How long does it take to move to Canada after obtaining permanent residence?

An essential step in the immigration process to Canada is obtaining a permanent resident (PR) visa, but this is not the finish line. Many ask, “How long after receiving PR should I move to Canada?” The answer is not straightforward and depends on several factors: 

1. "Landing Process"

Within a year of receiving your permanent resident visa, you must complete the “landing process.” This process involves arriving at border control in Canada, providing documents, and going through customs and immigration. After successfully completing this part of the process, you officially become a permanent resident and receive a Certificate of Permanent Residence (COPR) document. 

2. Obtaining a Canadian permanent resident document

Although not mandatory, obtaining a permanent resident document is important for travel and work in Canada. IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) usually issues a new document within 36 days, but delays may occur. It is advisable to be in the country to obtain it, as IRCC does not send permanent resident cards outside of Canada. 

3. Obligation of residence

Canada requires permanent residents to be physically present for at least 730 days over five years to maintain their permanent resident status. This highlights the importance of living in Canada and contributing to society. However, there are exceptions:

  • Accompanying a Canadian spouse or parent on legal matters abroad.
  • Full-time employment with a Canadian company abroad with a valid work permit.
  • Complex medical cases or unusual personal circumstances (documented and approved by IRCC). 

4. Logistics and planning

Moving to a new country involves many logistical issues. You will need time to:

  • Find a home: Explore rental or purchase options based on your needs and budget. Depending on the location and market conditions, finding suitable housing may take weeks or months.
  • Prepare for employment by updating your resume, researching job opportunities, networking with professionals in your field, and possibly earning additional Canadian-recognized certifications.
  • Organize your luggage shipment: decide what to bring and send, compare offers from reliable international transport companies, and consider the customs clearance process and possible delays.
  • Complete your affairs in your country of origin: close accounts, renew subscriptions, and, if necessary, arrange asset management. 

So, how long will it take?

There is no definite answer since the timing depends on the individual or family. However, the total relocation period can be from 1.5 to 2 years. It is essential to start planning as early as possible, especially when searching for housing and employment. Pay attention to the residency requirements and try to spend the required period in Canada within five years. If necessary, seek professional advice from immigration consultants or lawyers for personal guidance and navigation of any complexity. Obtaining permanent residence in Canada is a significant step towards building a new life. Take your time, plan well, and try to be logistically and emotionally prepared for a smooth transition into your new home. 

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