Arriving In Canada With The Permanent Residence (7/10)

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The Canadian Parliament In Ottawa

The Canadian Parliament In Ottawa

Welcome to my new series, “How to immigrate to Canada“!

I recently received quite a lot of emails, asking me questions about the immigration process. So I decided to explain the whole process in 10 posts, which will be published every Saturday.

I also encourage you to ask any question you may have. I’m not an immigration consultant, but from experience, I may be able to point you to the right direction!

In the series, we will see the different options you have to come to Canada, as well as your rights and duties as a Permanent Resident, what happens after you arrive etc.

So, you received the great news: “decision made”, you have just obtained the permanent residence in Canada! What’s next now?

Before you arrive

If your permanent resident application is approved, you will be asked to submit your passport to the Canadian visa office where you applied in order to receive your permanent resident visa.

You will get two important documents:

  • The confirmation of permanent residence (with identification information, photograph…)
  • An entry visa

The confirmation of permanent residence has an expiry date by which you must arrive in Canada. This doesn’t mean you have to settle in Canada by that date, but it does mean you must travel to Canada and become a landed immigrant before the confirmation of permanent residence expiry date. After that, you may come back to your home country and prepare your actual arrival if you wish.

You must have your Confirmation of Permanent Residence and your visa with you when you arrive in Canada.

When landing in Canada

When you arrive in Canada with the permanent residence, you become a landed immigrant. This is a very important step.

Note that there are two cases here:

  • If you received your permanent residence abroad: no problem here, most people will fly to Canada and land in an airport. The busiest the airport, the more likely it is that officers will be familiar with immigration papers, that there will be interpreters available if needed etc. In the East, Montreal and Toronto are good choices.
  • If you received your permanent residence while you were already in Canada: this is a bit weird, but you have to exit Canada and re-enter (even if it’s five minutes later!) in order to become a landed immigrant. The French have an expression for it: “faire le tour du poteau” (to go around the flagpole). Most people will go to the U.S.A and re-enter Canada immediately walking or driving (or biking apparently in the case of Priyank, the author of Final Transit!). Officers on both sides of the border are used to it and you shouldn’t have any problem. I did it in 2005 to become a landed immigrant (The Prescott Shuffle Story).

Whether your arrive by air or by land, you will first meet an officer from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

The officer will ask to see:

  • Your passport
  • Your valid permanent resident visa
  • Your confirmation of permanent residence
  • If you immigrate through a category that requires you to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself (for example, the skilled worker category), the officer will need to see the supporting documents, such as a recent bank statement.

There are a few routines questions to establish your identity and to make sure you gave correct information that match your application, but this usually only take a few minutes. Make sure you have all your documents with you and everything will be fine!

Be aware that you will be asked to declare items you bring in Canada. Take a moment to check out what you can and cannot bring in Canada, and what you must declare. You may want to check “How to I bring my belongings with me?” as well.

After that, the officer will authorize you to enter Canada as a permanent resident. He will also confirm your Canadian mailing address. Your permanent resident card will be mailed to you at this address.

The permanent resident card

A permanent resident card is a small wallet-sized card and a very valuable document, which allows you to prove your status in Canada or when traveling in and out of the country.

Permanent resident’s cards are not issued on the spot when you arrive in Canada. They are mailed to your Canadian address within a few weeks. If you do not have a Canadian address at the time when you land in Canada, you must supply one to CIC within 180 days (plenty of time!). There is not fee for the permanent resident card applied for at the time of the landing process. It usually takes about 30 days to receive the permanent card after you land in Canada, but it varies (you can check the current processing time here).

The permanent residence card is normally issued for 5 years. It can be renewed if you wish to remain a permanent resident, or you may not need it anymore if you apply for Canadian citizenship after three years of residency!

…And then what?

After landing in Canada, some people decide to go back to their home country for a little while to finalize their move and settle their affairs. Some have houses to sell, some have to finish their work etc. This is perfectly acceptable. Once you become a landed immigrant, you are free to travel in and out of Canada!

However, if you leave Canada before you receive your permanent resident card, you may need to apply for a single-use permanent resident travel document to return to Canada. If you hold a passport from a country that does not need a visitor visa to come to Canada (such as with an American or a U.E passport), you should be able to enter Canada without your permanent resident card. See the list of countries which require visa to visit Canada or read the article I need to leave Canada but I do not have my PR card yet for more information.

Be aware that to keep your status as a permanent resident in Canada, you must meet the residency requirement. This means that you must live in Canada for at least two years within a five-year period. If you don’t, your will lose your permanent residence status (and yes, it does happen a lot).

If you stay in Canada right away after becoming a landed immigrant, you can start applying for Canadian IDs (such as your SIN card), looking for a job, a place to live etc.

About being a permanent resident

As a permanent resident in Canada, you have both responsibilities. You can:

  • Live, work or study anywhere in Canada
  • Receive most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, such as health coverage
  • Be protected under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Note that as permanent resident, you cannot vote or hold certain jobs that have a high security clearance.

You may lose your permanent status if you don’t meet the residency requirements or if you are convicted of a serious crime.

After three years in Canada as a permanent resident, you may choose to apply for Canadian citizenship if you meet the requirements.



About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Well well well I just got my visa and my COPR I am looking forward joining u soon.
    I have a little question ma’am u mentioned that the immigration officer will interview me please can you elaborate me on the expecting questions? Thank u

      • what are the basic questions they will ask?

        my husband is awaiting his visa and then he will come right away.

        what does he need with him?

        his selection de quebec, passport, COPR

        what else?

  2. Hi. Is it possible for me to return to Saudi Arabia to continue my work, one month after I landed in Canada as an Immigrant. I am not the principal applicant.

    Thank you.

  3. Soumya Gowri Shankar on

    After the approval of PR application, how long does it take for the passports to be stamped by the CIC? planning to send next week.

  4. Thank you for taking the time to write on your site!

    I expect to get my permanent residency by May this year and my family and I have decided to make the “landing” just a vacation, come back home and take our time wrapping up work, school etc before the actual move.

    So my question is, what address do I give at the airport if all we have is a hotel or AirBnB for 2 weeks? Documents might get mailed there and it will not be our address at all…

    Should we stretch this trip out and wait for the PR Cards to arrive?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    • It’s fairly common for new immigrants to land and go back home for a bit, time to wrap things up. Some people give a friend’s address or have the PR cards sent to a relative. I’m not sure about using a AirBnB address, sounds a bit risky considering how important these documents are. My two cents: wait in Canada to receive the cards.

  5. Do I need to bring even my minor children with me for the landed immigrant step to get confirmation of the PR..

  6. Hi ZHU, Can I land in Montreal if I am FSW? I am not settling there .. it just for landing, despite the city of destination written in my CORP is Halifax NS? Can I provide a mailing address in Toronto as well for PR?

    • Landing in Quebec may be an issue since you apply at the federal level and don’t have a CSQ. Providing an address in Toronto is okay.

  7. Hello Zhu!! Trust you are doing well in Canada. Its great to see that you are helping so many people with their immigration questions. Even the fact that you are not a immigration consultant. Really happy to have people like you!!

    I just wanted to ask you one question? Is it possible to courier PR card. I am planning to visit Canada for 2 months and the return to my home country back for some personal stuff and the moving permanently back within one year. Do you know anyone who has done this?

    • I don’t know anyone who did it personally. Would you receive it at an address in Canada and then have it mailed to you?

  8. thank you for all this useful information. i have been thinking how to go about in coming months with this pr process.

    I already submitted my profile on 31.3.2017 without paying the RPRF fees.
    On June 12, they asked me to pay RPRF Fees and i paid the same on June 13.

    I wish to make a travel to the USA during mid-july to early august for around 20-25 days.
    My question is if during this time, if the CIC asks me to submit passport to the local visa office (which I assume would be new delhi since I live and moved my application from here ), how am i going to travel? is there a way i can tell them that i will submit once i am back from my travel?
    if the passport submission is asked any time sooner than my travel dates, then within how many days is the passport returned, since I cant travel without a passport?
    to cut it short:
    1. Within how many days the CIC can ask for passport submission in my case?
    2. Within how many days do they return the passport?
    3. Will they entertain my plea to let me submit the passport once i am back from travel?

    I want to submit my passport in new Delhi to avoid any future hassles.
    please advice

    • You should communicate with the visa office, I don’t know.

      My own experience is probably irrelevant since I dealt with another visa office and it was 12 years ago.

  9. chantal lamb on

    Hello ZHU,

    I have a question pertaining to landing in Canada. We sponsored my mother and she has received her COPR and will be landing this summer just to receive her PR status and then will go back to the UK where she currently resides till a later date.

    With regards to listing items that she will bring at a later date when she does move permanently – should items be singularly itemized such as clothing, books, cd’s or just a broad value under heading clothing etc. She will only be bringing personal items such as clothing, books, cd’s, personal papers (photo albums, private papers, photographs etc), jewellery (non expensive), shoes, she will NOT bring furniture, appliances, car or anything of large value.

    Your help would be much appreciated.

  10. I know that after landing in Canada, I must live in Canada for at least two years within a five-year period. I would like to know that if it is possible to extend the five-year period, say eight years.

  11. Mam i need to ask that i recently got my pr visa and i am planning to visit Canada in November. How much money am i suppose to take with me? i have shown 14k CAD and i need to take all the money with me? and if i take all the money with me then still i need to take the updated bank statement with me?

  12. Hi Zhu, thanks for sharing the information! I have a question related to the CoPR, I have recently received the COPR but only 1 page has my photograph attached, the other page does not have it even though both copies look the same, is this normal or something is missing? Thanks!

    • Eric
      I’m also waiting for my COPR any day now. I’m curious of the amount of time they have given you to arrive in Canada. What is the last date they’ve given you to be able to arrive?

      Thank you

  13. Hi,

    My COPR has the destination of landing Halifax. I landed last year Nov’2016 at Toronto, and this year (Mar’17) I got a job in Montreal, Quebec.

    I am not bounded with any provincial nomination certificate, as I got my PR on the bases of my high score.

    Is this situation will create any issue with my citizenship ?

    It will be great if you can help me with this.

    Thanks in advance.

  14. Hi my name is hawkar ali i am from iraq thank you for your efforts. i have a question in the transit area at Canada airport can be requested as refuge . thank you

  15. Hi ZHU

    I have got my PR visa through Quebec program and will be landing at Montreal airport.
    when applying for the PR card, can I give Toronto address of my brother ?
    After a month I will be going back to settle my job and other affairs and on return after a year, can I land in Toronto and find a job there (since my brother is settled there)

    Please advise.

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