Paths to permanent residency in Canada and immigration

As an international student who has come to know and love Canada, you may decide you want to extend your study permit. Or perhaps you want to live and work here after you graduate.

Canada welcomes you. After all, Canada is a country built on immigration.

Discover more about:

  • Extending a study permit
  • Renewing a temporary resident visa
  • Applying for permanent resident status
  • Immigrating to Canada

Extend a study permit

Your study permit allowed you to begin your studies in Canada. If you want to continue your education in Canada, you need to extend your study permit.

  • You need a valid passport to get or extend a study permit. This means the expiry date on your passport must go beyond the time of any extended study permit.
  • You must apply for an extension to your study permit at least 30 days before the current study permit expires.

The expiry date on your study permit is in the top right corner of the permit. Find out how to extend your study permit and what fees you will have to pay.

What if you want to stay in Canada but are no longer studying? You will need to:

To stay in Canada after your studies are completed, you’ll need a visitor visa if you don’t have a work permit.

Renew a temporary resident visa

A temporary resident visa (TRV) is an official document issued by a Canadian visa office. It takes up a page in your passport and shows you have met the requirements for admission to Canada as a temporary resident.

As an international student, you’ll have a valid study permit. However, your spouse/partner or children may be living with you in Canada thanks to a temporary resident visa. Some spouses and partners have a work visa, too.

If you decide to stay in Canada after your studies, your spouse, partner or children may also wish to stay. If so, they need to renew their temporary resident visa.

Apply for permanent resident status

As a student in Canada, you’re not a permanent resident (PR) or a citizen of Canada. When you finish your studies, you may want to immigrate to Canada and then become a citizen.

To do so, you need to apply for permanent resident status. Here’s how it works:

If you have finished your studies and you’re working at a job in Canada, you can apply to be considered within a pool of candidates that the government will allow to become permanent residents through the Express Entry program.

The rights of permanent residents

As a permanent resident, you have the right to:

  • Receive the social benefits that Canadian citizens do, including free health care in the province or territory where you live.
  • Live, work or study anywhere in Canada.
  • Apply for Canadian citizenship.
  • Be protected by Canadian laws and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

You must pay taxes and respect all Canadian laws at the federal, provincial and city levels.

As a permanent resident, you are not allowed to:

  • Vote or run for political office
  • Hold jobs that need a high-level security clearance

Residency requirements in Canada

When you’re a permanent resident, you can live outside of Canada. However, you must live in Canada for at least two years in a five-year period.

If you live outside of Canada for longer, you may lose your permanent resident status. Find out more about permanent resident status and the fees for applying.

Immigrate to Canada

If you wish to immigrate to Canada, you will be joining millions of other Canadians who applied to do so and are now Canadian citizens.

Categories of immigration

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is the federal government department responsible for immigration to Canada. The department’s website offers all you need to know about the different ways you and your family can immigrate to Canada.