How to Become a Permanent Resident in Canada

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How to Get Permanent Residency in Canada

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If you plan to move to Canada or have recently moved there from another country, then you will have to apply for permanent residency. A permanent resident in Canada is someone who lives in Canada but is a citizen of another country. But how do you apply for permanent residency and what does it actually mean to be a permanent resident of Canada?

What does it mean to be a permanent resident of Canada?

Permanent residency in Canada basically means that you are living in Canada despite being a citizen of another country. People who are granted visas to move into Canada start the permanent residency process when they arrive. Work or study visas do not imply permanent residency.

Privileges of permanent residents in Canada
  • You can live, study, and work in Canada
  • You have protection from crimes and access to all the rights given in The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • You can receive most social benefits that Canadian citizens enjoy, including provincial healthcare 
  • You can freely enter and leave Canada as long as you have a permanent resident card
  • You can apply for Canadian citizenship after a period of time, by passing some tests
Restrictions of permanent residents in Canada
  • You must pay taxes and adhere to any local laws and regulations at a provincial or federal level
  • You can lose your permanent resident status and be deported if you commit a serious crime
  • You can't vote for Canadian officials
  • You can't run for Canadian office
  • If you wish to travel out of Canada frequently, you must spend at least two out of every five years living in Canada. If you spend less time than that in Canada, you can lose your resident status
Permanent resident cards: These cards are not necessary for being a permanent resident, but will be necessary if you plan on leaving Canada and re-entering the country. They usually need to be renewed every five years. A permanent residency card is sometimes mailed to you after you have moved in to Canada as part of the immigration process.

You could also apply for the permanent residency card before you move and wait until it is fully processed before coming to Canada. If you enter Canada before this slower processing time as a visitor, you may not be able to access all of the privileges a permanent resident can have for a few months while your card is processed.

How to gain permanent residency

The process of gaining permanent residency is deceptively simple: immigrate to Canada and live there for some time. There are several immigration programs in place for potential Canadian residents. You can review them all and choose the best option for you on Canada's government website. Officially recognized refugees also gain permanent resident status quickly in Canada. The most common means of immigrating to Canada is the skilled worker class which awards points towards eligibility based on a variety of factors. Here are some things that you can get points for:
  • Having family in Canada
  • Being an adult who is not elderly
  • Having no criminal history
  • College-level or higher education
  • Fluency in English or French
  • Being a potential asset to the Canadian economy
  • Being rich and/or famous
You will need to gather supporting documents to prove all of these things, but most can be submitted online. Canada is relatively immigration-friendly and the process of becoming a resident is not as difficult as it can be in some other countries.

Going from temporary to permanent residency

If you applied for a temporary visa to move to Canada through the work or study immigration programs, you still can become a permanent resident through the Canadian Experience Class program. You will need to prove that you have at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada. You may be asked to provide evidence that you are fluent in English or French and have committed no crimes during your time in Canada.

All these applications carry small fees, but they won't break your budget. Being a permanent resident in Canada is nearly the same as being a Canadian citizen. It is no wonder why so many people choose Canada as a destination for an international move.

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on July 24, 2014 - Moving Expert
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