A permanent resident of Canada is an individual who has:
- immigrated to that country and
- subsequently been given permanent resident status
In this regard, it is important to understand that being a permanent resident of Canada is not the same as being a resident of that country. Permanent residents are, instead, still citizens of another country. In order to qualify for and maintain your status as a permanent resident, you have to meet various requirements including a residency obligation. This refers to an individual’s physical presence inside Canadian territory for a given period. To qualify for being granted permanent residency by Canada, an individual has to be physically present inside that country for 730 days (2 years) within a particular 5-year period or qualify for one of several exceptions.
How does one qualify to become a Permanent Resident Of Canada?
Various immigration pathways will make it possible for an individual to be granted Canada permanent residency. These include business immigration, economic immigration, humanitarian/refugee programs, and sponsorship.
What are the benefits of Canada Permanent Residency?
Being a permanent resident of Canada comes with quite a few important benefits. These include:
- The right to work, live, or study anywhere in the country
- Access to social services and healthcare
- The ability to enter or leave Canada at any time using your PRTD (Permanent Resident Travel Documents) or permanent resident card
- The protection of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the country’s legislation and legal system
- The option to apply to become a citizen of Canada after meeting the relevant requirements
How long is Canadian Permanent Residency valid?
Once you have PR (Permanent Resident) status in Canada, it does not expire. Even people who have been living outside Canada for several years might still be permanent residents of that country. You do, however, have to prove your permanent resident status if you want to enter Canada. This is normally done by simply presenting your PRTD or permanent resident card when arriving at the border.
If you are still a Canadian permanent resident but for some reason you no longer have a permanent resident card, there are two options available if you want to travel to Canada. You can do one of the following:
- Voluntarily give up your permanent resident status and subsequently submit an application for a visa or eTA
- Apply for a PRTD (PR travel document)
Which of the two options will be best depends on your particular set of circumstances, e.g. whether or not you at that stage still meet the necessary residency obligation to qualify for permanent residency.
If you want to prevent delays or getting stuck somewhere on your way to Canada, your best option is to plan well in advance. It will take time to process your application. Wait until you have your visa, eTA, or PRTD before you reserve the tickets for your journey to Canada.
Appling for Permanent Residency Travel Documents (PRTD)
As a Canadian permanent resident, you have the right to apply for a PRTD. If the application is approved, you will be able to use these documents to travel to Canada. Once inside the country, you can then submit an application for a PR card.
Before you apply for a PRTD, double-check that you meet all the requirements – particularly the residency obligation. To comply with this obligation, you typically have to prove that you have lived in Canada for at least 2 out of the last 5 years. There are, however, certain circumstances where the time you spent outside the country could also count toward the residency obligation.
Processing times depend on various factors, including the country from where you are applying. Do, therefore, not make final plans for your trip to Canada until you have a PRTD.
What happens if my PRTD application is denied?
If your PRTD application is not approved, you will receive an explanatory letter. This letter will also set out the other options you have left for traveling to Canada and what you need to do if you want to appeal the decision.
If you choose to appeal the decision, you have to do so within 60 days. Your PR status will not be affected until a decision is reached regarding the appeal. While you are waiting for a decision, you will unfortunately not be able to submit an application for another travel document. If you decide not to submit the appeal, your PR status will expire after the 60 days are over. At that stage, you will be able to apply for a visa or eTA to enter Canada.
Renouncing your Canadian PR Status
To renounce your PR status means you voluntarily decide to give it up. You might decide to do this under any of the following circumstances:
- You no longer intend to live in Canada in the future
- You do not meet the criteria for permanent residency, e.g. the residency obligation any longer
- You have no desire to keep your Canadian permanent residence status
Note that there is no obligation on you to renounce your PR status. However, if you decide to renounce it, you will still be able to apply for a visa or an eTA if you want to visit Canada.