Permanent Resident Status > Understanding of PR Status

Understanding of PR Status

Permanent resident status is granted to a person who immigrated to Canada under one of the federal or provincial immigration programs.

The first thing that you need to understand is that a permanent resident is a person who has been given permanent resident status in Canada by immigration authorities. He or she can’t be Canadian citizens. Permanent residents are only citizens of foreign countries.

Any person that is in Canada temporarily or for a short time, like a foreign worker or student, is NOT considered to be a permanent resident. Resettled from overseas refugees receive permanent resident status through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program or the Government-Assisted Refugee Program.

Someone who claims refugee status in Canada does not immediately become a permanent resident. To become one, the Immigration and Refugee Board must first agree on their claim. Then, they must submit an application and get that status.

The permanent resident (PR) card

The PR card shows that you have Canadian permanent resident status. If you travel outside Canada, you will need to show your passport and your card when you come back on any public vehicle, like a boat, airplane, bus or train.

Note that permanent residents that want to travel outside Canada and who don’t have a valid PR card, or who are not carrying it, must apply for a permanent resident travel document. They should do it before coming back to Canada by any commercial vehicle.

Permanent residents’ rights:

If you have permanent residence, you can:

  • Get the majority of social benefits that Canadian citizens have. (That includes health care coverage as well).
  • Live, study or work wherever you want in Canada.
  • Submit an application for Canadian citizenship.
  • Have protection under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and general Canadian law.

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

Permanent residents’ prohibitions

You are not allowed to:

  • Run or vote for political office.
  • Work at some jobs that require a high-level safety clearance.

Living in Canada

When you have a permanent residence, you can live outside of Canada, but must live in Canada for no less than two years in a five-year period. If you live abroad for a longer period, you may lose your PR status.

Travel journal

We recommend that you keep a record of all your trips outside of Canada. That will help you a lot when you fill out your application.

Losing your PR status

You don’t lose your permanent resident status when your PR card expires. A person can only lose it if he or she goes through the official process.

You can lose your permanent resident status if:

  • A judge determines that you are no longer a permanent resident after PRTD appeal or inquiry.
  • You willingly give up your permanent resident status.
  • You receive a removal order against you and it comes into force.
  • Or get Canadian citizenship.

You are still a PR until an official decision is made on your status, even if you don’t meet the residency obligation.

Willingly giving up (renouncing) PR status

You can’t lose your permanent resident status automatically. It just doesn’t happen that way. There is a special procedure that you must follow.

If the time comes that you no longer want to be a permanent resident of Canada, you can apply to renounce your PR status voluntarily.

For example, if you:

  • Know you have been outside of Canada for a long period and therefore don’t meet your residency obligations, and
  • Would like to have a chance to visit Canada, and
  • Don’t want to wait for a visa officer to do a formal review of your permanent resident status.


  • Would like to stay away from processing delays at the Port of Entry of your choice

You may not be able to come to Canada until your PR status resolves either by receiving a PR travel document or by renouncing your PR status willingly.

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January 2019

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