Your Permanent Resident Card and You

With Canada as an ideal country to move to – with its low unemployment rate and high quality of life – many people are interested in the permanent residency.

The permanent resident status is not – in fact – a different term for Canadian citizenship.

So what is it? How do you get it?

This article will answer your questions about the permanent resident card.


What is the Permanent Resident Status?

Some people have asked us about something called “landed immigrant”.  That was originally the term for “permanent resident”.

Anyone who applies for Canadian citizenship, must first become a Canadian permanent resident.  A permanent resident, however, doesn’t have to apply for citizenship.

In simple terms, a permanent resident is not a Canadian citizen.  They are citizens of other nationalities who wish to reside and work legally in Canada.

A permanent residency is – as its name suggests – permanent.  There is no time limit on a permanent resident’s stay in Canada.

A permanent resident may choose to keep this status indefinitely, and never apply for citizenship.

Why would someone choose to remain a permanent resident and not become a full citizen?

Well, what if you’re a citizen of another nationality which doesn’t allow adding an additional citizenship?

It’s also useful for people who applied for citizenship but failed to fulfill their obligations – they still get to have the dream life in Canada with nearly full benefits.


Is Permanent Residency in Canada a Canadian Citizenship?

How is the permanent resident status different from a full Canadian citizenship?

Otherwise put: why would you want to be a citizen, when you can settle for a permanent residency?

The answer to this question is surprisingly – there’s almost no difference at all!

As a permanent resident, you enjoy nearly all the same rights and benefits that Canadian citizens do.

You would get health care coverage and other social benefits as Canadian citizens do.

You can reside, work and study anywhere in Canada, apply for Canadian citizenship, and have the full protection of Canadian law as citizens do.

There are few things you wouldn’t be able to do;  You wouldn’t be able to hold some of the nation’s positions that require high-level security clearance.

When travelling, you’d have to use your valid passport along with the permanent resident card when re-entering Canadian territory.

Most importantly, you will not have the right to vote or run for office.


So don’t expect to be the next Trudeau!

A Little Tip

Time you spend outside Canada can also count as time spent inside Canada in some cases, and so not cause your permanent residency time to lapse.

Here are ways to travel outside of Canada and have it count as time inside Canada:

Time spent outside Canada may also count towards the two years if you are:

  • Travelling with your spouse who is a Canadian citizen,
  • A dependent child travelling with a parent who is a Canadian citizen,
  • The employee of a business based in Canada.

It may also count as time spent in Canada if you are:

  • Travelling with your spouse who is a permanent resident and works full-time for:
    • a Canadian business, or
    • the public service of Canada or a province,
  • A child travelling a parent who is a permanent resident and who works full-time for:
  • a Canadian business, or
  • the public service of Canada or a province.
  • The employee of the public service of Canada or a province and you are on a full-time assignment to:
    • a position outside Canada,
    • a partner business outside Canada, or
    • a client of the Canadian business or the public service outside Canada.

This is why you are encouraged when travelling to fill out a travel journal.

Documenting your travels outside of Canada will help keep your permanent residency from expiring as well as facilitate in the citizenship process, should you choose to apply.

The details required for your travel journal:

  • The date you exited Canada and the date you re-entered to Canada, even if it’s the same day
  • Countries you visited
  • Why you left – give examples like vacation, work, family, etc.
  • Include any day trips (less than 24 hours), including to the United States
  • When the journal is full, keep it safe and print a new copy.


who doesn’t love journaling


A Way Out

The Canadian government may revoke a permanent residency, and you may voluntarily renounce your permanent resident status.

Why would you renounce your permanent residency?

As a permanent resident, you may live outside of Canada, but you’re obligated to live in Canada for a minimum period of 2 years in a span of 5 years.

If you stay outside of Canada longer, your minimum permanent residency time will lapse and your permanent residency will expire.

An expired status does not mean a revoked status in this case.

A permanent resident whose time expired retains the permanent resident status, but may not enter Canada until their permanent residency is processed.

The renewal process currently takes approximately 100 days from the time of application.

For someone who urgently need to re-enter Canada renouncing the permanent residency in exchange for a tourist visa would help expedite their entrance.

Additionally, losing the permanent resident status will happen if one of these actions are taken:

  • An adjudicator determines the permanent resident is no longer a permanent resident after an inquiry or PRTD appeal;
  • The permanent resident voluntarily renounces their permanent resident status through due process;
  • A removal order is made against the permanent resident and comes into force; or
  • The permanent resident becomes a Canadian citizen.

Who wants to be a permanent resident? I do! I do! 🙂
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