Resettled refugees become permanent residents (PRs) the moment they sign their ‘Confirmation of Permanent Residence’ document at the airport. As Permanent Residents they:
- Access the same social benefits and health care coverage as Canadian citizens.
- Do not require a permit to study or work.
- Are protected under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
- Have responsibilities, including paying taxes and respecting all federal, provincial and municipal laws.
Permanent Resident (PR) Card Processing:
IRCC will automatically send each newcomer their PR Card in the mail after they arrive. There are often delays due to high volume, incorrect addresses, and problems with photographs.
- Ensure IRCC has the newcomers’ correct address. Address changes can be made online: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/change-address.asp. Choose "In Canada" and then just below "Step 3" click on the “Start” link in the grey box.
- The first card is free and processing time is 2-3 months.
- If you have waited more than 2-3 months and are concerned, contact your SAH.
- IRCC may mail a letter requesting new photographs for PR cards.
- If a PR card is not received within 180 days of arriving in Canada, a complete application, fee and photograph must be submitted to IRCC.
- newcomers must apply for a new PR card every 5 years or until they become Canadian Citizens. There is a renewal fee.
Travelling as a Permanent Resident:
Canadian permanent residents with refugee status are entitled to a Travel Document, which can be used with a PR card to travel outside Canada. However, for resettled refugees, there are serious considerations related to travelling outside of Canada before attaining citizenship:
- Re-entry to Canada is not guaranteed.
- Use of a passport from a refugee’s country of nationality and returning to that country can be considered ‘reavailment’ and will jeopardize one’s permanent residency status.