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What is Permanent Resident Status in Canada - Benefits & Requirements

A Permanent Resident in Canada (formally knows as a Landed Immigrant in Canada) is someone who is not a Canadian citizen and has been granted permission to live and work in Canada without any time limit on his or her stay. A permanent resident must live in Canada for two years out of every five or risk losing that status. Time spent outside of Canada accompanying a Canadian citizen spouse is counted as time in Canada. Permanent resident status is official classification for a person who has been admitted to Canada as a non-citizen permanent resident. A person with such status is known as a permanent resident.

A Permanent Resident holds many of the same rights and responsibilities as a Canadian citizen, with the following exceptions:

  • Permanent residents cannot vote in Canadian elections
  • Cannot run for elected office
  • Cannot hold Canadian passports
  • Cannot hold certain jobs that have a high-level security clearance requirements.
Permanent residents may apply for Canadian citizenship after three years in Canada, however this is not a mandatory requirement.  Permanent Resident Card (PR Card) is the primary method by which Canadian permanent residents can prove their status.

As a permanent resident, you and your dependents have the following rights and benefits:

  • You will receive most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage.
  • You can live, work or study anywhere in Canada.
  • You may apply for Canadian citizenship after 3 years.
  • You will receive protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

You must pay taxes, and respect all Canadian laws at the federal, provincial and municipal levels.

To become a Permanent Resident / landed immigrant you must apply and get approved for the Permanent Resident Status. Once you have been granted your immigration status, you must normally enter Canada legally or land, from one of the designated ports of entry. If one is living in Canada as a temporary resident (e.g. on a study or work permit) and receives a permanent residency visa, s/he should exit Canada and re-enter via one of the ports of entry to officially land and achieve the landed immigrant status.

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