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Difference Between Canada PR and Citizen

June 12, 2023BY Faisal Mustafa

People who want to settle in Canada must know the difference between Canadian Permanent Residency (PR) and Canadian citizenship. Even though both PR and citizenship have important benefits, their legal status and rights in the country differ.

This article will look at the differences between PR and citizenship in Canada, including the rights, responsibilities, and benefits. By knowing these differences, people can make better choices about their goals and plans for immigration to Canada.

Understanding Permanent Residency


Permanent Residency (PR) in Canada is the immigration status given to foreign nationals who are not Canadian citizens but have been given permission to live and work in Canada forever.

It is a way to become a Canadian citizen in the long run. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) give people PR status. PR status gives people many rights and privileges, but it also has some duties and limits.

People usually have to go through an application process for PR and meet certain government requirements before getting PR in Canada. The eligibility requirements may differ depending on which visa program a person wants to use.

The Express Entry method, Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), Family Sponsorship, and the Canadian Experience Class are all common ways to get PR.

Rights and Privileges

Canadian PR holders have many rights and benefits, which include the following –

  • The right to live, seek employment, and study in any province of Canada
  • Access to services and social benefits from the Canadian government, such as healthcare, education, and many more.
  • Protection under Canadian law to ensure rights and freedom
  • Permission to apply for citizenship in Canada for granting additional rights and privileges. 

Responsibilities and Limitations

PR in Canada has many benefits, but it also comes with duties and restrictions, such as:

Residency requirement

People with PR must meet a residency requirement to keep their status. In most cases, this means spending a certain amount of time in Canada within a certain time frame. You could lose your PR status if you do not meet this condition.

Not qualified for certain public office jobs

People with PR are usually prohibited from working in high-security government jobs or running for political office. These jobs are only open to people who live in Canada.

Restrictions on travel

People with PR can go anywhere in Canada, but they must ensure they keep their PR status. Long trips or stays outside Canada can make it hard to meet the residency requirement and could lead to losing PR status.

Limited voting rights

People with PR can vote in local and regional elections, not federal ones. In federal elections, only people who live in Canada can vote.

Becoming a Canadian Citizen


For many permanent residents (PR) in Canada, the final goal is to become Canadian citizens. Some rights, advantages, and responsibilities come with being a Canadian citizen that does not come with being a PR.

Citizenship gives people a sense of belonging, the chance to fully participate in Canadian culture, and the opportunity to have a voice in the country’s future.

Eligible for Canadian Citizenship

To get Canadian citizenship, a person must meet certain standards set by the Canadian Citizenship Act and meet certain criteria, such as:

Permanent Residency

Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have kept their PR status.

Time in Canada 

Before filing for citizenship, most people must have lived in Canada for a certain amount, usually three out of the last five years. But there are exceptions for some people, like those who work for the Canadian Armed Forces or wave served in the military.

Language Proficiency

Applicants between 18 and 54 must show they know enough English or French, Canada’s legal language. This rule ensures that people can fit in with Canadian society and connect well.

Knowledge of Canada

Applicants must know about Canada’s past, values, institutions, and the rights and duties that come with being a citizen. This requirement is checked with a citizenship test examining how much the person knows about Canada.

Good Moral Character

Applicants must have a good moral character and not have a removal order, be under investigation, or have been convicted of certain crimes.

Responsibilities and Duties

  • Respecting the rights and freedoms of other people and following Canadian rules.
  • Voting in elections is a way to take part in the political process.
  • When asked by a court of law, people can be asked to serve on a jury.
  • Canadians are supposed to be loyal to their country and its democratic values.

The Key Differences between Canada PR and Citizenship

Legal Status

The legal position is the main difference between Permanent Residency (PR) and Canadian citizenship.

PR Status

PR is a type of immigration status that lets foreigners live and work in Canada for as long as they want. PR status can be removed if certain things happen, like not living in the country as required or committing major crimes.

Canadian Citizenship

Being a Canadian citizen means being a full member of the Canadian state. It is a legal position that gives people certain rights and privileges that PR holders do not have.

When someone becomes a Canadian citizen, they have permanent legal status in Canada, and it is hard to remove their citizenship.

Mobility and Travel

The ability to move and travel is another big difference between PR and Citizenship:

PR Status

People with PR can live, work, and attend school anywhere in Canada. But they might only be able to travel as much if they live outside Canada for a short time or do not meet the residency requirement.

PR holders must meet the residency standards and bring a valid PR card or permanent resident travel document when they go to Canada to keep their PR status.

Canadian Citizenship

Canadian citizens have complete freedom of movement and can live, work, or study in any state or territory of Canada at any time.

They also have the privilege of having a Canadian passport, which gives them entry to many countries worldwide without a visa or with a visa when they arrive, making it easier to travel internationally.

The Right to Vote

Another difference between PR and citizenship is the right to vote.

PR Status

People with PR do not get to vote in Canada’s government elections. They can only vote in local and provincial elections, and each province or region has its own rules about how to vote.

Canadian Citizenship

Only Canadian citizens can vote in national, regional, and local elections. They can choose people to run for office at all levels of government and have a say in how the country is run.

Residency Requirements

Different rules apply to PR holders and Canadian citizens when it comes to residency:

PR Status

To keep their position, PR holders have to live in the country. This usually means that you have to be in Canada for a certain amount of time during a certain period.

PR holders must have been physically present in Canada for at least 730 days, or two years, in the past five years. You could maintain your PR standing if you meet this requirement.

Canadian Citizenship

People must meet certain residency requirements to be qualified for Canadian citizenship. Before applying, most people must have lived in Canada for at least 1,095 days (three years) in the past five years.

People who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces or are applying through special measures must meet more rules about where they live.

Services for Passports and Consulates

One more difference between PR and Citizenship is the ability to get a Canadian visa and use consular services:

PR Status

People with PR need Canadian IDs. Instead, they must bring a PR card or a travel document for permanent residents when they go to Canada. They need help using the services Canadian offices and consulates offer in other countries.

Canadian Citizenship

Canadian citizens can apply for a Canadian passport, a travel document widely known and accepted. They can also get help and services from Canadian offices and consulates worldwide.


In conclusion, people who want to live in Canada must know the difference between Canadian Permanent Residency (PR) and citizenship. Ultimately, the choice between PR and citizenship relies on each person’s situation and goals for the future.

Getting PR or trying to become a Canadian citizen are good ways to live a full and successful life in Canada, a diverse and friendly country.


How long is the PR process in Canada?

Most Express Entry applications are processed within 6 months or less of receiving a full application.

How much is citizenship in Canada?

Don’t try to do both. The fees are the same whether you apply online or on paper: Adult (18 or older): $630. Minor (under 18): $100.

Does Canadian PR expire?

Most PR cards are good for five years, but some are only for one year. The card shows when it will run out. 

What is the fastest way to get PR in Canada?

In 2023, the Express Entry method is the fastest way to move to Canada.

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    Frequently Asked Question

    To get permanent residency, you have to live for at least three years in Canada. You also need some other documents to apply for Citizenship.

    In generally takes six months to get the citizenship after taking the Citizenship Test and Interview.

    People aged between 18 to 54 have to take the citizenship test and Interview.

    Oath taking ceremony generally takes 45 to 60 mins to complete. However, the time may vary upon the number of applicants and citizens.

    Yes, any Citizen who is a Canadain Citizen can renounce his citizenship status if he wants. He may apply for renouncing the citizenship under certain conditions.

    The answer is yes. You can again apply to resume your Citizenship status though you have renounced it once.

    The total fees for applying for Citizenship in Canada is CAN $ 630. Among the prices, $530 is for processing fee, and $100 is for the right of  Citizenship fee. But for minors aged under 18, the processing fee is $100.