Canadian Permanent Residence: It’s Official!

This is the blog post that I’ve been waiting 14 months to write. I can finally let you all know that we are officially now Permanent Residents of Canada! The video below is a little something that my creatively talented other half put together to celebrate the occasion. The first part is the sentimental 60-second history of our two years in Canada, and the second part is what actually happened on the day. Enjoy…

The letter arrived in the mail last Friday, about two weeks after our  online application status changed from ‘Application Received’ to ‘Decision Made’. They wouldn’t tell me what the decision was, just that it would be sent to me in writing. I was terrified to open the brown envelope with the big Citizenship & Immigration Canada stamp on it, but after double checking that no fees had been refunded onto my credit card I summoned up the courage. It was good news! We were so excited to have the official paperwork in our hands, and made plans to head to the border the next day to make it all official.

The god news letter!

The good news letter!

The process for ‘activating’ Permanent Residency is very similar to that of ‘activating’ a new working holiday visa, in that you can only do it coming into Canada from outside the country. Luckily we were practised at the phenomenon known as flagpoling from our 2012 working holiday visa experience. It was still more than a little disconcerting to be handed the whole ‘Refusal from the Unites States’ form, but there was very little waiting involved and we were back in the line for Canada within 30 minutes.



We weren’t so lucky on this side, and spent 45 minutes crawling slowly up to the attendant before being directed to the Canadian Immigration Office. We were seen very quickly, and asked to sit and wait while the Officer went through our paperwork. We were called up to the counter individually to confirm that we haven’t committed any crimes in Canada and that we don’t have any other dependents, and then the moment of glory arrived! Our friendly and welcoming Officer (really he was, it was nice guy day at the border on both sides, what a relief!) welcomed us to Canada and handed us our passports, an information sheet about Permanent Residency and two miniature paper Canadian flags. Yes, flags! I immediately started waving them around in excitement and we went outside to take the obligatory celebration photos and video footage.

Thank you to @ZipcarVancouver for the wheels!

Thank you to @ZipcarVancouver for the wheels!

Our Permanent Resident  cards will arrive in the mail in 6-8 weeks, though in the meantime we have a ‘Confirmation of Permanent Residence’ stapled into our passport. This is our proof of Permanent Resident status should we want to do resident-type things like apply for a permanent SIN number or enroll in an educational program. Being a Permanent Resident means that we still can’t vote and we’re not eligible for a Canadian passport, but we’ll be apply for both of these things when we become eligible for Citizenship in three years. Until then, we’ll be mostly found basking in the glory of no more paperwork, visa applications or permit fees. It’s a pretty fun place to be.


Application Timeline


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About MarmitetoMaple

I'm originally from the UK and have been working and living the dream in Vancouver, BC, since January 2011. I am a firm believer in travel, good cheese, volunteering and community engagement.

51 responses to “Canadian Permanent Residence: It’s Official!”

  1. Nathalie says :

    Congratulations! We don’t know each other and I don’t really comment but I’ve been following your blog and your adventures for a little while. Maybe one day I’ll take the same “leap of faith” because I love Canada (more the Toronto area though) and certainly your experience will prove very useful. Although not being from a Commonwealth country (Switzerland) won’t help at all. I wish you all the best in the True North and will happily keep on reading your blog updates 🙂 Cheers

    • marmitetomaple says :

      Hi Nathalie, thank you so much for the comment and the kind words! I’m glad you’ve been enjoying my journey, best of luck if you do decide to go for the big move over this way! I’m not sure being from a Commonwealth country has had any benefit for us actually, so you might even be better off! 🙂

  2. Aimee says :

    Great video! Actually made me quite emotional!
    Congratulations guys – hope we can post our own video in the next 12 months!
    Aimee x

  3. Ardie Collins says :

    Congratulations, guys! Loved the video, and I hope you keep enjoying your Canadian adventure!

  4. Cat says :

    congrats! I have been following your blog since before I took the plunge to leave the UK for Vancouver. I am now about to activate my 2nd IEC and am in the process of applying for PNP. thanks for all the info and huge congrats on PR, hope I get there too one day!

  5. Nick Benson says :

    Congratulations to you both. Loved the video 🙂

  6. Vancouver Ventures says :

    Congrats! Loved your video so much! That’s great news for you both…but how are you ever going to get used to that Vancouver rain is my only question? haha!

    • marmitetomaple says :

      Thank you so much, so glad you liked it! It seems like our first year in 2011 was the wettest summer in quite a while in Vancouver, so it’s all been uphill from their luckily! I’m just glad we haven’t had snow this month like the UK! I absolutely love your blog too, you have traveled to so many places! How long have you been in Vancouver? 🙂

      • Vancouver Ventures says :

        I think I’d favour snow over the rain! At least you have blue skies with snow, as opposed to dreary grey skies all the time! We’ve been in Vancouver since September…heading back to the UK in July as we were just here for my husband’s study abroad year at UBC…I feel like there’s still so much left on my to do list for here and we’re running out of time now!

  7. marmitetomaple says :

    That’s true, it does get very dreary here. I can promise you it’s all worth it by the time summer comes round in July, the city looks totally different and everyone forgets about the rain instantly! I hope the sun comes out a little earlier this year so you get to enjoy it before you go back home!

    • Vancouver Ventures says :

      Haha I know everyone kept telling us that the summers are amazing…but unfortunately we won’t be here to see most of it! We’re only going to be in Vancouver for 2 days in July and then we’re roadtripping down the coast to California! So I’m hoping for a sunny June here instead! haha

  8. migrationlawyers says :

    As a Migration Lawyer, albeit dealing with South African affairs.
    I just wanted to Congratulate you, permanent residence can be tricky but it sure pays off when you have it in your hands, doesnt it.

    Good Luck,
    Craig Smith

  9. says :

    Found your site from the bunac group on Facebook. Congrats to ya! Your video was great too, made me smile.

    I went through a similar process a couple of years ago and it was totally worth it too. I’m now facing the problem of trying to get my partner to Canada, and it’s long to be a challenge as she’s Syrian! Hopefully one day I can pick her up from the airport and make a video of that 😀

    • marmitetomaple says :

      Hey Ben, thanks for the comment! Glad you liked the video! Oh wow, best of luck with bringing your partner out here too, that would make an awesome video for sure!!

  10. zeezy morin says :

    I have to tell you that your application process went by pretty fast. I got my PNP nomination in Decenber 2011 and CIC got my application March 2012, they got my medicals in june and asked me to pay for my right of permanent resident fee in March 2013 and i’m still waiting for a response. you’ve definitely given me high hopes and i hope i receive it soon enough. fingers crossed!!! Enjoy.

    • marmitetomaple says :

      Oh wow, thanks for the comment, sounds like you had a longer journey than me, big gap between medicals and the fee! Fingers crossed you’ll get the confirmation in the next few weeks, best of luck!

  11. Louise Moodie says :

    As someone who’s counting down the days until I leave the UK for my first year in Vancouver, this has been a great read and has made me even more excited about what lies ahead!

  12. Preet says :

    Hi Marmitetomaple: Congrats on becoming a Permanent Residence of Canada!! The feeling must be great.

    I submitted my application for my PR at the same time as you guys. i’m also in Canada already as an international student. Last week I finally got an email requesting me to send my passport, pictures and the final documents to CIC Ottawa.

    They returned my passport back to me 3 days later – via the express envelope I includd.

    But nothing else came with the passport. No stamp nor letter telling me what the next step is. steps is. Maybe my brown envelope is on the way now too since i did the final step??? 🙂

    • marmitetomaple says :

      Hi Preet, thanks for the comment! Yes, being a Permanent Resident is a fantastic feeling! It sounds like you’re so close though. When we did our final section we were told NOT to send our original passport, and only a photocopy. It sounds like they have done what they needed with yours, sent it back, and are now processing the rest of yur application. The brown envelope should be arriving within the next couple of weeks – good luck!

  13. Tee Abe Hanabih says :

    Hi Elizabeth,
    First off thanks so much for writing a detailed blog about your 14 month journey towards a PR. Its inspiring and motivating at the same time.

    I was wondering if you could help shed some light on how the final process of obtaining a PR card works. (i’m in a similar situation to “Preet” who has posted above me for the most part).

    I myself am waiting on my Confirmation letter and have a Japanese passport (visa exempt just like yours i believe) and its been 1 month since I sent my passport in as requested by the CIC office. I received my passport back a week after it was sent but there was no change on the passport- no stamps, permits,letters etc. that were included with the passport I got back.
    Ive requested further info via email regarding my application but have received no reply.
    I’m wondering how long it took you to receive the brown envelope after you sent in your passports photocopy?

    thanks in advance. Hope youre enjoying your PR to the fullest 🙂 !

    • MarmitetoMaple says :

      Hi there, I just wanted to apologize for the late reply, for some reason your comment went into my spam! I hope that you saw my other replies, and that by now you have received further information from CIC. What is your application status now?!

  14. Paul Chris Jones says :

    I just found out that since 2008 there’s been no need to flagpole to become a permanent resident. You can do it at a CIC office.

    From wikipedia (not a reliable source, I know):
    “If granted a permanent residency visa while living in Canada as a temporary resident (for example on a study or work permit or holding a visitor record), the applicant must still officially land and achieve the landed immigrant status. Previously many have left the country through the U.S./Canada border, either entering the U.S. or receiving a refusal notice, and then re-entered Canada through customs, but since late 2008 some, but not most, may now “land” at a Citizenship and Immigration Canada office in Canada.[4]”

    • MarmitetoMaple says :

      Hi Paul, you’re absolutely right, you don’t need to flagpole to ‘land’, you can do it at a CIC office. Depending on the office, the wait for an appointment to do this can be a good few months, so if you’re not in any rush then this is definitely an option. I wasn’t prepared to wait that long (every day counts in the wait for citizenship application!) so headed for the border the next day! Thanks for pointing this out, I should have mentioned it in my original post!

  15. Nick Miller says :

    First off, congratulations!!!!! My wife and I just received and sent off our pictures, biota and residency fee and are now waiting patiently. Do you by any chance remember how long the PR visa was good for before you had to go to the border to flagpole. I ask because I am finishing a contracted job in the US and I’m trying to figure out if I’ll need to plan a trip to Vancouver this year or if I can finish the job and just complete the process as we move back.

    • MarmitetoMaple says :

      Thanks Nick – congratulations to your and your wife too! Not long to go! When I received my confirmation of PR I had six months to activate it, so assuming there’s no changes you should have the same amount of time. I hope that helps! 🙂

  16. jimmy whyte says :

    Hi there my name is Jimmy and was online this morning and was watching your video and the door bell went.Recorded delivery o it was my permanent residency document at long last ,how does that work be jesus weird .I,m in Terrace bc where my wife is from, i,m from Elgin Scotland happy days cheers to ya

  17. syabania says :

    Hello there!
    congratulations on your brown envelope 🙂 hope you have a fantastic time in Canada.
    May I ask you how long did it take to get your passport sent back? I’ve been told to send my original passport on December 10th but I need my passport by January 10th due to my 3 weeks course scholarship in Germany. The email said that there is no guarantee that I’ll get my passport back on January but I sent it anyway on 13th December. Please reply, thanks 🙂

    • MarmitetoMaple says :

      Hi there, thanks for the comment! I wasn’t asked to send my passport in when I applied, most likely because I’m from the UK so don’t need a residents visa to be in Canada…or maybe they just changed the system. Either way, I only had to send a photocopy. Some other people who did send theirs in had their passports returned in just 3 days, so hopefully it won’t be long! 🙂

  18. SJE says :

    Quick question, did you apply inland or outland (UK), currently goign through this and wonder which has faster processing?

  19. Sarah says :

    Thank you for the insight into your journey! My partner and I (from the UK too, but based in Toronto here) are on a similar route to you, and just received our confirmation of PR documents (but due to circumstances probably won’t be able to do the border “dance” until later in the year). However – it’s such a relief! Our timeline was a little longer than yours in terms of processing times but we went via a different application category.

    Cheers to Canada (and marmite….my other trusty companion in this shiny new country!)

    • MarmitetoMaple says :

      Hi Sarah, congrats on your confirmation of PR, that’s great news! Cheers to Canada indeed, it sounds like you’re enjoying your time in Toronto, I must visit at some point! 🙂

  20. tay says :

    Congrats. Your pics on this page brought tears of joy in my eyes. Best wishes!
    Hope you guys are enjoying Canada

  21. tay says :

    Hope you guys are enjoying Canada

  22. Canadiana says :

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Please let me know whether you had to send your passport to CIC before you received your CPR letter? I have also received a decision made status (I think this week, just checked the online application status updates) recently. I am also with the EU passport and have to leave Canada soon for a couple of months. How long CIC allows to land from the moment of receiving a CPR letter? Any restrictions? As for PR card, are they going to send it later on or I have to pay any fees before receiving such?

    Thank you,


    • MarmitetoMaple says :

      Hi C, thanks for your comment! I did not have to send my passport to CIC, so unfortunately I’m not able to speak to my experience on that. Congrats on having the decision made status online, that means you’re almost there! I can’t remember what the expiry on the letter of confirmation was, it may have been 6 months. At the border you will receive a stamp and a letter that goes inside your passport, and then you’ll get your PR card in the mail a couple of months later. Your Right of Permanent Residence Fee will cover the cost of the card. I hope this helps!

  23. yogesh says :

    dear sir, I am from India, want to apply under PNP in april 2015,so what to total process time from India or expance with employment..and what is time duration after failing at local embassy…or which catagory is written in my passport stamp..plz reply

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