Permanent Residency in Canada

As a permanent resident, you receive certain rights and privileges, even though you remain a citizen of your home country.

What permanent residents can do

As a permanent resident, you and your family have the right:

    • To receive most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage
    • To live, work or study anywhere in Canada
    • To apply for Canadian citizenship. Contact us for more information on becoming a Canadian citizen.
    • To 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

As a permanent resident, you and your family cannot:

    • Vote or run for political office
    • Hold certain jobs that have a high-level security clearance requirement
    • Remain in Canada if you are convicted of a serious criminal offence and have been told to leave the country.

Keeping your permanent resident status

Your permanent resident status allows you to live in Canada, but there is also a time limit on how long you can live outside the country. To keep your status as a permanent resident, you must live in Canada for at least two years within a five-year period.

See residency obligation information

Losing your permanent resident status

There are several ways you could lose your permanent resident status:

    • A permanent resident who does not meet their residency obligations could lose permanent resident status.
    • If convicted of a serious crime, a permanent resident may be deported from Canada.

See residency obligation information


Permanent residents may apply for citizenship after accumulating three years of residence in Canada.

To acquire Canadian citizenship, applicants must demonstrate knowledge of either English or French, Canada as a nation, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.


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