Expat FAQ

Do you have a general question on expatriation? FAQs give you answers to the most frequent questions: Departure.

Canada: How do I obtain a permanent resident card?

A permanent resident card entitles a foreigner to stay in Canada. People that have substantial personal and financial resources may qualify for permanent resident status as an investor or an entrepreneur. Applicants with family living within Canada may qualify for sponsorship under the Family Class designation without the need to meet financial requirements. Another option is if an applicant possess skills in a profession that is in high demand as a Skilled Worker. Self-employed workers may also qualify for permanent resident status in some instances. The wait time for processing a permanent resident visa application can be extremely lengthy, especially if you do not have sponsorship or a job offer in hand.

Document Checklist for Permanent Resident Card Application

  • Application for a Permanent Resident Card
  • Supplementary Identification Form, with Photo Attached
  • Photocopy of Secondary Identification Document
  • Two (2) Color Headshot Photos
  • Birth Certificate or Adoption Certificate (for Applicants Under 18)
  • Copy of Receipt for Fee Payment

Qualifying for a Visa Under Family Class Rules

If you have an eligible spouse, partner, parent (including adoptive parent) or other family member and is willing to sponsor your application for permanent resident status, your chances of being admitted to Canada as a permanent resident are much greater. Citizens and permanent residents may also sponsor other relatives under the Family Class category if they have no eligible dependents, spouses or partners or have previously sponsored all other eligible dependents, spouses or partners. Your sponsor must be at least age 18 and agree to provide for your financial support once you arrive in Canada if you are unable to provide for your own financial needs.

Necessary Documents for Family Sponsorship Visa Applications

Dependent Children

Canadian citizens may sponsor their biological and adopted children for permanent resident status under Family Class regulations. Your child must be under age 22, and may not have a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner at the time of his or her application unless he or she married or became involved in the relationship before reaching age 22 and has remained financially dependent. If your child is over age 22, he or she must either be enrolled as a full-time student or unable to live independently due to a physical or mental disability.

Parent and Grandparent Super Visa

As of November 5, 2011, Canada placed a 24-month hiatus on new applications for sponsoring parents or grandparents for permanent resident status. No new applications will be accepted until the hiatus has been lifted.

If you are a parent or a grandparent of a Canadian citizen, you may be eligible for a Parent and Grandparent Super Visa. This allows you to remain in Canada for up to two years without having to renew your visa status. The visa is a multiple-entry visa, which means that you may make short trips outside of Canada, and return to Canada without having to reapply.

You must apply for the visa outside of Canada, although exceptions may be made if you have come to Canada within the past six months and otherwise qualify for a super visa. You must also undergo a medical examination and purchase Canadian medical insurance.


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