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The Difference Between Canadian PR and Citizenship


Citizenship Act marked the day June 19th, 2017 as a milestone. Not only did Senate pass the legislation on June 15 in a vote of 51 for and 29 against, but Royal Assent was also received on June 19. The good news for changes in measures contained in the new act is three years of physical residency instead of four. Meanwhile, you can count each day you spent as student or worker prior to becoming a Permanent Resident as a half-day towards the days calculation.

2017年6月19日,Bill C-6 公民法修改正式生效,此前4天参议院以51比29多票通过,只等最后一部的皇室批准。新的公民法对申请人的居住限制大大减少。最大的变化两条是四年改三年枫叶卡身份的居住可申公民(当然你不必需申),三年报税,且枫叶卡身份之前的加拿大学签,工签也可“半价”折算日期。

When you search the difference between PR and Citizen on CIC website, you’ll only find limited explanation. Many applicants who are qualified for Citizen choose not to apply simply because of avoiding the trouble of application for Chinese Visa. Yes, a Canadian Citizen does need a Chinese/Asian Visa to travel to Asia. Having said that, it would still be wise to be fully informed of the privilege of Citizenship before you make up your mind.

As far as immigration law is concerned, a person can only have one of the three statuses in Canada: Foreign National, Permanent Resident, or Citizen.

PR and Citizen refer to Canadian PR and Citizen in this article. U.S. Immigration law is similar, but you should consult with an U.S. attorney for details.

如果你搜索官网,我们只能查到最基础的PR和Citizenship的区别。有不少申请人为了能够用PR往返中国而不想申请中国签证,而一直不申请Citizenship, Citizenship的好处远比纸面上的说得多,下面就来全盘清点PR枫叶卡身份和Citizen 公民身份的相似和区别。



Here are the rights and privileges PR and Citizen share, but not available to Foreign Nationals.

Both PR and Citizen are free to do anything you like, full time, part time, multiple shifts, switching career, study (on full amount student loan), self-employed, entrepreneur, invest, or doing nothing at all. You don’t need special immigration permit to do these while Foreign Nationals normally need all kinds of permits to stay in Canada. Foreign national normally would consider being out of status without proper documentation.

Both PR and Citizen are eligible to apply governmental medical insurance, student loan, social assistance, Canada Pension Plan, Children’s benefit, waived tuition for public pre-K to 12 education, etc. You don’t have to work to enjoy these benefits (Foreign nationals need work permit to apply). Certain benefit restrictions may apply to PR based on family sponsorship.

Both PR and Citizen are protected by law and acts while living within Canada Border.

Both PR and Citizen can apply 10-year multiple entries, 2-year single stay Parent SuperVisa.

Both PR and Citizen can sponsor their parents for PR, with income and tax specific requirement. Parents of PR or Citizen are treated the same, given the other criteria are met.





均可替父母申请10年有效,入境2年的Supervisa 探亲签证


Here are the rights and privileges that differ:

Only Citizen can vote. PR can’t.

Citizen can come and go inside Canada as wishes. PR has to follow 2 out of 5 years residency obligation.

When failed to abide residency obligation, PR may still have a chance to appeal and get PR status back. However, loss of PR status due to residency happens to thousands of PR each year *. Unless war criminal or serious misrepresentation, revoked citizenship happens extremely rare.

PR can apply regular governmental job, but Citizen will be given priority. Such as positions in Canadian intellectual offices, or scientific research and development and innovation positions, will be given priority to Citizens, then PR, foreign nationals being the last tier.

PR can’t run for office or hold high-level clearance positions. Qualified Citizen can.



枫叶卡得满足每五年住两年的移民监,方可持续自由进出加拿大。公民不用坐移民监 。

枫叶卡的移民监不是严格强制,在规定法律情形下可以宽容,但因移民监丢失枫叶卡仍属于常见案例(每年大约有至少2千起因移民监主动或被动放弃枫叶卡的案例*)。 公民除非是war criminal一类,通常不会取消,取消的都是极度极端案例会上报高级法院或国会备案(但凡有案例都是教科书级别案例)。


需要竞选的政府职位,和更严格背景调查(high-level clearance)的职位,枫叶卡不可参加。

PR may face deportation when charged under a criminal code for more than 6 months. Generally speaking, citizen will not be deported when facing criminal charges.

When a PR goes to a third country other than his/her home country or Canada, he/she will need to apply Visa based on his/her original citizenship. While Canada passport holders can enjoy visa exemption to dozens of countries around the globe, including USA, Europe, British Crown Colony. However, Canadian Citizens do need a China Visa.

Per reciprocal agreement with USA, Canada citizens with skilled experience and education, can work for any qualified US employers indefinitely, special labour certificate or lengthy processing time of H visa is waived.

Per reciprocal agreement to facilitate youth exchange, Canada citizens, younger than 35 years old, can apply non-restricted 12 to 24 months work permit to work in countries in Europe, British Crown Colony, etc.





Both PR and Citizen can sponsor their spouse and children for PR. PR can only submit sponsorship when the sponsor is in Canada, whereas Citizen can put in sponsorship application either in or outside of Canada.

When living outside of Canada, only citizenship will grant you protection from Canadian Embassy. Especially if you live in a war country, you seek help to your citizenship country. Say if you have a South Korean Citizenship and Canada PR, you cannot go to Canada Embassy for eviction assistance. Again, there may be exceptions.

The last clause is not a legal term, but more of a common knowledge one: For expatriate families, Canada citizen get global pay scale, on the contrast, Chinese citizen, even if this expat has lived in Canada for a long time, when he/she been reassigned to China, you only get local pay scale, which often three times less than Global Pay.

*Of thousands renouncing PR cases each year, seldom does applicant understand the legal right and pathways to maintain PR status. It’s sad for me to see people give up PR status without knowing their options. Please consult with Avery before you renounce PR.

This blog passage is for personal opinion and information only. The context in this article is not legal advice.

The author is Avery Liao for both languages, please don’t violate copyright act by copying without authorization.



此项非法律条款,而是商业社会约定俗成条款:加拿大公民驻海外跨国公司,国际学校等工作时,多为全球高薪水准(Global Pay)。加拿大枫叶卡驻海外工作,如中国国籍加拿大枫叶卡持有者被外派至中国上海跨国公司,多为当地薪金标准(Local Pay). Global Pay和Local Pay的差距可达三倍以上。




images by CICNEWS via""

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