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Applying for permanent residence status in Canada

A permanent resident is a person that has been given that status by immigrating to Canada. However, that person is not considered a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents are still citizens of the country from which they immigrated to Canada.

Permanent residents come to Canada as either an eligible immigrant class (for example, Skilled Worker Class Immigration) or refugees (whom the Immigration Board has accepted as refugees and) who applied to become permanent residents and have been granted the right to permanently live in Canada.

What permanent residence status means is that you have been given the right to live in Canada permanently, subject to rules and conditions attached to the permanent residency. For example, you can lose your permanent resident status if you fail to live in Canada for the specified time requirement.

Immigrant classes

If you have applied to come to Canada as an immigrant class, such as Provincial Nominee, Skilled Worker Class Immigration, Business Class Immigration, Family Class Immigration, International Adoption or Quebec-Selected Immigration, and your application was approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada then you are a permanent resident.

Refugee claimants

Those who have attained refugee status in Canada do not automatically become permanent residents when the Immigration and Refugee Board approves their refugee claim. They must apply to become permanent residents of Canada.

Refugees who are resettled from overseas become permanent residents through the Government-Assisted Refugee Program or the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.

Permanent resident status based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds

If you have a failed refugee claim, or there are other factors why you are not eligible to be a permanent resident, you can apply based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Humanitarian and compassionate grounds are seen as granting an exception. Applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The humanitarian and compassionate grounds process is a difficult one and there are many conditions and requirements in applying. This process should be undertaken with a lawyer.

How to apply for permanent resident status

         Immigration classes:

People who want come to Canada, as permanent residents have to apply through one of the immigration classes mentioned.

You have to fill out an application, as well as provide forms, documents and all other items required to process an application.

As of January 1, 2015, to apply for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trade and Canadian Experience Class programs, you must first create an express entry profile and be invited to apply.

For all other applications, you must select the visa office that serves your country of nationality or the country where you have been legally admitted for at least one year. Also, in your application, you must select the visa office where your application will be processed.


If you are a successful refugee claimant, you must apply for permanent resident status from within Canada and prepare an application called a Generic Application Form for Canada.

You will also need to provide Citizenship and Immigration with various forms and documents, etc., in order to process your application.

Please note that documents and forms you need to provide will vary depending under which class you are applying.

Given the complexity of applying for permanent resident status, you should contact a lawyer to assist you with the process.

Read more:

Understand Permanent Resident Status

Apply to Immigrate to Canada