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Permanent residence (PR)

What is permanent resident status?

Permanent residents (PR) 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

There are many categories and programs under which foreign nationals can apply for permanent residency. Each program/class has its own eligibility requirements. 

Federal programs
The programs are separated into economic and non-economic categories.

The Express Entry Program is the main federal program through which international students tend to apply for permanent residency. Express Entry includes Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker and Federal Skilled Trades streams. Express Entry is an online system that manages applications for permanent residence from skilled workers.

Qualifying candidates submit an online profile to demonstrate their interest in immigrating to Canada and are attributed Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on their skills, education, language ability, work experience and other factors. Candidates can calculate their score by using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) tool.

Express Entry program regularly (normally every two weeks) select the highest-ranking candidates from the pool and issue them an Invitation to Apply (ITA) to apply for permanent residency. Candidates can check the Rounds of Invitations for the specific invitation score.

Learn more about the Express Entry Program on the IRCC website

Provincial programs

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is an immigration program through which individuals and their families can be nominated for permanent resident status based on skills, education and work experience that will contribute to the economy of the province or territory in which they decide to reside. 

Every province and territory has its own PNP streams. Each stream has its own set of criteria for nominee eligibility (with the exception of Quebec, which does not have a PNP program).

To find out which streams you may be eligible for, visit the specific PNP website for the province/territory by going to the IRCC website

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is Ontario’s economic immigration program. OINP offers the following programs that are of particular interest to international students:

Our International Student Support team is made up of Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor (RISIA), Tharsy and Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultation (RCIC), Ashley and Behnoush. You are welcome to reach out to Ashley or Behnoush by or book an appointment on your Student Life Portal to communicate about your PR related inquiries.

Gentle reminder: Find a regulated immigration consultant or lawyer when you seek PR related assistance.