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. Hi
    So my parents applied for permanent residency and we were successful in obtaining it. I was however under 18 at that point in time when we moved to Canada.
    Due to personal reasons we moved back home so we did not meet the residency requirements (2 out of 5yrs).
    Now that I’m of a legal age, do you think it is possible that I can get back my card?

  2. Hello Zhu,

    First of all, nice blog!

    My wife and I were granted with the COPR last month, and now we are planning the next steps of our new life in Canada.

    The program to which we’ve applied was the Federal Skilled Worker, and the city we’ve chosen was Calgary.
    Thus, I’d like to know if we must start living and working in this city since our very first day in Canada (and if yes, for how long do we have to stay there?), or if we are free to choose another city (such as Vancouver or Toronto) to settle down.

    Thanks a lot,


    • First of all, congratulation on the PR and welcome to Canada! I hope you will like it here 🙂

      As permanent residents, you can live and work anywhere in Canada, unless you applied in the provincial nominee program. It can be a bit tricky to move to Quebec since you didn’t go through the provincial immigration program, but no issue for Vancouver or Toronto.

      • Hello, Zhu!

        We may decide to move to Quebec in the future, but now we are very excited about all the opportunities and challenges we will have everywhere else.

        Merci et à bientôt!

          • Thanks for a nice and wonderful post!!
            Well we have also got Canada and COPR. We are planning to got to canada currently just for 2-3 weeks and after sometime by settling things at India than may be will decide to go for permanent stay.

            My question is- we have friend and relative in Canada so can we give their address and thru them can we receive our PR card. Also can we issue our SIN card, and avail child benefits( child care benefits) since our child is of 2 yrs. available to below 6 yrs of child.-

            If we Plan to apply for them immediately after landing.

            Pls. help in resolving the query.

            Looking forward for the reply.

          • I don’t see an issue with receiving your PR at a relative’s address if you don’t have an address yet in Canada. You can apply for a SIN number right after landing. As for child benefits, I’m not sure. We claim ours when doing the taxes, not sure how it works for a newcomer. However, to receive these benefits, you must establish residence in Canada. You won’t receive them while you are in India.

  3. Hi Zhu, great post.

    I did get mail from Canadian immigration asking to submit my passport and I am on my way for it.

    I applied for it year back when I was in India. Now I am working on USA on H1. Once I Land in Canada can I still work for my US company? If I have to travel on job to US will it still count towards 45 days in Canada to get my PR?

    Thanks sisheer

    • Congrats on your PR. I’m not sure about your questions because they involve the US… as far as I know yes, you can work for a foreign company, but if you aren’t physically present in Canada it won’t count toward the residency requirements.

  4. Hi Zhu
    I just got my canadian PR. Currently I am studying in US under F-1 visa and I still have 3 more years for graduation. My university is in border town and I want to commute daily from Canada to USA for my studies, so as to fulfill my canadian residency obligations. Will this fulfill my residency obligations and how feasible is it?

  5. Hi Zhu and thanks for the great post although I’ve a few more questions.

    My sibling applied for a family sponsorship for my parents and me. We recently got the request for the medical and got that done. My parents were initially travelling to Canada on a visit visa but after getting the medical done, we are expecting a request for the passport for landing visa. My question is:

    1) They have a valid visitor visa for 5 years, do they still require the landing visa to enter? If yes then can they do it by submitting the permanent residency letter along with the passport to any visa office? My parents are based in pakistan but all correspondence is being done from London UK as the file got transferred there during the union strike. Can they send the passport while being in Canada?

    2) I’m currently an international student in Canada. I was wondering how all this will work for me? Where do I send my passport and do I need a landing visa or not? If I can’t apply for landing visa in Canada, can I submit my passport to a US visa office by going to US or by post? If I don’t need the visa then can I just go to the border with my PR letter and get my landing done?

    Your help will be much appreciated as I am not getting any feedback from CIC regarding this matter through phone or email. Thank you Zhu

    • Hey,

      I’m sorry but this is too technical for me to answer. Hopefully someone will know… but you’d better off trying with CIC again. It’s been ten years since I landed, many things changed since.

  6. Hello there!

    Just got our PPR request and will be sending out our passports in the next 2 weeks as we already made plans of going to the US, so we decided to mail it after our trip. So basing it from our friends’ experiences, they got their passports back after 3 weeks. Assuming that we receive our passports back after 3 weeks, We are planning to do our landing through a Canadian border. My question is, we have another US trip planned after our landing, so obviously we still do not have our PR cards, can we still travel outside Canada and come back without any hassle?

    Thanks in advance! Any input will be very much appreciated!

    • Hey Elizabeth if you don’t mind me asking how long after the medical did you get your passport request? I got mine done like a few days ago so just trying to estimate the expected time.

    • Technically, if you landed, leaving Canada and reentering shouldn’t be a huge deal. However, I’ve heard it can be complicated without a PR card to prove your status. I can’t offer much more than this, it often depends on the border officer.

  7. Saket Paharia on

    Thanks for writing about the process with such details.

    I (principal applicant) and my wife (dependent) have just completed landing for PR in June 2015 and came back to India. PR card will reach to a friends address.

    My wife is planning to change employer within India in month of July. We are expecting our PR cards to reach to friends place about same time ( mid July).

    My query is should we inform about this job change to CIC, will there be any impact on our PR card process. We only have COPR letter with us in India.

    • If you already landed, you’ve been granted permanent residence, so I think your current employer in India is no longer relevant at this stage 🙂

  8. Hi zhu
    I have my PR approved and am about to enter Canada through immigration to activate it better it expires. I will then be returning to the UK until I still my house so I can then leave the UK for good.
    When I land, do I need to have travel insurance in order to her my landing card?
    More importantly, can I apply for my PR card using my friends address in Canada as a posting address ( he will then send it to me in the UK) or do I apply for a travel document, in order that I can return to Canada when I’m ready, then apply for the PR card after that, when I have my own address in Canada?

    • CIC doesn’t require you to have travel insurance, this is up to you. I would advise it to cover the first few months (three? maybe it changed…) before you are eligible for OHIP in Ontario, or whatever provincial insurance you will be eligible for.

      I think you can use your friend’s address for the PR, many people do that.

  9. Hi Zhu sorry for my writing I am on it.
    I want to ask you also about my situation.
    I aplly like principal aplicant with my 2 kids a boy of 14 years old and a girl 6 years old.
    My question is if I go first to look after job,house…and when I have all the thinks ok to go back to pic up my kids will not be a problem.
    CIC send me an email with the instruction for me and my kids to pass the medical exam on 3 th of July I have the upoitment.After this I think I will have to send the passports for the visa. Am I correct.

    • I believe you’re correct. The main applicant can enter Canada first, just make sure your kids land by the date on the visa.

  10. Thank you for your answer and you are the first person in all web I have seen before give a very useful information.
    Your blog is number one for me.

  11. Amarkumar patel on

    Thanks for good advice … I have some question plz answer me in my private email address if you can…
    I got pr on PNP base my wife is main applicant and i m her dependent on the pr file so when i enter canada can i bring all kitchen stuff.. And kitchen food …

  12. Hey! I got an email for my PR card today. It says I have to send my passport for landing visa but I am already in Canada on a study permit and my parents are also here on a TRV. The email states that I have to submit my passport in Islamabad, Pakistan (my home country). I was wondering if there is an exception to submit the passport here somewhere in north america as Im already here? Do I still need the landing visa even if I have a valid visa? Can something be done on the land border?

    Your help will be appreciated.

  13. Thank you for your posts. They are very useful,
    I became permanent resident just yesterday and I went to apply for the health card this morning
    I read something that I can not leave the country more than 30 days in the first 6 months. It’s that true?
    I have my ticket for November, 15th and I was planning to spend Christmas in my country and then come back…

    • Congratsfor your PR!

      You have to check with your provincial healthcare system, but yes, I remember this rule with OHIP in Ontario. You have to establish residency to be eligible. Check with them, it may have changed.

  14. Hey Zhu

    I recently received my PPR (passport request) for permanent residence visa stamping. Initially we had applied from Pakistan so the letter states us to send the passport to Islamabad for the visa but I’m in Canada already for study permit and also my parents are visiting me here. Is it possible to change the visa office? Has it happened in past? Can I send my passport to Ottawa? I can email them but I don’t expect them to reply anytime soon. Please help

    • I don’t believe you can change visa office, especially not that late in the process. If Islamabad processed your application, they are the ones delivering the visa.

  15. i got my pr visa and decided to exit back to my country philippines. what to i need to bring with me with i come back here in canada?

  16. Greetings,

    I am departing for Canada by September 2015, i am relocating to be with my spouse in canada.

    i had wanted to know how difficult it would be to get a job in Ontairo as that is where she resides.

    Any ffedback you can give will be appreciated

  17. Hi…

    Great post! I was just wondering if the “can study and work anywhere in Canada” applies to persons who obtained PR visa through Quebec skilled worker program?

  18. Hi!!
    I have a question. If the person is outside Canada and he is having Permanent Residence confirmation documents and an Entry Visa then after reaching Canada and becoming landed immigrant after that what will happen? Does we have to go to the Permanent Residence office for getting the Permanent Residence card??

    • I’m not sure I understand your question. When you land in Canada (i.e. enter Canada with your permanent residence visa) the officer will ask for an address to mail the PR card.

  19. Hi,

    I will be moving to Canada along with my family on PR. My Daughter’s passport will be expiring in 10 days after we enter Canada. We will be applying for renewal of passport once we enter Canada. Is there any difficulty or obstacles to enter Canada considering the given fact ?

    your inputs and guidance will be highly appreciated.


    • Congratulations on your PR status and welcome to Canada!

      You might want to check if Canada requires passports to be valid for a certain length of time after entering, that’s the only thing that comes to mind. Is her PR visa in her current passport?

  20. Hii,

    I am currently in India and have received my and husband’s PR card in Canada by my relative’s but my son who is 2 year old has not received.

    So can anyone share email id or contact no. of CIC in India , so that i can enquire them about the status.


  21. Hi Zhu,
    Could you please provide some input to my query, answer to your question is Yes, my daughters PR Visa is in her current passport.

    • I don’t have an answer, I’m not an immigration lawyer 🙂 Maybe someone will read your comment and have an idea, but the best way is always to contact CIC.

  22. Hi,
    i already have a COPR , but still waiting for my PR card. I received it when i was already in Canada. I have multi visitor visa. My question is if my visitor visa is still actual because i want to go on vacation to Mexico for a week and i am not sure if i need a PR travel document or i can still use my visitor visa? The expiration of my visa is in July 2016. Thank you,
    Best regards, Evgeniia!

    • I’m sorry, I don’t know and I don’t want to give you a wrong answer. You’d better contact CIC to know for sure. And congrats on the PR status!

  23. Hi Zhu,

    I just received by COPR and entry visa today. I currently live and work in SA and do not want to leave my job till mid next year but will arrive canada next week to become a landed immigrant and then leave. From your article I understand this should not be a problem.

    My question is around the proof of funds. I applied under the FSW program so provided proof of funds during the application, do you think i need to provide it when i land in canada?

      • Thanks for your reply, I will have it ready.
        One last question – do I have to land in the city specified on my COPR? Mine says Halifax but I have family in Toronto, I dont want to have to land in Halifax if I dont need to

        • No, I think you can land wherever you want (unless you were selected by a province, in which case it’s a bit more complicated). You should check with official sources though, I’m… just a blogger?

  24. Hi Zhu, how are you?

    My wife and I have the COPR valid to February 2016 and we will land in Canada for the first time on the 26th of December to start the process of our PRC issuing.

    However, we will have to come back to our home country a few days later to settle our businesses and finish selling our stuff. Finally we shall be back to Canada in March 2016, at this time to start looking for a job, a place to live etc. and stay there definitively.

    I see that, among other documents, I have to bring with us the two lists of our belongings, one listing the things we will take with us in our first landing (on December 26, 2015) and another listing the things shall arrive later (probably those things we will take with us on our definitive arrival in March 2016).

    Last, but not least, is the fact that we have a dog and we will bring her to Canada (by hiring a specialized company) to live with us after we find a place to live (what we expect to do just a few days after we have arrived in March 2016).

    That said, I’d like to ask: do we have to declare our dog in any of the two lists of our belongings, or is there a special document that we should prepare and anticipate to the officer from the CBSA at the airport? (of course, we will follow the formal process for importing a domestic dog to Canada which is explained at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website).

    Thank you very much,


    • Hi André,

      First of all, congratulations on the permanent residence status and I wish you the best for your new life in Canada.

      I wish I had an answer for you but I’m clueless, this is rather precise and I don’t have a dog and my landing process was much easier since I had no belongings. The best advice I can give you is to contact the relevant authorities.

  25. Hello Zhu,

    Thank you for the article!

    I would like to ask you about crossing the US land boarder. I have the COPR and the immigrant visa, but I don’t have any US visa. Will they let me enter US and come back to get the CORP signed or should I first get some US visa?
    I am a Ukrainian citizen on a Study Permit in Canada so I do need a visa to travel to the US; however, I’ve heard about a “buffer” zone by the Canada-US boarder where you don’t need a visa if you intend to return to Canada right away (to sign the CORP form).

    Thank you in advance!

    Best Regards,

    • I think that if you ask to be a “refused alien” (i.e. you don’t actually enter the US) you could be okay. I’m not sure I would take the risk though, please confirm with the US authorities beforehand.

      And congrats on the PR!

  26. Hey!! I have a question i ll be landing as permanent resident and my concern is can I provide my United States mailing addres for my PR card as i will do my landing at coutts border and go back to states as soon as i am done with landing process bcoz i have to finish my pending work and it ll take time. Do they mail PR card to United States as i dont have any Canadaian addres and it will take more than 5 to 6 months to finish all my work!! Thank you!!

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