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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 permanent residents can do

As a permanent resident, you have the right to:

  • get 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.

You 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.

Time spent living in Canada

When you are a permanent resident, you can live outside of Canada, but must live in Canada for at least two years in five-year period. If you live outside of Canada for longer, you may lose your permanent resident status.

Please contact us when you need more information on how long you have to live in Canada.

How to become a permanent resident


Please click one of categories below.

Economic Classes

Express Entry : Federal Skilled Workers (FSW)/Federal Skilled Trades (FST) /  Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

                Business Class: Start-up Business Class / Self-employed Persons Class / Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) Program

Provincial Nominee Program: BC PNP Skills Immigration & Express Entry BC Program / BC Entrepreneur Program

                Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program: Open in March 2017

Non-economic classes

                Family Class: Spouse, partner&dependent children Sponsorship / Parents & Grandparents Sponsorship / Adopted children or other relatives

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