Your Guide to Canadian Permanent Residency: Pathways, Benefits, and Responsibilities


Over 1.3 million new immigrants settled permanently in Canada from 2016 to 2021. As a student in Canada, you’re not a permanent resident or a citizen of Canada. When you finish your studies, you may want to start the immigration process to become a citizen. 

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You must apply for permanent resident status. This means you will:

  • Apply for permanent resident status
  • Remain a citizen of your own country
  • Become a Canadian citizen when your immigration process is complete

As a PR, you can

  • Get most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including a social insurance number to work in Canada, and health care coverage (check your provincial website for more information)
  • Live anywhere in Canada
  • Work anywhere in Canada. 
  • Study anywhere in Canada. 
  • Apply for Canadian citizenship
  • Get protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Must pay taxes and respect all Canadian laws at the federal, provincial and municipal levels

Maintaining PR status

To keep your PR status, you must have been in Canada for at least 730 days during the last five years. These 730 days don’t need to be continuous. Some of your time outside Canada may count towards the 730 days you need.

You won’t lose your PR status when your PR card expires. You will only lose your PR status if

  • an officer determines you are no longer a PR after an inquiry or PRTD appeal following a refusal
  • you voluntarily renounce your PR status
  • a removal order made against you comes into force
  • you become a Canadian citizen
  • Even if you don't meet the residency obligation, you will stay a PR until an official decision is made on your status.

Voluntarily renouncing PR

In some cases, you may decide you don’t want to be a PR of Canada anymore. For example, you may want to renounce your PR status in the following situations:

  • You have not met your residency obligations by being outside of Canada for a long period.
  • You plan to visit Canada and want to avoid the processing delays from a formal assessment of your PR status when you arrive.

In these cases, you may not be able to enter Canada until your PR status is resolved either by applying for a PRTD or by voluntarily giving up (renouncing) your PR status.