As a permanent resident, you can:
- Receive most of the benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage and funding from 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 Canadian laws at the federal, provincial and municipal level.
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 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, the permanent resident card is the official proof of your status as a permanent resident of Canada.
This wallet-sized plastic card is required for all permanent residents of Canada seeking to re-enter Canada.
If you travel outside of Canada, you will need this card to return to Canada. If you do not plan to leave the country, you do not need the card.
However, in the event of an emergency in which you are required to leave Canada, it will be helpful to already have your permanent resident card available in order to 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.