Canada PR vs Canadian Citizen: What is the Difference? Guidance by Nona Bains

People often ask, “I want to get my Canadian citizenship – what do I have to do?” The terms “permanent resident” and “Canadian citizen” are often get confused. Although both offer rights to live legally in Canada, it still refers to different things as described below.

What is Permanent Resident Visa?

A legal permanent resident is someone who gets PR status from the Govt. of Canada and has the right to live in Canada indefinitely but is not a Canadian citizen. A permanent resident remains a citizen of another country. So whenever you travel outside of Canada, you must carry your PR card along with the passport of your respective country.

As a PR, you have the legal right to healthcare coverage, and you can travel within, work, and live anywhere in Canada. The biggest demerit as a PR is that you cannot vote, run for office, or hold some jobs with high-security clearance.

As a PR holder, you can apply for Canadian Citizenship once you have spent four years in Canada and meet all the permanent residence criteria.

What is Canadian Citizenship?

Generally, a person is a Canadian Citizen who is born within the county’s political border or a person who received Citizenship through the naturalization process in Canada.

What are the benefits of being a Canadian Citizen?

  • A Canadian Citizen is eligible to receive a Canadian passport. Many countries allow visa-free travel for Canadian citizens.
  • As a Canadian Citizen, you can leave and re-enter Canada at any time without requiring a re-entry permit.
  • You can vote in Canada federal and local elections, hold specific government jobs, and serve on juries.

The main difference between a Citizen and a PR holder is that a PR can be revoked, whereas a Citizenship stays forever.

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