Canadian Permanent Residence Documents Online
Canadian Permanent Residence documents online. Permanent residency in Canada is a status granting someone who is not a Canadian citizen the right to live and work in Canada without any time limit on their stay. A permanent resident holds many of the same rights and responsibilities as a Canadian citizen, including the right to live, work (subject to some restrictions), and study in any province or territory of Canada.
Permanent residents participate in many of the same social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including becoming contributing members of the Canada Pension Plan and receiving coverage by their province or territory’s universal health care system. All permanent residents may avail themselves of the rights, freedoms, and protections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, other than those exclusively granted to citizens.
Permanent residents may apply for Canadian citizenship after living in Canada for a certain amount of time. Currently, a person must have been living in Canada as a permanent resident for three years out of the five years preceding their application (with up to one year of the time before becoming a permanent resident included). They also have the right to sponsor relatives for permanent residence, subject to fulfilling residence criteria and assurance of support requirements.
What are the residency requirements for permanent residents (PRs)?
As a permanent resident, you may travel outside Canada after you arrive. However, you must meet certain residency obligations to maintain your status as a permanent resident.
To meet these residency obligations, you must be physically present in Canada for at least 730 days (2 years) in every 5-year period. The 5-year period is assessed on a rolling basis. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will look back at your time in Canada over the previous 5 years.
This means that you can spend a total of up to 3 years outside of Canada during a 5-year period. However, if you have been a permanent resident for less than 5 years and decide to leave the country for an extended period of time, it is up to you to prove to IRCC that you will be able to meet your residency requirements.
If you are outside Canada for extended periods of time, you can accumulate residency days if you are:
- Travelling with a Canadian spouse or common-law partner, or are a child under 19 years of age accompanying a parent, or
- Employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or the Public Service of Canada and are assigned a position outside of Canada, or
- The spouse, common-law partner or child of a permanent resident who is outside Canada and who is employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or the Public Service of Canada.
If you are in Canada and an immigration officer determines that you have not complied with your residency obligations, the officer may issue a departure order that requires you to leave Canada.
If you are outside of Canada and do not meet residency obligations, immigration officers abroad may inform you in writing that you have lost your permanent residence status.
If you lose your permanent resident status, you can submit an appeal within 60 days of receiving the decision. If you appeal, the officer may consider humanitarian and compassionate reasons before making a final decision about your permanent resident status.
If you know that you will be out of the country for an extended period of time it is very important that you contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and let them know that you will be returning. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada no longer issues Returning Resident Permits.
If you plan to apply for Canadian citizenship, please note that time spent outside of Canada cannot be counted towards the citizenship residency requirements. Currently, you must spend at least 3 of the last 5 years (1,095 days) in Canada as a legal resident of Canada to be eligible to apply for citizenship. For more information, read How do I apply for Canadian citizenship?
If You Need to Travel Outside of Canada
You should wait until you have your Permanent Resident Card. If you can’t do this, you will have to apply for a Travel Document (Permanent Resident Abroad) before you re-enter Canada. This application is for permanent residents outside of Canada who need proof of their status so they can return to Canada.
For more information about documents required to return to Canada, please read:
- I need to leave Canada but do not have my PR Card yet. What should I do?
- Do I really need the PR Card to travel back to Canada?
For More Information
- Rights and Responsibilities of Permanent Residents – Find out what you need to know about living in Canada as a permanent resident.
- Do permanent residents lose their status if they spend time outside Canada? – Information about how to appeal if you lose your PR status. From Steps to Justice.
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) – The federal department responsible for Canadian immigration and citizenship. Its website has information on immigration policy, programs and services, application kits, and more.
- IRCC Help Centre – A tool that helps answer frequently asked questions on immigration matters. It offers several ways of searching through the information available, including search by keyword. From Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.