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Permanent residency

Temporary status to permanent status

  • What is temporary resident status?

    A temporary resident is a foreign national who is legally authorized to enter Canada for temporary purposes.

    Customs and Immigration Canada (CIC) processes these applications under several categories:

    Temporary residents are subject to various conditions, namely the length of their stay in Canada [R183].

  • What is permanent resident status?

    Permanent residents are not Canadian citizens. They are foreign nationals who are still citizens of other countries and hold passports from other countries, but are also no longer temporary residents. They have more permanent status in Canada, which includes the right to:

    • Receive most social benefits Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage.
    • Live, work or study anywhere in Canada.
    • Apply for Canadian Citizenship.

    Permanent residents are able to live outside of Canada, but must live in Canada for at least two years in a five-year period. Living outside of Canada longer may result in loss of permanent resident status.

    Learn more about permanent resident status.

  • What is the difference between permanent residents and citizens?

    Permanent residency status is the first step towards Canadian citizenship.  

    Unlike permanent residents, Canadian citizens:

    • Receive Canadian passports.
    • Have the right to vote.
    • Have the right to run for political office.
    • Are able to hold specific high-level security clearance positions.

    To apply for Canadian Citizenship, permanent residents must meet certain conditions, including time lived in Canada and income tax-filing requirements.

    Review the eligibility requirements of becoming a Canadian Citizen on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.

How to become a permanent resident