The Value Of Citizenship Over Permanent Residence Status

Where citizenship has value over permanent residence status is that a citizen can vote and a permanent resident cannot vote.

Permanent Residents have an on-going Residency Obligation, which is not the case for Citizens. Once you become a Canadian citizen, you can move away for 30 years and then come back to Canada without losing your citizenship. If you are a permanent resident, however, before you become a citizen, you have an ongoing residency obligation. You have to accumulate 730 days in every five year period, which is two years residency in Canada within every 5 years. That can be a real restriction on someone who wants to study abroad, for example, or who wants to work abroad for a long period of time. They are at risk of losing their permanent resident status. So if you can accumulate the days necessary, apply for and receive your citizenship, then you have no more residency obligation attached to your status.

Permanent Residents can also lose their status if they are convicted of a serious criminal offence in Canada, which is not the case for citizens.

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This article is taken from a December 12, 2007 interview with Joshua B. Sohn B.A., LL.B. an immigration lawyer with Embarkation Law Group, a Vancouver immigration Law Firm. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.