Permanent residence in Canada is a status signifying that you live and reside in Canada without being a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents remain citizens of the country they have emigrated from. Here, our Ottawa and Orleans physicians explain the steps you need to take in order to apply for permanent residence in Canada.
Who is considered a permanent resident of Canada?
Permanent residence in Canada is a distinction given to individuals who live in Canada permanently and who have gone through an application process to ensure that they are a good fit for living in this country. This application process ensures permanent residents have a job lined up in Canada and/or a support network of family in the country to help them remain stable and integrate into Canadian culture.
Individuals who are moving to Canada temporarily, such as university or college students and temporary workers, are not eligible for permanent residency since their reason for staying in the country has a definitive end date.
There are many different kinds of permanent resident visas that an individual can hold depending on their avenue of immigration into Canada and the reason for their presence in the country.
What benefits does Canadian permanent residence offer?
Canadian permanent residents are afforded a number of benefits, including:
- most of the social benefits that Canadian citizens have, including health care coverage
- the ability to live, work or study anywhere in Canada
- the ability to apply for Canadian citizenship
- protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Permanent residence in Canada does not include the following benefits and responsibilities:
- the ability to vote in elections
- the ability to run for office at any level of goverment
- the ability to hold certain positions that require a high security clearance
What immigration programs are available for Canadian permanent residence applications?
There are a wide array of programs that you can use to apply for Canadian permanent residence, depending on which you qualify for. The following are two of the most common avenues of applying for permanent residence in Canada:
Express Entry is the most popular avenue for people applying to become permanent residents in Canada. It prioritizes experience and ability to add to Canada's economy as a way of making sure that deserving candidates who may have been left behind under the old system are no longer overlooked.
The Express Entry program is actually an umbrella, with 3 streams within it: The Federal Skilled Workers Program, The Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class. Each of these streams are designed to accommodate applicants with different qualifications and experiences, so make sure you know which one applies o you if you are planning on applying for Canadian permanent residence through the Express Entry program.
Sponsorship of close or distant relatives who are interested in moving to Canada and becoming permanent residents is another very common method for families to help one another be together in Canada. Individuals can sponsor their parents, children, spouses, grandparents, or other relatives for permanent residence.
This method of application requires a sponsor to be a permanent resident or Citizen of Canada and asks that both the sponsor and potential immigrant to Canada fill out separate applications. As part of this application, the sponsor must be able to prove that they can financially support their relative without relying on social assistance from the government.
There are many other kinds of sponsorship programs available for people interested in becoming Canadian permanent residents, including sponsorship by provincial governments.
What are the requirements for permanent residence?
There are different specific requirements for each of the different permanent resident visas in Canada. However, there are a number of documents and certifications that are required by most or all Canadian permanent resident visas, including:
- A completed language test, such as the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) with proof of your score
- Proof of sufficient funds to support your applications
- Any educational degrees, certificates or diplomas you have earned
- Proof of age and identity such as a birth certificate
- Documents related to a Canadian job, including a job offer, a letter from your future employer, and proof of previous employment that you have claimed
- Medical Immigration Certification
- Police Clearance Certification
- Any travel documents, including your passport
What are the steps for applying for permanent residence in Canada?
While it may not be a satisfactory answer, the truth is: "it depends." Depending on the specific program you are applying through, the steps for your immigration application to Canada will look a bit different. That being said, all applications for permanent residents generally involve two broad steps:
The Initial Application
This is the stage where you will be collecting materials that are required for your specific immigration program, filling out the proper forms, and completing the appropriate language tests, healthcare certificates and police checks.
When you have collected all of the appropriate information, you will bundle it all together with your completed application form, pay any application fees, and then submit your application to be considered for permanent residence in Canada. Depending on the program you are applying through, you may either be able to submit your application online or by mail. For example, all three Express Entry streams allow for online applications while Relative Sponsorship requires applications be submitted by mail.
The Invitation To Apply
The initial application you submit will be considered by IRCC (Immigration, Refugess and Citizenship Canada) and, if you have correctly filled out your application and are considered to have made a good application, you may be entered into a pool of applicants and be sent an Invitation To Apply.
This means that the Canadian Government will request some documentation from you within a certain timeframe, usually 60 days. Once you have submitted these documents, you will generally have to wait between 4 and 6 months before you application is approved and you become a Canadian permanent citizen!