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A Canadian permanent resident is a person who has been granted status of permanent residency by the Canadian government upon immigrating to Canada. It must be noted that a permanent resident is not a Canadian citizen and does not hold Canadian passport. Instead, all permanent residents are citizens of their respective countries. In order to maintain their permanent residency status, permanent residents must meet certain requirements, like the residency obligation.

Here are some of the benefits that a person receives as a permanent resident in Canada:

  • Access to Canadian social services and healthcare.
  • The right to live, work, and study anywhere across 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).
  • The ability to apply for Canadian citizenship once requirements are met.

Immigration Pathways

There are number of immigration pathways that enable a person to become a permanent resident in Canada. Some of the options are business immigration, economic immigration, refugee/humanitarian programs and sponsorship.

One can apply for a Canadian PR card (permanent resident card) after Canadian permanent residence. This card can be used to travel in/out of Canada. To obtain PR cards, applications are submitted to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

While most PR cards are valid for five years, some may be valid for one year. Permanent residents can apply for renewal of their cards after 4.5 years.

A permanent resident may apply for a PRTD (permanent resident travel document) if they are outside Canada and wish to enter Canada if they do not have a valid PR card. The document is generally valid for a single entry, allowing the permanent resident to enter the country before applying for a PR card or PR card renewal.

A person must meet residency obligation to maintain his/her permanent residency status in Canada. It refers to the person’s physical presence inside Canada for at least 730 days within a 5-year period. There are several exceptions too.

Foreign nationals who wish to become Canadian citizens must meet number of requirements, including having valid PR status in Canada. On the other hand, permanent residents looking to become citizens have different residency obligations as compared to those for permanent resident status renewal.

Permanent resident status can only be renounced through an official process, and not automatically (like expiration of PR card). Person wanting to give up their permanent resident status may submit an application.