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Permanent Resident/Canadian Citizenship

There is a difference between a permanent resident of Canada and a Canadian citizen.

A permanent resident is someone who has been given permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada, but is not a Canadian citizen.  Permanent residents are citizens of other countries.

A permanent resident can:

  • get most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including healthcare 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
  • respect all Canadian laws at the federal, provincial and municipal levels

A permanent resident can live outside of Canada, but must live in Canada for at least two years in a five-year period. If you live outside of Canada for longer, you may lose your permanent resident status.

Becoming a Canadian citizen is a true honour and a Canadian citizen can:

  • vote in democratic elections (if you are 18 years or older)
  • run for political office
  • hold some jobs that need a high-level security clearance
  • apply for a Canadian passport
  • enter and leave Canada freely

To receive Canadian Citizenship a permanent resident must apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
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