work experience, arranged employment, and adaptability. The maximum number of points that can be awarded is 100. The minimum required score is 67 out of 100.

To calculate the points, you can use the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) tool.  

Once you have determined your score, you can create an Express Entry profile. Then submit an application for permanent residence. The highest-scoring candidates are then invited to apply for PR. This is through regular draws from the Express Entry pool.

5. Now, What is the Processing Time For the Application?

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It depends on the specific immigration program and the circumstances of the applicant.

For example, the processing time for the Express Entry program ranges from 6 to 8 months. But, the processing time may be longer if the application is incomplete or needs extra documents.

Other programs, such as the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) or Family Sponsorship, may have different processing times. It is influenced by the specific program and the volume of applications.

It’s important to note that processing times can change depending on various factors. Government policy or staffing levels may affect this.

6. Once Approved For Permanent Residency, You Will Receive a Permanent Resident Card.

An official document is issued to permanent residents of Canada as proof of their status. It has your picture and personal information on it. It also comes with an expiry date. You need to have it with you when you leave and re-enter Canada as a permanent resident. It’s like an ID, but for permanent residents. You have to renew your PR card every five years otherwise, risk losing your PR status.

7. Permanent Residents Also Get a PRTD or a PR Travel Document.

This allows you to travel outside of Canada and return without losing your PR status. PRs need a valid PRTD to re-enter Canada after travelling abroad. A PRTD is for a single entry or for many entries over a specified period of time. It depends on the traveller’s specific circumstances. To apply for a PRTD, permanent residents must complete an application. You should provide supporting documents. This includes a permanent resident card and proof of travel plans. It’s important for permanent residents to ensure that their PRTD is valid. You must meet the residency requirements for maintaining your status. Prolonged absences from Canada could result in losing their status.

8. What About Citizenship?

For residency requirements, you must meet some conditions. You must have at least 730 days of physical presence in Canada within a five-year period. Hence, you must spend at least two years out of every five in Canada as PR. But, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, Individuals who work abroad for a Canadian business.

Permanent residents also pay Canadian taxes on their worldwide income. You must declare your income from both inside and outside of Canada on your Canadian tax return. If you have paid taxes on that income in another country, you may be eligible for a foreign tax credit.

Permanent residents are subject to the same laws and regulations as Canadian citizens. This includes federal, provincial, and territorial laws, as well as municipal bylaws. Permanent residents convicted of a serious crime may face deportation.

9. Then, What is the Process From PR to Citizen?

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After getting permanent residency, one may choose to apply for Canadian citizenship. Citizenship is not necessary to maintain permanent residency. But it does offer extra benefits and privileges.

The citizenship application process includes an application fee. You must also pass a citizenship test. The test assesses knowledge of Canada’s history, values, institutions, and symbols. The test is available in either English or French. It ensures that you understand Canada’s laws, customs, and rights.

Once an application gets approval, you are required to attend a citizenship ceremony.  Here, they take an oath of citizenship and receive their citizenship certificate. At this point, you become a Canadian citizen. Now, you are entitled to the privileges of citizenship. This includes the right to vote in federal elections. You will also receive a Canadian passport.

The permanent residency offers many benefits and opportunities in Canada. But, citizenship is an important personal choice for some. Especially for those who wish to take part in Canadian society and enjoy the benefits of being a citizen.

Yet, permanent residency is still a valuable status. In particular for those looking to live and work in Canada on a long-term basis. It provides a path to Canadian citizenship and offers many of the same rights.

10. How is a PR Different From a Regular Visa?

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Visitor visas or work permits can be useful for short-term stays. But they do not provide the same level of security and stability as permanent residency. Canadian permanent residency allows individuals to live and work with most of the same rights as Canadian citizens.

In contrast, temporary visas have a specific purpose. They only allow individuals to stay in Canada for a limited time. Visitor visas are used for tourism or short-term visits with family or friends. Work permits are for individuals who have a job offer from a Canadian employer. Temporary visas do not provide the same level of stability as permanent residency. Visa holders must leave Canada once their visa expires.

So, temporary visas can be useful for certain purposes. Canadian PR is a more stable and long-term solution if you want to make Canada your home. It’s important to research the different options available to you. Consult with a qualified immigration professional to determine the best path forward.

As a permanent resident of Canada, it’s important to be aware of the ways in which you can lose your status. Here are some common reasons why someone might lose their permanent resident status in Canada:

10.1 Failure to Meet Requirements:

Permanent residents must meet residency requirements to maintain their status. This means that you must be physically present in Canada. This is for at least two years out of every five-year period. Failure to meet this rule could result in the loss of your permanent resident status.

10.2 Criminal Charges:

This is if you get convicted of a serious crime in Canada or another country.  This can deem you inadmissible to Canada. You could lose your permanent resident status.

10.3 False Information:

You cannot provide false or misleading information on your application. Lying in the immigration process for permanent residence means your status can be revoked.

10.4 Leaving Canada:

You can’t leave Canada for an extended period of time without obtaining a re-entry permit. This can be considered abandonment of your permanent resident status.

Note: If you are at risk of losing your PR status, it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

11. Can I Renounce my PR status?

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If you are a permanent resident of Canada and you wish to renounce your status, you can do so by following these steps:

11.1 Complete the Application to Renounce PR form:

You can download this form from the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

11.2 Gather Supporting Documents:

You will need to provide a copy of your PR card, your passport, and any other relevant documents.

11.3 Submit Your Application:

You can submit your application and supporting documents by mail. You can also do so in person at a Canadian visa office.

11.4 Wait For a Decision:

After submitting your application, you will need to wait for a decision from IRCC. After approval, you will receive a letter confirming that your PR status has been revoked.

If you’re already a permanent resident of Canada, you need to renew your PR card before it expires. You need to apply to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to renew the card.

Show that you’ve spent at least 730 days in Canada over the last five years. You’ll also need to provide updated personal information and photos. The processing time for renewal is usually around 104 days. But it can take longer if there are a lot of applications.

If your card has already expired, you might still be able to renew it if you have a good reason for the delay. If not, you might have to start over.

Besides meeting the residency requirement and there are a few other things to keep in mind. For instance, you may need to provide proof of your language proficiency. If you’ve changed your name, you’ll need to provide supporting documents. For example, a valid name change certificate will do.

Additionally, if you are convicted of a crime, you are inadmissible. It’s important to ensure that all necessary documents are included in your application. Ensure you meet all eligibility criteria to avoid any delays or issues.


Canada is a welcoming and inclusive country. It offers a multitude of benefits to its permanent residents. You have the opportunity to make a home in one of the most beautiful and prosperous countries in the world, as well. So, if you are considering making Canada your permanent home, take the leap. Explore all that this incredible country has to offer. You too can become a permanent resident of Canada and enjoy all the amazing things that come with it.

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