A Canadian permanent resident is someone who has been granted permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada. A permanent resident isn’t a Canadian citizen; rather, all permanent residents are citizens of other countries.
In order to sustain the permanent resident status, permanent residents must meet certain requirements just like the residency obligation.
As a permanent resident, an individual receives a notable number of benefits:
- Access to Canadian healthcare and social services.
- the authorization to stay, work, and study anywhere within Canada.
- Protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- the liberty to exit and enter Canada’s borders using their Canadian permanent resident card, or permanent resident travel documents (PRTD).
- the power to apply for Canadian citizenship after requirements are met.
There are many immigration pathways that can enable an individual to become a Canadian permanent resident.
Economic immigration, business immigration, sponsorship, and refugee/humanitarian programs offer different options for becoming a permanent resident in Canada.
Permanent Residence Cards
Once an individual is approved for Canadian permanent residence, they’re eligible to submit an application for a Canadian permanent resident card (PR card).
This card indicates a person’s permanent residence status in Canada and may be used to travel in and out of the country. Applications for permanent resident cards are submitted to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Permanent Residence Card Renewal
Most permanent resident cards are valid for five years, though occasionally PR cards are only valid for one year. Permanent residents are encouraged to monitor the expiration date and apply to renew their Canadian permanent resident card within six months of their card expiring.
Permanent Resident Travel Document
If a permanent resident is outside of Canada and wishes to enter Canada they can apply for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD) if they are do not possess an authentic permanent residence card.
The permanent resident travel document (PRTD) is typically valid for one entry to Canada, allowing the permanent resident to enter the country before applying for a PR card, or PR card renewal.
In order to sustain the permanent resident status in Canada, an individual must meet a residency obligation. The residency obligation refers to a person’s physical presence inside Canada for a specific period of time.
Canada’s residency obligation for permanent residents requires an individual to be physically present within the vicinity of Canada for a minimum of 730 days within a five-year period or to fall into one amongst several exceptions.
Foreign nationals wishing to become Canadian citizens must meet several requirements, including having valid permanent resident status in Canada.
Additionally, permanent residents wishing to become citizens have different residency obligations than those required for permanent resident status renewal.
Renouncing Permanent Resident Status
Permanent resident status isn’t automatically lost when a permanent residence card expires. Permanent residence status can only be lost through a formal process.
If an individual wants to renounce their permanent resident status, they’ll submit an application to voluntarily hand over their permanent resident status. This might save time during travels if an individual knows they did not meet their residency obligation and they have future intentions to visit Canada.