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. dear mam,

    i landed toronto on 22 oct 2015. but still today i have not receive my pr card. when i will recieve my pr card.

  2. Hi
    I read in your website,that if one apply PR card along with landing process at airport,it is processed quickly and that it is for free,
    Pl confirmed as I guess, the fee for PR is $50 per person.

  3. Andres Jr Arreza on

    Hi there, I have a little question it is about the exit process in the border in Niagara, my concern is do i have to have US visa to exit the border because i got my Confirmation of Permanent Residence.Please give me feed back about this…Thanks

  4. I have landed in Canada but I need to go out of Canada to my home country.
    My COPR has expired and PR card is not received.
    Can I fly back from Toronto airport with expired COPR?

  5. Good day,

    Kindly clarify if it is possible to just do the landing in Montreal while my destination city mentioned is Toronto. I am aware of the CAQ certificate but I just need to enter from montreal and the next day, I will drive to Ottawa (instead of Toronto) to finish up my paperwork. Pls advise.

  6. Sweetu k joseph on

    Hi, if I landed with PR in Quebec migration, how much time I have to spend there, I mean after getting a PR card, is it possible to move to some other province in canda? If possible is there any problem for citizenship process later?

    Hopefully waiting for your kind rply

  7. Dear Madam

    Great Days

    Kindly Advise Me.

    It’s Possible to Apply Canada Work Permit Visa Through – Letter of Employment of Invitation, This Letter Very Soon Resived From Canada Employer. Is this enough to apply Canada work Permit Visa? Or Landed immigrant visa at Canada or From India.


    What Are Documents Required For To Apply Landed Immigrant Visa, From Canada Employer and Employee?


    How to apply landed immigrant Canada visa and what are the Documents Required from Canada Employer and Employee?

    Please advise the Documents Required from Canada Employer and Documents Required From Employee.

    Awaiting for your kind reply. Thank you You

    Yours Faithfully



  8. Zhu you wrote a very wonderful and detailed article. It’s amazing the information we can find on blogs and I really appreciate the detail you have provided. My wife just received an email stating she was approved for PR and was asked to send her passport and 2 photos to the Beijing office to complete the process. There was a tiny link below the Beijing office’s address that led to a site that explained forms and a consent paper needed to be filled out and the forms section took us back to CIC for the IMM forms we already completed long ago. CIC sometimes posts general links so it’s my understanding she just needs to send the form in the email, passport, and the 2 super specific photos to the office and that’s it? Or is there another form and fee she needs to send with it. The email didn’t mention any more forms, this link was below the address as a footnote almost. I paid the Right to Permanent Residence Fee upfront.

    • Hi,

      I’m sorry, I have no idea, I’m not familiar with the process the Beijing office uses. When I received my PR, I only provided my passport, I think I had given the pictures with the application. But this was over ten years ago in a different country. Congrats on your wife’s PR!

  9. Thank you so much for ur time
    My question is my husband will be coming soon and he will not stay until he gets his PR , so what does PR travel document means and where he can apply and for how long he can get it ???

  10. Thank you so much for your information!

    Is it alright to fold our confirmation of permanent residence before our flight or should we not fold it? Thank you in advance!

  11. Hi
    My daughter just received Conformation about migrating to Canada as a PR. She received this news in march but she hasn’t landed in Canada yet. I need to know if there is a time frame that is given to leave the country of origin to Canada and if so what is the time frame as it was not mentioned in the letter she receive from the embassy

    • … it’s written on the visa…

      (Also, “hi” and “thank you” are always appreciated, I’m not your immigration consultant!)

  12. princess bernardo on

    Timely discussion – I am thankful for the analysis . Does anyone know where my business could acquire a template Canada IMM 5257 version to edit ?

  13. Hello,
    I got my PR application approved in June 2015 and got a one time entry visa valid till April 2016I landed in Canda well before time and got my PR Card as well now I am in my home country to get married.My would be is an indian citizen living in India can I file to sponcer him from India or do I need to be in Canada? If yes do I u hv to stay in Canada till the entire process complete or can I come back ?and for how long can I stay back in India while the his application is under process??

    • As far as I know, you need to be a resident of Canada (and a PR or a Canadian citizen) to sponsor a spouse. You need to show intent to physically resident in Canada.

  14. Hi I along with my family completed my landing on April 2016. Left Canada two weeks later to return back to my Job in the UAE. Have not received my PR Card Yet. I now need to travel back to Canada and prefer to travel by road or foot through Niagara Falls. Can I enter Canada using Client Copy of COPR and a Valid Passport.
    (Note I do not belong to a Visa exempt Country)
    Many Forums and Blogs say that It should be fine. just trying to get as many inputs as I can.

  15. Hello!
    My decision “deadline” is on Nov 2 2016.
    If (fingers crossed) I get approved for Quebec, can I leave ASAP?

    Thank you in advance!

    • I’m not sure I understand your question. You mean you’re waiting for a CSQ? If so, you still need to complete the federal part of the immigration process.

  16. Hi dear,first thank you for spending time to help others.

    My wife and I are doing landing soon but we have jobs and resident permits in Japan.We have to finish landing process by January and than we are planing to go back to Japan.
    I did some research but wasn’t able to find straight answer for our case.
    My question is:
    Do we have to pay taxes in Canada considering that we pay taxes in Japan and what taxes would that be?
    Many thanks

  17. Zhu – Thank you once again for your wonderful post. I am sure this has been of help to hundreds of folks.

    1. I received my COPR through FSW. My destination city is entered as Toronto. I stay in Boston and is easier to cross over Montreal. Is it true that I cannot complete my landing process in Quebec (or Montreal)? I did see in one of the posts I can enter through Montreal but complete paper work in Ottawa. True?

    2. I do not plan to move to Canada until a year or so. If I become a PR am I expected to pay taxes in the income earned outside of Canada? Would I need to pay any medical premiums? I don’t need to apply for a SIN nor do I plan to use the medical coverage until I actually immigrate or move.

    3. After landing process, I plan to provide a relatives mailing address in Canada to receive PR and head back to US. Assuming as long as I receive this PR card from my relative I dont need the one time PR travel document?

    Many thanks for your help!!

    • 1. I’m not sure. Quebec has its own separate immigration process so it could be a problem because you don’t have a CSQ. I’m not current on the process…

      2. Not that I know of. The best would be to call the Canada Revenu Agency (they are pretty friendly!) and ask, but as far as I know, you only pay taxes in Canada if you reside in Canada.

      3. Correct!

  18. Once I land in Canada and hand in my CoPR with my BSF186 list of what I am going to bring later, I am going to fly back to the US to get ready to move. Sell our house, pack, and work until Jan. 2018. When I return with my belongings can I amend the BSF186? I may have a different car, maybe add another car or RV. Art or Jewelry?

  19. hello. i just got my decision made paper.. but on the document i dont have my id number on it.. is that the same for you? thank you 🙂

  20. Hello,

    I just i applied on May,2016 and they start processing my application first of June,2016 for my PR application under family sponsorship.
    i have a question regarding the address, as per CIC the PR card it will be sent to your Canadian home address and need to change it before 180days.
    Now i am currently living in Saudi Arabia and when i am checking online my application status on CAS it shows that current home address is Saudi Arabia. Now i need to know that when the status become (decision made ) do i need to change my address to the Canadian home address on CAS ( Client application status) ?


    • You will give your Canadian address when you land, for your PR card to be mailed. As your application is being processed, there is not need to do this now.

  21. Hi, i landed here in canada last june as permanent resident. Im planning to go back home to settle things. Is it possible to leave canada? Can i come back canada with pr card?

  22. Thank you very much for this article. It is very helpful. I only have one question regarding entering Canada. See, I recently got my PR and have until July 2017 to move to Canada. I live in Taiwan now. But before moving to Canada I’d like to visit some family members in NYC and Boston. My plan is to do just that then drive to Montreal afterwards. So my question is, can I enter by land with my immigrant visa or does it have to by air?


  23. hi
    I appreciate if you can answer me my query.
    I am in CA from 5 years on work permit and got PR this month.
    I had not to re-enter Canada as I got appointment with IRCC within Montreal and they did my PR entry right at their office. I think this is relatively new and you don’t need to exit and enter back Canada.
    Now my query:
    I heard, If person enters Canada first time as PR through some border, he/she does declaration of his/her assets outside canada, like property, gold, furniture etc. This declaration is in some cases hand written list/excel sheet and they stamp and give you copy of it. This is helpful when you bring those items in future or sell your property and bring large amount of money and it avoids paying duties, etc on all this.
    Now when I asked the lady at my appointment about this declaration, she had no idea of it, and she said I should contact CUSTOMs for that and they only doing immigration.
    Can anyone share such experience / feedback on that please?

    • I can’t share feedback frorm my own experience because I didn’t bring anything into Canada, I already lived there. Your best bet is to contact CBSA.

  24. Hi!

    This was certainly great info…thanks for sharing.

    My husband will be coming to Canada for the first time on Dec 20th and I was hearing that I have to “receive” him at the airport. I will be there to pick him up of course but do I need to do anything on my end or just wait for him to come out?

  25. Hi,
    I recently got spouse visa. My question is that when my spouse sponsored me she was in Toronto now she moves to Saskatchewan. Iy is necessary for me to land in Toronto or I can land Calgary?

  26. Hello Ms. Zhu!!!
    I’d like to ask If I can start processing my spousal sponsorship right away after my landing? (I’m under QSW process)

    and when I start the process can I leave Canada to visit some relatives not more than a month?

    Thanks in advance!!! Appreciated your time!

    • Yes, you can start a sponsorship process as soon as you land as a permanent resident.

      You can leave Canada during the process (there is no specific time limit on how long you should be away), but you probably want to check your mail regularly to make sure you aren’t missing on a deadline or important documents 🙂

  27. My daudhtor in law in Calagary she has apply for p r under express entery with Lima three month it take for PR

  28. roshan rodrigues on

    Hi my name is Roshan, I just received a Confirmation letter of Permanent Residence.The same with my wife and kid,
    1st.. Do i have to cross the canadian boarder first before i book there ticket.
    2nd.. Can i get them at once even if i did not cross the canadian boarder…which i can do after they come to canada.

  29. Hello Zhu,

    I received my confirmation letter of PR today, I have been asked to submit my passport, pictures and CHC document to Riyadh. which i will submit soon. My concern is that my medical is expiring in first week of April, So does this mean i have to travel before April? i am currently working and i have a lot of things to wind up from the place where i am living currently.Can i go to canada for two days finish my PR card work on the Airport and fly back the next day? My brother lives in Canada, I am planning to give his Address and can he receive my PR Card on my Behalf? If yes does he need to show any proof for receiving it? My brother will be coming to my country in June he will get me the PR Card at that time.
    Kindly guide me….Thank you for your help

    • You should ask CIC, I’m not sure. I’ve heard of people taking another medical exam if theirs was about to expire. You can land and go home to wrap things up, yes.

  30. Hello Zhu,

    I have a different question. I landed in Dec 2009 and glad to say I am a Canadian Citizen now.

    However recently i have had the need to obtain a landing document that I do not ever recall receiving? I came from the UK with UK/EU passport with a Visa counterfoil issued in it from the CHC-London under the skilled worker program to Calgary Airport.

    Am I correct in saying that before Dec 2011 citizens of visa exempt countries like the UK only had visa counterfoils for landing and NO landing document issued? or would I have received a landing paper also in which case the immigration officer never returned it to me.

    I have applied for a replacement but has caused me some problems.

    Thank you in advance.

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