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How to Become a Permanent Resident

Written by CNN Team

Are you interested in becoming a permanent resident in Canada? This is what you need to know about the process.

Did you know that Canada Permanent Residency is one of the most sought-after visa categories by skilled professionals in many parts of the world? In a nutshell, Canada Permanent Residency provides skilled foreign workers with a unique opportunity to work and settle in Canada. After three years of staying in Canada and working on the Permanent Residency (PR) card, you can apply to change your Canadian PR status to Canadian citizenship. 

Why Should a Canadian PR Card Interest You?

Basically, a PR Card is the official proof of your status as a Canadian permanent resident. This is important if you:

  • Are a permanent resident, including any children you have here.
  • Plan to travel outside of Canada with the intent of returning to Canada by plane, train, bus, or boat. 

Besides a 5 year’s multiple entries visa, there are a ton of benefits to obtaining a Canadian PR card. For example, you will have what is considered “family status”. This means that both applicants, including your spouse, are able to work full-time in Canada. In addition, you will receive free education for children as well as health and social provisions for your entire family. Moreover, you will have access to the US and can invite parents post-settlement. 

The Application Process

So, what do you need to do in order to apply for a Canadian PR Card? 

STEP 1: Eligibility Requirements

Firstly, it is important to note that there are multiple immigration programs available. For example, there is: 

  • Express Entry: Immigrating as a skilled worker. 
  • Family Sponsorship: Sponsoring your relatives.  
  • Provincial Nominees: Be nominated by a province or territory. 
  • Quebec-Selected Skilled Workers: Become a skilled worker in Quebec. 
  • Atlantic Immigration Pilot: Graduate from a school or work in New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia, or Newfoundland and Labrador. 
  • Caregivers: Provide care to children, the elderly, or those with medical needs. 
  • Start-Up Visa: Start a business that will create jobs. 
  • Self-Employed: Are you self-employed in cultural or athletic activities? 
  • Agri-Food Pilot: Work in a specific agri-food industry. 
  • Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot: Located in smaller Canadian communities. 
  • Health-Care Workers Permanent Residence Pathway: Available to health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident Pathway: For temporary residents who are currently living and working in Canada. 
  • Refugees: Come to Canada as a refugee or sponsor. 
  • Permanent Residence Pathways For Hong Kong Residents: For eligible Hong Kong residents who are currently living in Canada. 

The Government of Canada offers a Come To Canada tool that asks questions with the intent of helping you to find the best program for your situation. Click here to begin the questioning process.  Review the requirements for each method to determine if you are eligible to apply. 

If you are already a permanent resident and are in need of a PR Card, then you will need to:

  • Be physically present in Canada.
  • Meet the residency requirement.
  • Not be a Canadian citizen.
  • Not be convicted of an offense that is at all connected to the misuse of a PR Card.
  • Lastly, not be under an effective removal order. 

STEP 2: Gather All Documents

What documents are considered necessary

  • PR Card
  • One main identity document (i.e. passport)
  • 2 identical photos that are taken within 6 months of your application
  • Documents if you were outside of Canada for 1095 days
  • English or French translation of all documents, including an affidavit from the person who completed them
  • All certified true copies

STEP 3: Fill Out The Application

This is a lengthy process. Remember to fill out all sections and answer all questions. If a section/question does not directly apply to you, then write “Not Applicable”. If your application is found to be incomplete, it will delay processing. Applications to fill out:

  • Application for a Permanent Resident Card [IMM 5444]
  • Document Checklist [IMM 5644]

In addition, you may also be required to submit the following documents if they apply to you: 

  • Use of a Representative [IMM 5476]
  • Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual [IMM 5475]
  • Request form for a Change of Sex or Gender Identifier [IRM 0002]

STEP 4: Pay Fees 

You will need to calculate the total amount of fees to be paid based on the Permanent Resident Card ($50) and the Biometrics fees per person or per family. These fees must be paid online. If your fees are not paid or are not paid in full then your application will be returned to you.

STEP 5: Submit Your Application

Mail your application in a stamped envelope to:

Case Processing Centre – PR Card

P.O. Box 10020



Or, if you are sending it by courier:

Case Processing Centre – PR Card

49 Dorchester Street

Sydney, NS

B1P 5Z2

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.