Permanent Residency

What is permanent residency?

Permanent residency is an immigration status in Canada given by an immigration officer to a foreign national that permits the foreign national to stay in Canada for an indefinite period of time. When a foreign national has been granted permanent residency status, they become a permanent resident of Canada. This is in contrast to temporary residency, which permits a foreign national to stay in Canada for a limited period of time

There are many different categories or classes of applications for permanent residency. These include:

  • The Family Class, consisting of:
    • The overseas spouse or common-law partner class;
    • The conjugal partner class;
    • The in-Canada spouse or common-law partner class;
    • The dependent child class; and
    • The parent or grandparent class
  • The Economic Class, consisting of:
    • the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSW), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and the Federal Skilled Trades (FST) Class, all of which are managed by the Express Entry management system;
    • the Quebec Skilled Worker Class (QSW), the Quebec Entrepreneur Class (QEC), the Quebec Investor Class (QIS) and the Quebec Self-Employed Persons Class (QSEP), all of which are managed by the Ministry of Immigration for Quebec in partnership with the Government of Canada;
    • the Provincial Nominee Class (PNP), managed by the Provinces and Territories of Canada jointly with the Government of Canada, including those for skilled workers, workers in demand, international student graduates in Canada, entrepreneurs and investors;
    • the start-up business class, including the Start-up Visa Class (SUV) and the Self-Employed Persons Class (SEPC);
    • the Convention Refugees Abroad (CRA) Class;
    • the Country of Asylum Classes (CAC);
    • the Protected Temporary Resident Class (PTR); and
    • the (Temporary Resident) Permit Holder Class (TRP Class).

Applications for permanent residency may also be made and approved on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds (H&C), on grounds of Public Policy or by the discretion of the Minister of Immigration who believes that the grant of a permanent residency visa to a foreign national is in the best interests of Canada. Approvals based on public policy or Ministerial discretion are extremely rare.


Where do I apply for permanent residency?

An application for permanent residency must be made to the Government of Canada. Applications must be made either on-line (electronically) to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) through the website of the Government of Canada, by paper courier inside of Canada to a Case Processing Centre, or by paper-courier to a Visa Application Centre (VAC), Embassy, Consulate, Consulate General, Overseas Mission or other Government of Canada visa post abroad. Each class of permanent residency has different requirements as to the method or mode of submission.


How do I apply for permanent residency?

Persons interested in applying for permanent residency to Canada must identify a class of permanent residency they believe they are eligible for in their application, complete all required forms, questionnaires and checklists and submit these with all required documentation, in order for their permanent residency applications to be considered. Permanent residency applications can be found incomplete or be refused if not all these items are completed or submitted.


When can I apply for permanent residency?

Each class of permanent residency has different dates and times for when you can apply. Some permanent residency classes remain open all the time. Others are only open for specific periods of time throughout the year. The dates and times that permanent residency programs remain open for application are available on the website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or the websites of the provincial nominee programs (PNP) run by the various Provinces of Canada. You can also consult with an immigration lawyer to help you determine whether permanent residency program is open or when it is expected to open. Mandelbaum Immigration Lawyers can help you determine when your permanent residency program opens. Simply provide us with your name, email address and phone number by filling out our comment card, or by emailing us at info@dmandelbaum.com, and our office will contact you to arrange a consultation with a lawyer.


What documents do I need to apply for permanent residency for Canada?

Each class of application also has different documentary requirements. At a minimum, every applicant for permanent residency must prove through documentation that they wish to establish permanent residence in Canada, identify the class of immigration under which they are applying, demonstrate through documentation that they meet the eligibility requirements of that class, provide a valid passport (unless they are a member of a refugee class), pass an immigration medical examination, and pass a security clearance usually involving the submission of clear police criminal records checks and consent to the Government of Canada contacting foreign governments, international organizations, or other international agencies, organization non-governmental organisations for the purpose of determining that you or your family members are not inadmissible to Canada.

Additionally, applicants may also be required to provide biometrics, including fingerprinting and retinal eye scans, medical examination reports or police records checks.

Other documents may also be requested by the permanent residency visa officer.

The list of documentation noted here is not intended to be exhaustive. It is recommended that you consult the document checklist for the Case Processing Centre or visa office and with an immigration lawyer to determine what documents you may need to apply for permanent residency for Canada.

Failure to provide all required documentation or information may result in the refusal of your permanent residency application, a finding of not being truthful or forthright, a finding of misrepresentation, or another negative finding that may limit your ability to apply for or obtain permanent residency or any other type of visa for Canada in the future.  


I was refused permanent residency for Canada. Can I appeal the decision or apply again?

It is recommended that you consult with an immigration lawyer if you have been refused or denied a Work Permit to Canada.

Appealing a refusal: Applications for permanent residency may be appealed in different ways, depending on the class of application. Some appeals can be made by submitting a request for reconsideration to the visa office, others by submitting an appeal to the Immigration Division, or by initiating an Application for Leave and for Judicial Review (JR) in the Federal Court of Canada (FCC).

Reconsideration request: A request for reconsideration must usually be made directly to the Work Permit processing office which refused the application or to Case Management Branch and must be made shortly after you receive the refusal decision. Delays in submitting a request for reconsideration may result in the request being ignored or the documentation upon which the decision was based being archived or destroyed. Furthermore, requests for reconsideration made after a long passage of time may result in the presumption of a change in circumstances and the information or documentation which was submitted may no longer be considered reliable or indicative of a person’s eligibility for the permanent residency.

Applications to the Immigration Division or to the Federal Court of Canada for Leave and for Judicial Review: There are various conditions and time limitations for initiating an appeal to the Immigration Division, Immigration Appeal Division or the Federal Court of Canada for an Application for Leave and for Judicial Review. Different classes of permanent residency made inside or outside of Canada have different appeal routes available to them. If you have been refused an application for permanent residency, it is recommended that you contact an immigration lawyer immediately to determine the appropriate appeal route and initiate the appeal process before your time for submitting an appeal has expired.

Re-applying for permanent residency: Persons who have been refused permanent residency can also typically apply again with new or additional documentation or information at any time. There is typically no waiting period required by law.

However, there are some exceptions. Persons who have been found to have misrepresented are barred from applying for a visa for 5 years. Persons who have been found to have committed certain violations of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) may be required to apply for and obtain Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) before they may be permitted to apply for a visa to Canada. Persons who have been found criminally inadmissible to Canada may have to apply for and obtain Criminal Rehabilitation before they may be permitted to apply for a visa to Canada. Persons who have engaged in unauthorized work or study in Canada may be ineligible from applying for a Work Permit until a period of 6 months has passed since they have ceased their unauthorized work or study in Canada.


What are my rights as a permanent resident of Canada?

Permanent residents have the right to enter and remain in Canada. This right is constitutionally protected by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms (The Charter). The Charter affords Canadian permanent residents the right to live, work, study or move within anywhere in Canada.


What are my obligations as a permanent resident of Canada?

Canada’s immigration laws impose obligations upon permanent residents. These obligations include living in Canada for a certain period of time – 2 years in every 5-year period – and not to engage in certain activities, such as any serious criminal activity, terrorist activity or activities intended to subvert the interests of Canada or its allies.


What document do I receive when I become a Permanent Resident of Canada?

Upon being accepted as a permanent resident, an applicant for permanent residency is provided with a Confirmation of Permanent Residency document (CoPR) and, if outside of Canada, a single-entry permanent residency visa (PRV). In order to become a permanent resident and acquire permanent immigration status, a foreign national or a temporary resident must attend a “landing interview” to acquire their landed immigrant or permanent residency status. An officer administering the landing interview has the final say on whether or not to grant permanent residency. This means that even if a person has received a CoPR, if new facts develop following the issuance of the CoPR, or facts which had developed prior to its issuance were not disclosed to the immigration department which may have been relevant to the application for permanent residency, an immigration officer conducting a landing interview may refuse to issue permanent residency and cancel the application for permanent residency.

If approved for permanent residency following the landing interview, an immigration officer will request that you provide an address in Canada for the immigration department to send you your Permanent Residency Card (PR Card). This card is issued with a 5-year expiry date from the date that you became a permanent resident and it is renewable.


Am I still a permanent resident of Canada if my PR Card expired?

You may still be a permanent resident of Canada after your Permanent Resident Card (PR Card) has expired. A PR Card does not determine your status. Instead, it is one type of proof that you are a permanent resident of Canada, and permits you to travel to Canada, in the same way that a passport may be one type – but not the only type – of proof that a person may have to show that they are a citizen of a country. Your permanent residency status can only be revoked through an active decision by an immigration officer or visa officer to revoke that status. The expiration of a PR Card does not necessarily mean that you have lost or will lose your parament residency status.

If your PR Card has expired and you are inside of Canada, you can renew your PR Card in Canada. You can also apply to renew your PR Card before it has expired. In your application for your PR Card renewal, you will be required to demonstrate that you have complied with your permanent residency obligations, including your residency obligation, and are not otherwise inadmissible.

If you have not complied with your obligations or you have become inadmissible to Canada, your application for a PR Card may trigger a finding by an immigration officer of non-compliance with your obligations or inadmissibility accompanied by a decision to revoke your permanent residency status. If an officer recommends this finding, you are typically granted the right to attend an in-person oral hearing in Canada to determine the reasons that your permanent residency status is being revoked and may challenge that decision through oral testimony and evidence presented before an immigration judge.

If you are outside of Canada, you cannot apply to renew your PR Card. If your PR Card is expiring soon and you can return to Canada, you can apply to renew your PR Card once you return to Canada.

If your PR Card has expired and you are outside of Canada, you may apply for a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) in order to travel back to Canada. A PRTD is typically valid for a single trip to Canada and is issued by a Visa Application Centre (VAC), Embassy, Consulate, Consulate General, Overseas Mission or other Government of Canada visa post abroad. In your application for your PRTD, you will be required to demonstrate that you have complied with your permanent residency obligations, including your residency obligation, and are not otherwise inadmissible.

As with an application for a PR Card renewal, if you have not complied with your obligations or you have become inadmissible to Canada, your application for a PRTD may trigger a finding by an immigration officer of non-compliance with your obligations or inadmissibility accompanied by a decision to revoke your permanent residency status. Similarly, if an officer recommends this finding, you are typically granted the right to attend an in-person oral hearing in Canada to determine the reasons that your permanent residency status is being revoked and may challenge that decision through oral testimony and evidence presented before an immigration judge.

It is recommended that you consult with an immigration lawyer before applying to renew your PR Card or applying for a PRTD help you determine whether you are eligible, in compliance with your obligations and not otherwise inadmissible. Mandelbaum Immigration Lawyers can assess your compliance with your obligations and admissibility. Simply provide us with your name, email address and phone number by filling out our comment card, or by emailing us at info@dmandelbaum.com, and our office will contact you to arrange a consultation with a lawyer.


Is a Permanent Resident of Canada given a Canadian passport?

A permanent resident of Canada is not provided with a Canadian passport. Instead, a Permanent Resident of Canada may be given a Permanent Resident Card (PR Card) or a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) for the purposes of traveling to and entering Canada. A PR Card or a PRTD may not necessarily allow a person to travel to or enter a country other than Canada. However, some countries permit permanent residents of Canada to seek entry and remain in their countries by presenting a PR Card or PRTD, while others require a special travel document to be issued, such as an internationally recognized refugee travel document. Other countries may only admit persons with valid national passports and may still require such persons to obtain travel visas prior to traveling to or seeking entry into their country.


When can a permanent resident apply for Canadian citizenship?

Permanent residents who abide by their obligations, and who meet certain other criteria, may, after a period of time as permanent residents, apply for Canadian citizenship. This period of time is typically following a minimum of 3 years of physical presence in Canada in a 5-year period. Additional requirements may include: being a resident in Canada for at least 180 days in at least 3 years in the past 5-year period, being a tax resident in Canada for at least 3 years in the past 5-year period, passing a citizenship test, passing a language test, meeting with a Citizenship judge, and swearing or affirming the Oath of Citizenship. Upon completion of these requirements, a permanent resident becomes a Naturalized Canadian Citizen with all of the rights of citizenship included in The Charter.


Can you conduct a Permanent Residency assessment for me?

Mandelbaum Immigration Lawyers can conduct a Permanent Residency assessment for you. Simply provide us with your name, email address and phone number by filling out our comment card, or by emailing us at info@dmandelbaum.com, and our office will contact you to arrange a consultation with a lawyer.