What it means to be a Permanent Resident

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Permanent Residents are people that have immigrated to Canada, but are not yet Canadian citizens. Permanent residents have rights and privileges in Canada, with a few limitations.

Rights include:

  • Social benefits, such as healthcare and Canadian pension
  • Live, work or study anywhere in Canada
  • Apply for Canadian citizenship
  • Be protected by Canadian law

Permanent Residents cannot:

  • Vote in elections
  • Remain in Canada if convicted of a serious crime and be ordered to leave Canada

To maintain permanent resident status, permanent residents must meet the residency requirements.  They must live in Canada for at least two years (730 days) within a five-year period. This time can be accumulated over a five-year period. Permanent residents must prove they’ve met this residency requirement when renewing their permanent resident card or applying for Canadian citizenship. Citizenship and Immigration Canada can revoke permanent residency if someone has not met these residency requirements or has been convicted of a serious crime.

There are some exceptions, where you can count time spent outside Canada towards permanent residency. These include:

  1. Accompanying a Canadian spouse or parent outside Canada
  2. Working outside Canada for a Canadian business or Canadian public service
  3. Accompanying permanent resident spouse or parent outside Canada who is employed full-time by a Canadian business or Canadian public service

For more information on becoming a permanent resident or maintaining your status, contact us.



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