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Applying for permanent residence status

Region: Ontario Answer # 676


If you have received a written decision from the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that your application for your refugee claim or your Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) has been approved, then you have the status of a Protected Person in Canada. You can apply for permanent residence status anytime after you have received this approval. You can also include your spouse and any children under the age of 19 years (or older in some circumstances) on the application, regardless of whether they are in Canada or not.

A permanent resident is a person who may remain in Canada permanently, but who is not a Canadian citizen. To qualify for permanent residence status, the refugee and the refugee’s family members must not have a serious communicable disease and have no serious criminal record and no criminal charges in Canada or abroad. Applicants must not be a security risk, and, in many cases, must hold valid passports or travel documents.

Immigration law in Canada is complex. Issues such as getting permanent residence or citizenship, sponsoring someone, and coming to Canada to study or work involve many steps and can be overwhelming. To get help, ask a lawyer now.


The application

Once a person is determined to be a Protected Person, an application can be submitted to IRCC right away – there is no waiting period. All members of the applicant’s family must be listed in the application, even though the applicant may remove them from the application at any time. All applicants must complete a number of forms, in addition to which, the principal applicant must complete a Generic Application Form for Canada. 

Other documents that must be submitted with the application, include:

  • photocopy of proof of personal identity, such as a passport, other travel document or a birth certificate;
  • two (2) original passport-sized photos for each person;
  • photocopy of your IRB or PRRA decision;
  • translation of any document that is not in English or French, an affidavit from person who translated document, and certified copy of the original; and
  • receipt showing payment of application.

The application must be signed and dated before it is submitted. Individuals 18 years of age or older, must sign and date on their own behalf in the boxes specified on the forms. Parents or legal guardians must sign for applicants under 18 years of age.



There are processing fees that must accompany the application. The amount is dependant on who is included in the application:

  • Principal applicant
  • Each additional family member age 19 or older
  • Each family member under age 22 who is married or in a common-law relationship
  • Each family member under age 22 who is unmarried and not in a common-law relationship

Visit IRCC for a list of the application fees.

This processing fee is non-refundable. There is also a Right of Permanent Residence fee for principal applicants and their spouses or common-law partners who are coming to Canada with them. Exempt from paying this fee are: dependent children of a principal applicant or sponsor, a child to be adopted, or an orphaned brother, sister, niece, nephew or grandchild; and protected persons, including Convention refugees.

Fees may be paid online, or at a financial institution. If necessary, you may be able to obtain a loan from IRCC to cover the Right of Permanent Residence fee.

After you have mailed your application and it has been properly completed and includes all the required documents, IRCC will:

  1. Send you a letter informing you of the decision on your case and what you must do next,
  2. Transfer your file to a Canadian visa office for processing your family members’ applications (if applicable).


Rights of a permanent resident

Permanent residents have the right to stay in Canada permanently. They enjoy most of the rights given to Canadian citizens, including the right:

  • To receive most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage
  • To live, work or study anywhere in Canada
  • To apply for Canadian citizenship
  • To protection under Canadian law and most of the rights enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

However, permanent residents cannot vote in some elections, or hold a passport, or run for elected office. Permanent residents may be ineligible for jobs that require high-level security clearance, and they may be deported from Canada if they commit a serious crime or if they used false documents to apply for permanent residence status. Permanent residents face the same legal obligations as Canadian citizens. For example, permanent residents must pay taxes and obey the law.

To retain status as a permanent resident, the person must live in Canada for at least two years within any five-year period. Once a permanent resident has lived in Canada for a minimum of four years out of a six-year period, they can apply to become a Canadian citizen.

Get help

A criminal record will delay, and can even prevent you from getting your immigration status. To erase your criminal record, call toll-free 1-888-808-3628 or learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

For legal advice and representation with your permanent residence application, contact our preferred Immigration experts, Bright Immigration Consultants .

Immigration law in Canada is complex. Issues such as getting permanent residence or citizenship, sponsoring someone, and coming to Canada to study or work involve many steps and can be overwhelming. To get help, ask a lawyer now.

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