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Canada Permanent Resident Status – All You Need To Know

Last Updated On 7 February 2023, 10:09 AM EST (Toronto Time)

Canada has become a popular destination for potential immigrants who want to become Canadian Permanent Residents.

However, there are a lot of rules and regulations as well as technicality for permanent resident status, that permanent residents in Canada or future permanent residents must know.

Moreover, do you know know what it means to have a permanent resident status? Although most benefits are similar to citizens, some stark differences exist. 

In this article, we will help you understand all the aspects of Permanent Resident Status:

What does permanent resident status mean? 

A permanent resident is someone who has been granted permanent resident status after immigrating to Canada but is not a Canadian citizen. Generally, permanent residents are citizens of other countries.

Having a Canadian permanent resident status allows you to travel freely to Canada without needing a visa.

Nevertheless, when you return from a trip outside of Canada, you must check that your PR card is still valid and apply for a new one if necessary.

You do not lose your status as a permanent resident if your PR card expires.

However, when boarding a flight to Canada or travelling to Canada on a commercial airline, permanent residents (PRs) of Canada must have their current PR card or permanent resident travel document (PRTD).

You might not be allowed to board your airline, train, bus, or boat to Canada if you don’t have your PR card or PRTD.

A person does not acquire permanent residency when they apply for refugee or temporary status in Canada.

To become one, they must first have their claim accepted by the Immigration and Refugee Board. They must next apply for and obtain permanent resident status. 

Therefore, a visitor or temporary residents, such as a student or foreign worker, is not considered a permanent resident.

Why having your permanent resident (PR) card is important? 

You can prove that you are a Canadian permanent resident by showing your PR card. It allows you to enter and exit Canada freely. 

Hence, when returning to Canada on a commercial vehicle, such as an airplane, boat, railway, or bus, you must present your permanent resident card to prove your PR status and passport. 

If you are outside Canada without your current PR card or are not carrying one must apply for a permanent resident travel document.

This is because you could be refused entry if you return to Canada without your PR card or PRTD. 

What are the benefits of being a Canadian Permanent Resident?

You have the following privileges as a permanent resident:

  • obtain the most social benefits available to Canadian citizens, such as healthcare coverage
  • reside, work, or attend school anywhere in Canada
  • apply for citizenship in Canada
  • protection under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the legislation of Canada.

However, you must abide by all federal, provincial, and local laws in Canada and pay taxes to enjoy permanent residency benefits. 

What can Canadian Permanent Residents not do? 

Being a permanent resident, you are prohibited from the following:

  •  Voting or running for political office
  • Occupy certain positions requiring a high-level security clearance.

How long do you live in Canada to maintain your PR status?

You must have spent at least 730 days in Canada to maintain your permanent residence status during the last five years.

These 730 days do not have to run consecutively. In some cases, your time spent overseas could count toward 730 days.

Check if your time spent abroad counts toward becoming a permanent resident.

Use a travel journal to record your time spent in Canada. Additional techniques to determine your time in Canada include:

  • When you enter Canada, inquire with the border officer  
  • Obtain or apply to renew your PR card. IRCC will let you know if you are eligible. 

Losing your status as a permanent resident

When your PR card expires, you still retain your status as a permanent resident. Only if you go through an official procedure may you lose your status.

You risk losing your status as a permanent resident if:

  • After an investigation or PRTD appeal, an adjudicator concludes that you are no longer a permanent resident;
  • You choose to renounce your status as a permanent resident;
  • A removal order is issued and becomes effective against you; or
  • You acquire citizenship in Canada.

Remember, you remain a PR until a decision is reached about your status, even if you don’t match the residency requirement.

Renouncing your status as a permanent resident voluntarily

As mentioned earlier, you do not automatically lose your status as a permanent resident.

You might decide one day that you don’t want to live in Canada permanently. If so, you can voluntarily apply to renounce your permanent resident status.

For instance, if you:

  • You are aware that by spending a significant amount of time abroad, you have failed to fulfill your residency requirements, and
  • Would like to travel to Canada, and 
  • Are unwilling to wait for a visa officer to evaluate your status as a permanent resident formally.


  • would want to avoid delays at the Port of Entry 

You may be unable to enter Canada until your permanent resident status is resolved, either through the issuance of a permanent resident travel document or the voluntary surrender of your permanent resident status.

For more information, check out IRCC’s official Permanent Residents’ status page.

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