Who is a Permanent Resident in Canada?
A permanent resident is someone who has immigrated to Canada and has been given permanent resident status but is not a citizen of Canada. Permanent residents (PR) are citizens of other countries. Permanent Residents enjoy many of the same benefits as Canadian citizens. They need to maintain residency obligation to maintain status as a PR. A PR card is proof of the PR status of the cardholder in Canada. If you travel outside Canada, you will need to show your card and your passport when you come back on a commercial vehicle, like an airplane, boat, train or bus.
Permanent residents enjoy the most social benefits as Canadian citizens, including health care coverage. They are protected under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, they are not allowed to:
- vote or run for political office,
- hold some jobs that need a high-level security clearance.
Losing permanent resident status
Did you know that you don’t lose your permanent resident status when your PR card expires? As a permanent resident, if your card expires or gets lost while you are outside Canada, you can apply for a Permanent Resident Travel Document and can use your PRTD to travel to Canada.
You can lose your permanent resident status if:
- an adjudicator determines you are no longer a permanent resident after an inquiry or PRTD appeal;
- you voluntarily renounce your permanent resident status;
- a removal order is made against you and comes into force; or
- you become a Canadian citizen.
Even if you don’t meet the residency obligation, you are still a PR until an official decision is made on your status.
Renouncing permanent resident status
Losing your permanent resident status does not happen automatically. You can renounce your PR status by applying to give up your status.
There may come a time when you no longer want to be a permanent resident of Canada. If so, you can apply to voluntarily give up (renounce) your permanent resident status. To renounce your status as a permanent resident, you must:
- be a permanent resident of Canada;
- have citizenship or valid legal permanent resident status in another country.
You may not be able to enter Canada until your permanent resident status is resolved either by receiving a permanent resident travel document or by voluntarily giving up your permanent resident status.