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Differences Between a Canadian PR vs Citizen

Prospective newcomers often ask us the difference between a permanent resident and citizen. A permanent resident is an individual who has immigrated to Canada, been granted permanent resident status in Canada and is not yet a citizen of Canada.

Many immigrant candidates are interested in obtaining Canadian citizenship. However, before becoming a citizen, candidates must first become permanent residents. This means that the end result of every Canadian immigration program (including provincial pathways like PNPs or Quebec Immigration) is Canadian permanent residence.

When you become a permanent resident, you receive a permanent residence card. The PR card is basically the Canadian equivalent of a US green card.

Once someone becomes a Canadian permanent resident, they can enjoy a number of rights including:

  • The same social benefits as any Canadian citizen, including healthcare coverage.
  • The right to live, work, study, and travel anywhere in Canada.
  • Protection under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • The right of Canadians to apply for citizenship in Canada.

To become a Canadian citizen, one must first become a permanent resident. Here are the differences between Canadian permanent residents and citizens:

1. Right to Vote or stand for public office

Like Canadian citizens, permanent residents also share many social responsibilities. They pay taxes and abide by Canadian laws. In fact, there are really only two things that Canadian citizens can do that permanent resident cannot do, that are they don’t have the right to vote or stand for .public office There are also some restrictions against permanent residents holding certain government positions that require a high-level security clearance.

2. Canadian Passport vs PR Card

Canadian permanent residents do not get Canadian passports. If you are a permanent resident, you can travel outside the country on a valid PR card, or on a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD), and your passport from your country of citizenship.

PR cards have a validity period, so they should be renewed regularly. However, you don’t automatically lose your permanent resident status if your card expires. You need to meet certain residency requirements to maintain your status.

3. Possibility of Residing Outside of Canada

As a permanent resident, you are allowed to live outside of Canada. However, in order to keep your status, you must reside in Canada for at least two years in a five-year period. If you live outside of Canada for longer than this time period, your status may be revoked. Exceptions do exist; for example, time spent abroad while accompanying your spouse or common-law partner can be counted towards residency. You can also count time spent abroad if you are assigned to a position outside Canada by a Canadian business.

Even if you do not meet the residency requirements for permanent residence, you will not automatically lose your status. You can only lose it through a formal process.

As a permanent resident of Canada, you can apply for citizenship once you have met certain residency requirements. Once you become a Canadian citizen, you can apply for a Canadian passport and participate in Canadian politics. The only difference between naturalized citizens and citizens born in Canada is that once you are a Canadian citizen, there are no more requirements for maintaining your citizenship. If you renounce your Canadian citizenship, it will be lost immediately.

If you are thinking about moving to Canada permanently or becoming a citizen, get in touch with a qualified immigration lawyer at Cougar Immigration. An immigration lawyer can help you make all the right choices, paving the path to a successful outcome!

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