Permanent Resident Obligations

Once you have become a permanent resident of Canada, there will be things that you can and cannot do because of this status.

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

As a permanent resident you are not allowed to:

  • vote or run for political office,
  • hold some jobs that need a high-level security clearance.

The permanent resident (PR) card

Once you have obtained permanent residence status, your first step should be to obtain your PR card. The PR card can be used to show that you have permanent resident status in Canada. If you travel outside Canada, you will need to show your card and your passport when you come back on a commercial vehicle, like an airplane, boat, train or bus.

PRs traveling outside Canada who do not have a valid PR card, or who are not carrying it, need to apply for a permanent resident travel document before returning to Canada by commercial vehicle.

Time spent living in Canada

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

Exceptions to time spent outside of Canada and  meeting  the residency obligation happen in the following three situations:

  1. Accompanying a Canadian citizen outside Canada as long as this person is your spouse, common-law partner or parent (if you are a child under 19 years of age).


  1. Employment outside Canada:
  • you are an employee of, or under contract to, a Canadian business or the public service of Canada or of a province or territory and
  • as a term of your job or contract, you are assigned on a full-time basis to:
  • a position outside Canada
  • an affiliated enterprise outside Canada or
  • a client of the Canadian business or the public service outside Canada; and
  • you will continue working for the employer in Canada after the assignment.


  1. Accompanying a permanent resident outside Canada. You may count each day you accompanied a permanent resident outside Canada as long as:
  • the person you accompanied is your spouse, common-law partner or parent (if you are a child under 19 years of age); and
  • the person was employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or in the public service of Canada or of a province or territory during the time you accompanied him or her.

Losing your permanent resident status

You do not lose your permanent resident status when your PR card expires, only if you go through an official process.

Reasons for loss of status may fall within the following areas:

  • an adjudicator determines you are no longer a permanent resident after an inquiry or PRTD appeal;
  • you voluntarily renounce your permanent resident status;
  • a removal order is made against you and comes into force; or
  • you become a Canadian citizen.

Even if you don't meet the residency obligation, you are still a PR until an official decision is made on your status.

There may come a time when you no longer want to be a permanent resident of Canada.  If so, you can apply to voluntarily give up (renounce) your permanent resident status.

Humanitarian and compassionate grounds

If you cannot meet the residency obligation, humanitarian and compassionate factors may be considered in your individual circumstances that may justify that you keep your permanent resident status.

If you have questions or concerns about your obligations as a permanent residence, or need assistance with possible loss of PR status, contact us for consultation to discuss further.



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United Kingdom

Email: GoCanadaVisas

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