A permanent resident is someone who has been granted permanent resident status in Canada after immigrating. A permanent resident is, however, not a Canadian citizen. In other words, permanent residence status means that the holder (a citizen of a foreign country) is allowed to live and work in Canada permanently. A temporary visitor to Canada, such as a student or a foreign worker, is not a permanent resident.
Becoming a Permanent Resident
To become a permanent resident in Canada, you must apply through the Immigration and Refugee Board. Through the Government-Assisted Refugee Program or the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, refugees resettled from other countries may become permanent residents.
However, when a person applies for refugee status in Canada, he or she does not automatically become a permanent resident. The Immigration and Refugee Board must first approve their claim before they may become one. Put simply, they must first apply for and be granted permanent residency.
The Permanent Resident (PR) Card
The PR card is used to prove that you are a permanent resident of Canada. When traveling to Canada via a commercial means – such as an airplane, boat, railway, or bus – you will be required to show your PR card and passport.
Before returning to Canada by commercial means, PRs who do not have a valid PR card or who are not carrying one must apply for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD).
Use and Expiry of Permanent Residency
When traveling to Canada, permanent residents (PRs) must have their valid PR card or permanent resident travel document (PRTD) with them. You may be unable to board your flight, train, bus, or boat to Canada if you do not have your PR card or PRTD.
It is your obligation to check that your PR card is still valid when you return from your trip outside of Canada, and to apply for a new one when your present one expires. Please note that the expiry of the PR card does not mean loss of permanent residency. In other words, if your PR card expires, you do not lose your status as a permanent resident.
Benefits of Permanent Residency-
The following are some of the benefits of being a permanent resident in Canada:
- access to most social benefits available to Canadian citizens, including health care coverage,
- ability to apply for Canadian citizenship,
- opportunity to live, work or study anywhere in Canada, and
- coverage/protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
You must, however, note that these benefits also come with some obligations. You must respect all Canadian laws at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels, including payment of taxes.
Limitations and Conditions Attached to Permanent Residency
- As a permanent resident, you are not allowed to vote in an election or run for political office.
- You may not be allowed to hold jobs that need a high-level security clearance.
- To retain your permanent residency, you must have been in Canada for a minimum of 730 days in the last five years.
However, the 730 days don’t have to be consecutive. This means that some of your time outside Canada in the given period may count towards the 730 days.
How You May Lose Your Permanent Resident Status
As stated previously, the expiry of your permanent resident (PR) card does not make you lose your permanent resident status. Your permanent residency can be lost only through an official process. Your permanent residency can be lost in the following ways:
- After an inquiry or PRTD appeal, an adjudicator determines that you are no longer a permanent resident;
- A deportation order is issued against you and is carried out;
- You willingly renounce your status as a permanent resident;
- You become a citizen of Canada.