A Permanent Resident in Canada
is a person who is not a Canadian citizen
but who has been granted permission to live and work in Canada without any time limit on his or her stay. A permanent resident must live in Canada for two years out of every five or risk losing that status.
A Permanent Resident holds many of the same rights and responsibilities as a Canadian citizen, among others the right to work for any enterprise as well as for the federal or provincial government (under restriction of access rights to certain regulated professions). The main differences are that residents cannot:
· vote in elections in Canada;
· run for elected office;
· hold Canadian passports;
In addition, they may be allowed to join Canada's armed forces if the national interest would not be prejudiced.
Permanent residents also risk deportation for serious crimes committed while resident in Canada. Permanent residents may apply for Canadian citizenship after three years in Canada; however this is not mandatory.
In 2002, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration started issuing the Permanent Resident Card (originally billed as and commonly referred to as the Maple Leaf Card) to all new Canadian permanent residents. All existing permanent residents were given the option of applying for a Permanent Resident Card at a cost of $50, though possessing a card is not mandatory except in the case of international travel.
In effect from December 31, 2003, every permanent resident must be able to present his or her Permanent Resident Card upon boarding a commercial carrier (aircraft, train or bus) in order to travel to Canada. It is the size of a standard bank card though with many more security features and it proves one's status; it is meant to facilitate entry back to Canada. It incorporates several state-of-the-art security features among which is an electronic chip containing the necessary data.
As the Permanent Resident Card may be issued only in Canada, a single-use travel document is needed (for a fee) and can be obtained from Canadian embassies abroad for those permanent residents wishing to return to Canada and who do not possess it.
The Permanent Resident Card expires every five years, and then may be renewed by making application and proving that the applicant has been physically present in Canada for the requisite time period, or has otherwise satisfied the residency requirements. Although an individual may meet the residency requirements by living outside of Canada with a Canadian citizen spouse, or working outside Canada for a Canadian business, the Permanent Resident Card cannot be renewed without being present in Canada and having a Canadian address.