What are my rights as a permanent resident?

As a PR, you can attend school, access healthcare, and live and work in Canada. You can only vote if you're a citizen, however.

As a permanent resident, you can:

  • Receive most of the benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including free healthcare and financial assistance for university or college through OSAP.
  • Attend any high school, college or university.
  • Live and work anywhere in Canada.
  • Apply for Canadian citizenship.
  • Receive protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

You must pay taxes and respect all federal, provincial, and municipal Canadian laws.

As a permanent resident, you 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 of the country. To keep you status as a permanent resident, you must live in Canada for at least two years within a five-year period.

You can lose your permanent resident status if:

  • You do not meet the residency obligation, for example if you are outside of Canada for more than three years within a five-year period.
  • You are convicted of a serious crime. In addition to losing your status, you also risk being deported from Canada.

You also lose your permanent resident status when you become a Canadian citizen.

The permanent resident card

If you and your family want to travel, this wallet-sized permanent resident card is the official proof of your status as a permanent resident of Canada.

If you travel outside of Canada, you will need to show your permanent resident card to border authorities when you return to Canada. 

If you do not have your permanent resident card and must leave Canada, you will have to apply for a travel document issued by a Canadian office overseas.