Permanent Resident Status

A permanent resident is someone who has been given permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada, but is not a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents are citizens of other countries.

A person in Canada temporarily, like a student or foreign worker, is not a permanent resident.

What permanent residents can do

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.

What permanent residents cannot do

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

The permanent resident card is the official proof of your status as a permanent resident in Canada. If you travel outside of Canada, you will need this card to re-enter the country on a commercial vehicle, like an airplane, boat, train or bus.

Canadian permanent residents need to show their permanent resident card when travelling to Canada in order to prove their permanent resident status. Permanent residents who do not have a PR card, or who are not carrying their PR card when travelling outside the country, will need to obtain a permanent resident travel document before returning to Canada by air.

If you are a new permanent resident, you will automatically receive your card as part of the immigration process. You will receive your card by mail at your address in Canada. If you do not have a Canadian mailing address before you arrive in Canada, you must provide your new address to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) as soon as possible after you arrive. If you change your address in Canada before you receive your card in the mail, inform CIC of your new address.


Refugees who are resettled from overseas become permanent residents through the Government-Assisted Refugee Program or the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.

Someone who makes a refugee claim in Canada does not become a permanent resident at that time. To become one, the Immigration and Refugee Board must first approve their claim. Then, they must apply for and get permanent resident status.

For more information about permanent resident cards, please click on the website below: