PR Card Renewal vs Citizenship

The value of having Canadian citizenship

Bill C-6 received Royal Assent in June 2017, and the time lived in Canada requirement to become eligible for citizenship is back to the way it used to be before the former Conservative government changed it. Applicants must be physically present in Canada for three out of five years before applying for citizenship. Applicants may count each day they were physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident (PR) as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum credit of 365 days.

I was having a chat with one of my friends who has been eligible for citizenship for a while, and I couldn’t convince him to go ahead with applying for his Citizenship.The lower cost of PR renewal vs applying for citizenship was the main thing stopping him. Renewing his PR card for another 5 years would only cost him $50.

Getting your Citizenship is not cheap. One of the reasons why I applied for mine as soon as I was eligible was because IRCC was increasing the processing fee by $230 in 2015, a legacy from the former Conservative government. Currently the cost breakdown is: processing fee ($530) and right of citizenship fee ($100). 5 year adult passport ($120) or 10 year adult passport ($160).

I have to admit it is a bit of an investment, but it is something worth saving up for.


- cannot vote

- cannot have Canadian passport

- have to renew PR Card every 5 years, which disrupts travel plans especially with eTA being introduced 

- must be in Canada 2 out of every 5 years to maintain status


- can vote in municipal, provincial and federal elections

- can have 5 year or 10 year passport

- no residency requirements

- if you are a couple living overseas, e.g. husband Canadian Citizen and wife Canadian PR, one of you being a Canadian Citizen allows your partner (PR) to fulfill their PR residency obligations, if you are accompanied by your partner who is a Canadian Citizen.

PR is not permanent if you leave Canada. Occasionally PRs need to go back to their motherland to take care of ailing family members or for other reasons. What was supposed to be a 6 month stay may end up becoming a 4 year stay. You may open up a successful business overseas and also end up not fulfilling the PR residency requirements to maintain your PR status.

Of course, each person’s situation is unique and there can be other factors to consider. For example, Japanese citizens are not allowed to have dual citizenship--in cases like these I can understand why you would want to remain a PR.

So why not save up to make your stay truly permanent by applying for Citizenship?


The information provided in this blog does NOT constitute legal advice. Always consult the Act, Regulations, Manuals and other relevant materials.

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