A Canadian permanent resident is someone who has been granted permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada. A permanent resident is not a Canadian citizen but a citizen of other countries who has legal rights to live, school, and work in Canada. To maintain PR status, permanent residents must meet certain requirements like the residency obligation. As well, after being a permanent resident for a certain amount of time, permanent residents are eligible to apply to become Canadian citizens.
Notably, Canadian permanent residents do not have the right to vote in Canadian elections.
Importance of Canda PR
As a permanent resident, a person receives a significant number of benefits just as a Canadian citizen. This includes:
- Access to Canadian healthcare and social services.
- The right to live, work and study anywhere within Canada.
- Protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- The ability to leave and enter Canada’s borders using their Canadian permanent resident card, or permanent resident travel documents (PRTD).
- Free education for children and social provisions for the entire family
- Accessibility to the USA
- The ability to apply for Canadian citizenship after requirements are met.
Canadian Residency Requirements
As a permanent resident, you may travel outside Canada after you arrive. However, you must meet certain residency obligations to maintain your status as a permanent resident. The residency obligation refers to a person’s physical presence inside of Canada for a set amount of time. To meet these residency obligations, you must be physically present in Canada for at least 730 days (2 years) within 5 years or to fall under one of several exceptions. These exceptions are valid if you are:
- Travelling with a Canadian legal partner, or are a child under 19 years of age accompanying a parent, or
- Employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or the Public Service of Canada and are assigned a position outside of Canada, or
- The legal partner or child of a permanent resident who is outside Canada and who is employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or the Public Service of Canada.
If you know that you will be out of the country for an extended period you must contact Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and let them know that you will be returning.
Canada Permanent Residence Card
Once a person is approved for Canadian permanent residence, they are eligible to apply for a Canadian permanent resident card (PR card). This card indicates a person’s PR status in Canada and can be used to travel in and out of the country. The PR card is usually valid for five years, but in very rare cases may only be valid for one year. Canada only sends PR cards to addresses within the country. In some cases, you may have to pick up your card in person at one of the Canadian government offices.
It is advised that permanent residents obtain their PR card because:
- It demonstrates proof of status – that the person is a permanent resident
- This card allows permanent residents to travel outside of Canada’s borders without worries.
Applications for permanent resident cards are submitted to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). After three years of stay and work with the Canadian PR card, you can apply for Canadian Citizenship.
Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD)
For permanent residents outside of Canada who need proof of their status so they can return to Canada but do not have a valid PR card, then they would need to apply for a PRTD. The PRTD is usually valid for a single entry to Canada, allowing the permanent resident to re-enter the country before applying for a PR card, or PR card renewal.
Permanent Residence Card Renewal
Most permanent resident cards are valid for five years, though occasionally PR cards are only valid for one year. It is advised that permanent residents maintain note of their expiration date and apply to renew their Canadian permanent resident card within six months of the card’s expiration.
Losing & Renouncing Permanent Resident Status
The right to remain in a country permanently does not end when a PR card expires. The only way to lose PR status is through an official procedure. If you lost your permanent resident status, you can submit an appeal within 60 days of receiving the decision.
If a person wants to renounce their permanent resident status, they may apply to voluntarily give up their permanent resident status. This may save time during travels if a person knows they have not met their residency obligation and they intend to travel to Canada.
Do You Need a Job Offer to Immigrate to Canada?
No! The vast majority of all Canadian permanent residents do not have a job offer in Canada when they apply. While some Canadian immigration programs require applicants to have a Canadian job offer, there is a range of programs and options available to foreign immigrants without an offer of employment in Canada.
Immigration Cost to Canada
If you don’t already have a job lined up in Canada, you’ll need an adequate amount of savings to get you through the first three months while you settle into your new life. As soon as you arrive in Canada, you’ll need to pay for necessities like groceries, rent, transportation, and utilities.
To ensure that you don’t run out of money before you’ve received your first paycheck, the Canadian government requires that all permanent resident applicants have an adequate amount of savings as indicated in the infographic above.
Certain situations may arise such that it becomes possible for the Canadian government to accelerate the processing of a permanent resident card. To qualify for urgent permanent resident card processing, you must be travelling within the next three months due to:
- A job opportunity;
- A serious illness;
- The death of a family member;
- Work-related to your current job, or;
- Serious illness of a family member.
The Canadian government cannot, however, guarantee that an individual who qualifies for urgent processing will have their applications processed immediately or will promptly receive PR cards.