Permanent Residence & Citizenship

Here is a brief summary of some relevant information. It is not intended to be exhaustive.

Résidence permanente


A permanent resident (RP) is a person who has obtained permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada but who is not yet a Canadian citizen.

Minimum residency requirement - Time spent in Canada

A permanent resident may live outside Canada. However, he must reside in Canada for at least two (2) years, or 730 days, in a five (5) year period. Otherwise, he risks losing his PR status. These 730 days do not have to be consecutive.

Asking for asylum

A person applying for asylum does not become a permanent resident at this time. His asylum application must first be approved. Only once this step has been completed can the person apply for permanent residence.

Permanent residence card

The Permanent Resident Card is valid for a period of (5) years and renewable indefinitely.

  • Note that it is not the permanent resident card that confers the status. For example, an expired card does not invalidate permanent resident status.

Loss of status

Permanent resident status can only be lost through a formal process.
For example, if the permanent resident:

  • Removes status following an investigation or appeal of a decision on an application for a permanent resident travel document
  • Voluntarily renounces his status
  • Is the subject of a removal order that comes into force
  • Become a Canadian citizen


Permanent residence provides access to most benefits available to Canadian citizens, including:


  • Health care coverage
  • Right to live, work or study anywhere in Canada
  • Enjoy the protection of Canadian laws and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Right to apply for Canadian citizenship

However, permanent residents can not vote, run for office or hold a job requiring a high level security clearance.

Citoyenneté Canadienne

General informations

Where possible, it is advantageous for an immigrant to obtain Canadian citizenship rather than remain a permanent resident. This allows, among other things, to get away from the minimum residency requirement.


Certain essential conditions must, however, be respected in order to obtain Canadian citizenship. In particular:


Permanent resident status

Regardless of age, you must have Permanent Resident (PR) status in order to apply for Canadian citizenship. It must not be questioned in any way. The person must not be the subject of a removal order.


Time spent in Canada

Regardless of age, you must have been in Canada as a PR for at least:

  • 1460 days in the six (6) years preceding the date the application was signed
  • 183 days per calendar year in the course of four (4) years wholly or partially within six (6) years of the date of application. Some exemptions exist for children under 18 and for Crown officials.

Tax return

Income tax filing requirements under the Income Tax Act of the four (4) taxation years fully or partially included in the six (6) years preceding the date of the application must be met.


Some prohibitions may apply. In particular, a person convicted of a crime in Canada or abroad may in some cases not be eligible for Canadian citizenship for a certain period of time.