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Shabnam Akrami is the Managing Partner and Founder of Akrami & Associates.

Need to Know Information About Being a Permanent Resident

Need to Know Information About Being a Permanent Resident

What to Know About Being a Permanent Resident?

Let’s assume you have just been granted permission to enter Canada as a permanent resident, and have landed as immigrants to officiate your status as a permanent resident of Canada. This is a new and exciting time, but ultimately, it can be very stressful. There is the concern of moving to an entirely new country either alone or with a family, and settling in to a new routine. At the same time, there are certain things the Canadian government requires of you, to be permitted to renew your status as a permanent resident after 5 years, and become a permanent resident with a permanent resident card. It is important to be a card holding permanent resident, because while it may seem like a formality, the reality is that being a permanent resident with a permanent resident card is very important to avoid running into any issues with a Canadian Border Services officer. There are several nuances which can be difficult to understand for new permanent residents of Canada, but are in fact very important. To fully understand what it means to be a permanent resident, either with or without a PR card, keep reading this article.

Obtain a Permanent Resident Card

New permanent residents don’t need to apply for a permanent resident card (PR card). The Canadian government will send one to you when you immigrate to Canada, so long as you report your home address within 180 days of immigrating. If you do not report your address within 180 days, then you will have to apply for a PR card. There is a $50CAD processing fee for PR card applications.

Requirements to Renew Your PR Card

As you may know, there is a specified minimum amount of time you must spend in Canada to be permitted to renew your status as a permanent resident. It is required that you spend a minimum of 2 years, or, 730 days total in Canada. These 2 years does not need to be consecutive.

It is important to understand that when your PR card expires, your status as a permanent resident does not. Being a permanent resident is a permanent status, unless you do not meet the residency requirements and receive a departure order from Canadian authorities. In other words, if you do not meet the residency requirements, you can lose your status as a permanent resident. Though, this does not occur automatically. A formal process must occur for you to lose your status as a permanent resident. In other words, there must be a formal determination of loss of PR status. This could occur if an adjudicator determines you are no longer a permanent resident, or, if you voluntarily renounce your permanent resident status, or, if you are the subject of a removal order Also, if you are a permanent resident who has been convicted of a crime, you could also lose your status as a permanent resident, and be ordered to leave Canada immediately with a deportation order. Though, barring these circumstances, you will never lose your status as a permanent resident of Canada, even if your PR card expires. This also means having an expired PR card does not take away the privileges you experience as a Canadian permanent resident.

If your PR Card Expires While you’re Out of the Country

Oftentimes, many people abroad find themselves in a pickle, because they don’t have a valid PR card, and may not be able to return to Canada because a permanent resident card is the only document which proves permanent resident status in Canada. There is nothing much to worry about, you have not lost your status as a permanent resident and you can apply for a travel document which is often used in this situation. You can apply for the permanent resident travel document while outside of Canada, even though you cannot apply to renew your PR card while outside of Canada. If you are entering Canada via private vehicle, you will not need to apply for a PR travel document. However, if you are travelling to Canada by commercial vehicle, such as an airplane, bus, train, or boat, you will have to apply for the PR travel document.

If you do not meet the Residency Requirements

There is a way for people who were not able to meet the 730 day requirement to enter Canada as a permanent resident. There is some discretion given to the officer for reviewing a case. The officer is allowed to consider humanitarian and compassionate factors. This could be an opportunity for you to avoid losing your status as a permanent resident. Canadian border officers are trained to consider situations such as employment or family emergencies, good reasons to have failed to meet the residency requirement. If you are applying to renew your permanent resident status with humanitarian and compassionate consideration, it is required that you prepare a very strong application which clearly explains your situation and gives very good explanation as to why you could not meet the residency requirements, but immigrating to Canada permanently is still something you have to do.

What Does Permanent Resident Status Mean?

As a permanent resident, you have the right to:

  • get most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage,
  • live, work or study anywhere in Canada,
  • apply for Canadian citizenship,
  • receive protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Though, you must pay taxes and respect all Canadian laws at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. Failure to do these things can result in deportation.

You are not allowed to:

  • vote or run for political office,
  • hold some jobs that need a high-level security clearance.

Contact Akrami and Associates

It is essential that you have taken all of the aforementioned factors and information into consideration if your PR card has expired while you were outside of Canada. If you want to apply to renew your PR card or if you need to apply for a permanent resident travel document, it is extremely important to note that these are difficult applications to pursue on your own. It is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to submit the application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients renew their permanent residency in Canada. If you believe that you may be eligible to renew your PR card, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advice.

With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!

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