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FAQ Permanent Resident

Who is a permanent resident?

A permanent resident is someone who has been given permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada, but is not a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents are citizens of other countries. A person in Canada temporarily, like a student or foreign worker, is not a permanent resident. Refugees who are resettled from overseas become permanent residents through the Government-Assisted Refugee Program or the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program. Someone who makes a refugee claim in Canada does not become a permanent resident at that time. To become one, the Immigration and Refugee Board must first approve their claim. Then, they must apply for and get permanent resident status.

What rights does a permanent resident have?

  • Gets most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage;
  • Live, work or study anywhere in Canada;
  • Apply for Canadian citizenship;
  • Protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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

What permanent residents cannot do?

You are not allowed to:

  • Vote or run for political office;
  • Hold some jobs that need a high-level security clearance.

Can I lose my permanent resident status?

You cannot lose your permanent resident status simply by living outside of Canada long enough that you don’t meet the residency requirement. Unless you have gone through an official process, you have not lost or given up your permanent resident status, even though you may not be eligible to return to Canada as a permanent resident. You may lose your permanent resident status if:

You may lose your permanent resident status in one of the ways described above if:

  • you do not live in Canada for two out of five years;
  • you are convicted of a serious crime and told to leave Canada; or
  • you become a Canadian citizen.

You do not lose your permanent resident status if your PR card expires. If you know you no longer want to be a permanent resident of Canada, you can apply to voluntarily give up your permanent residence status. For further information, contact us.