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
- What permanent residents cannot do
- Keeping your permanent resident status
- Losing your permanent resident status
- The Permanent Resident Card
As a permanent resident, you and your dependants 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. For more information on becoming a Canadian citizen, see Apply for Citizenship on the left-hand side of this page
- 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.
As a permanent resident, you and your dependants 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.
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.
For further information on residency obligations, please see Appendix A of Applying for a Permanent Resident Card, which can be found under Find an Application Form or Guide in the I Need To… section of this page.
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.
When you become a Canadian citizen, you are no longer a permanent resident.
If you intend to travel, the Permanent Resident Card is the official proof of your status as a permanent resident in Canada.
This wallet-sized plastic card is required for all permanent residents of Canada seeking to re-enter Canada on a commercial carrier (airplane, boat, train or bus).
If you leave the country, you will need this card to return to Canada. If you do not plan to leave the country, you do not need the card.
Learn more about the Permanent Resident Card in Related Links at the bottom of this page.