Canadian citizenship and permanent residency both allow individuals to legally live, work, study, and travel in Canada. However, there are significant differences between the citizenship and permanent residency statuses when taking a deeper look.
In this blog post we will cover the differences between having Canadian permanent residency or becoming a Canadian citizen; What are you allowed to do? What aren’t you? And how will the law treat you in either scenario?
Remember that if you wish to settle in Canada permanently, you will need to apply for Canada PR first before becoming a Canadian citizen. Discover which status is better suited to your needs as an immigrant, and how you can get Canadian citizenship if you wish to.
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What is a Permanent Resident Status?
As a permanent resident, you can live in Canada legally but you will not be considered a citizen of the country (yet). However, you may enjoy many of the same privileges as a Canadian citizen using your Canada PR visa.
There are lots of benefits for immigrants to claim after receiving their permanent residency card. These privileges are as follows:
Studying in Canada
Working in eligible industries within the country
Traveling anywhere in or outside the country
Settling anywhere in the country
Access to social benefits
Access to unique settlement programs and benefits
The right to apply to become a legal citizen in the country.
However, keeping your status as a permanent resident in Canada is not easy. You can lose your PR status if you ignore the regulations set by Canadian laws. For instance, being an immigrant with permanent residency doesn’t exempt you from abying to the same tax laws as Canadian citizens.
How to Apply for Canada PR?
To obtain Canada PR and officially become a permanent resident, you must have lived a total of 2 years in the country within 5 years before your application date.
Your Canada PR card also has a validity period, meaning you must renew it as soon as it expires. If it does expire – no worries! Your status won’t be taken away from you. However, you may encounter issues enjoying some of the benefits that come with it.
You can only lose your permanent resident status in a formal process and under severe circumstances. For example:
A judge rules you to lose your permanent resident status after a case about your Permanent Resident Travel Documents (PRTD) arises;
you voluntarily call off your PR status by renouncing it;
You committed a crime deemed severe enough for the Canadian government to revoke your status and deport you without the option to appeal;
You are legally removed by the Canadian government or your employer who is in Canada; or
your application for Canadian citizenship is complete.
How to get Canadian Citizenship?
Canadian citizenship, for many, is like a stamp of approval for becoming an official resident of Canada. You may enjoy all your regular benefits, and you no longer need to continuously maintain your status. Additionally, you will not be deported anywhere if you commit a crime (however, you may face jail time. We do not commend these actions).
Only citizens of Canada can apply for a Canadian passport, vote, and engage in Canadian politics, as well as apply for political positions. As a naturalized citizen, you will have the same rights and privileges given to citizens who originated in Canada.
You may change your Canada PR status and apply for Canadian citizenship by following some requirements. First, you must file a CIT 0002E to apply for citizenship in Canada. You must also meet the following requirements as part of the application as a Canadian citizen:
You must be living in Canada for at least 3 consecutive years, or 1,095 days, for the past 5 years before applying for citizenship.
You must adhere to income tax policies: Applicants must have at least 3 years of their income tax complied.
You must prove your language competency and skills: you must fulfill or exceed the minimum score required in the French or English exams. If you are aged below 18 or above 54 years old, you are exempt from this criterion for citizenship.
You must learn Canadian history: you must pass or exceed the required score on an oral and written test about Canada. The test will focus on topics about the country’s history, its government, and geography.
You must also answer questions in the test about the country’s citizenship rights and responsibilities in either English or French. If you are aged below 18 or above 54 years old, you are exempt from this criterion for citizenship.
Apply for Canadian Citizenship – Anything Else?
Form CIT 0002E – as a permanent resident who wants to become a Canadian citizen, you are required to submit this form to apply for your citizenship status in Canada. You have to be at least 18 years of age to apply. This is done in addition to the requirements mentioned above.
To complete the form, you must submit all the required documents as detailed in the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) document checklist. After completing the required documents, include them with your submission of your CIT 0002E application form.
In case you’re wondering about any fees, the cost for the CIT 0002E form filing is 630 CAD for applicants who are 18 years old and above; 530 CAD out of the total is used as a processing fee and the remainder of the amount is for the Right of Citizenship fee.
You can pay the fees at the IRCC office. You can also pay the fees online and include a printed copy of your receipt to your CIT 0002E documents.
To conclude, the major differences between Canada PR and Canadian citizenship are as follows:
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