How to apply for Permanent Residency in Ontario

Permanent residency. PR. If you have moved to Canada prepare to hear this term regularly whether you plan to do it or not. It is the mandatory step of all immigrants to become Canadian citizens. I think I can safely say that the majority of French arriving in Canada come in WHV (if you want to know more about this visa is here).

If you want to stay after the 2 years of this visa you will surely look at the permanent residency option. In this post we will talk about how to apply for permanent residency in Ontario. It’s not the only way to extend your stay in Canada, but it’s the one that opens more doors for you and gives you access to citizenship.

Some permanent residency history in Canada

In the few past years, Canada has simplified procedures and reduced processing times. An application for permanent residency could take more than a year to complete while today with the Entry Express system in less than 6 months you can have your little magic piece of paper! Express Entry is for skilled workers, skilled trades and people with Canadian skilled worker experience.

I had my permanent residence in April 2019. Find the budget at the end of the article.

Attention this article only talks about permanent residency in Ontario. Each province has its own terms. It’s also mostly based on my French experience. If you are not French make sure to check the specific requirements for your country.

Last update: December 2023


How does permanent residence work?

It’s no secret that Canada needs immigrants. The country has chosen immigration policy, which means that you have to meet a number of criteria to qualify for permanent residency. You can ask for it by being in France (or other countries) or already like me in Canada. Criteria such as your age, your professional experience, your qualifications, your level in the official languages of the country (English and French), your current professional situation are among the elements that immigration will study. Depending on the results you will be directed to the process that suits you. In my case having worked more than a year in a qualified job in Canada I qualify for Express Entry.

First question: Am I eligible for permanent residency (Express Entry)?

This is indeed the first question to ask yourself. You can take a quick eligibility test here to find out. Another useful tool but little known: the points simulator. It will give you an idea of where you are. Be careful however the simulator announced me 596 points while in the end I had 482. Info useful but to take with care.

What do you need to be able to apply?

  • Pass the language test of your choice (English or French). English is cheaper but earns less points. Speaking French is an asset when applying for permanent residency in Ontario, the province needs French speakers. I have passed my TEF (Evaluation Test of French) in the ILSC school, the waiting time is about 3 weeks to have an exam date. Allow 2-3 weeks to get the results.
    • How is the TEF going? You have 4 stages: oral / written comprehension and oral / written expression. What I thought: it’s very simple if French is your first language. I found it a bit ridiculous to pay $ 420 to prove that I spoke French fluently when I got a French degree.
  • Request the evaluation of your diplomas. Your dipomas coming from another country Canada needs to know the equivalence to give you the corresponding number of points. I used WES services. For me it was the longest and most painful part, not because of WES but because of the school in France.
    • How is the evaluation of diplomas carried out? You create a profile on the WES website, you fill in your information, you pay the $ 200 fee. WES will give you a reference number and give you a list of documents to provide. All your correspondences with WES will have to indicate your reference number. WES receives the documents, processes them and gives you a diploma equivalence within 3 weeks.
    • What documents to provide for WES? A copy of your highest degree as well as your transcript. If you can send the copy of your degree yourself, the transcript must come from the national education to be certified.
    • My experience: for me it was hell, I passed my BTS in high school in 2009, they no longer had my notes, I had the past by the rectorate who did not follow the instructions that I I communicated, we chained the exchanges from late January to July … I could not see the end. My advice: get ahead!
    • Options to have your evaluation:
      • Sending from the school to WES: make the request to your school / rectorate by communicating the information clearly: they must directly send to WES your transcript accompanied by the document provided by WES duly filled in a sealed envelope. It was the sealed envelope that was a problem in my case. Feel free to add screenshots of the steps to follow, to send emails with very clear points, to call to be certain that they have understood everything and especially to make your interlocutor understand the importance of this document in your visa application. Depending on the school you will have to pay the international shipping costs.
      • Sending from the school to a third party to WES: after 2 trials of the first option I had to find an alternative. So I asked the school to send the sealed envelope in an envelope to my mother who sent me a picture of the sealed envelope for “I approve”, put it back in a new envelope and sent it to WES. In the case of a shipment to France the rectorate did not ask me to pay the shipping costs.
      • Certification by the Consulate: If you still have the original of your transcript you can have it certified by the French Consulate in Toronto and send it to WES.
  • Prepare your history for the last 10 years:
    • Prepare your jobs, addresses and trips over the last 10 years, the information will be asked later, you will save time if everything is ready.


How to get into the pool?

Once you have gathered all the documents above you’re ready to go! You can go to the immigration website and apply! Enter all the information, take your time and do not stress, you can always modify your profile afterwards. Even when you’re in the pool. Your points will fit accordingly. Allow about 2 hours to fill everything. You can keep up to date on the latest draw rounds on the immigration website. Just wait now!

How is the draw?

Immigration services are leaving applicants every 2 Wednesdays. I do not know how, but they choose a minimum number of points and send an invitation to all people with a higher level of points. The invitation allows you to proceed to the next step. Then you have 60 days to submit your documents.

  • My experience: I applied on the evening of Tuesday 21st and received the invitation on Wednesday 22nd in the day. I had 482 points and the minimum was 440 for this draw. It was fast!


After the exit of the basin what do we do?

When you receive the invitation you have 60 days to complete your application. You will still have some forms to complete or check: personal information, your addresses on the last 10 years, your jobs on the last 10 years (you must leave no gaps, if you have a hole you can always put unemployment), studies and languages, etc. Once this step validated you will get a list of documents to provide, I think that in general the lists should be rather similar but it is possible that we do not ask you like me.

  • Letter of employment
  • Studies
  • Record of employment of all the jobs you mentioned in the first step
  • Proof of sufficient financial resources
  • Police certificate
  • Photos
  • Passport
  • Evidence of a medical examination

Once my application has been processed I will update with the documents I sent. Everyone has a different version of what to send and several versions have worked but I do not want to mislead you.

The medical examination:

An important step for permanent residence: the medical visit! This is a visit to a doctor approved by immigration, you can not do it at your family doctor and the Health Card does not take into account this visit. You will need to shell out $ 280 to get the small sesame. I made an appointment with Dr. Lyndon Mascarenhas, but you can find a doctor near you on the immigration site. Attention all doctors do not take the debit or credit or they charge fees (mine takes $ 1 for debit, $ 5 for credit). I had an appointment in less than a week. You will need a photo ID and your passport.

How is the medical visit:

Council take a book you will wait! I waited 40 minutes before the doctor took care of me. He controlled my tension, gave me 2 documents: the first to go do my radio lungs in the same building, the second to tell me where to go to take my blood test and urine test (500m away) ). I stayed there for 2 hours. The doctor transmits the information to the immigration within 5 working days. You leave with the paper you need for your application.

Proof of funds to provide:

Another element to provide substantive evidence. Immigration wants to make sure you can meet your needs. In solo you will be asked about $ 13,000, in couple $ 15,000. According to the feedbacks around me if you work the proof of funds is not as important as if you do not have work, in this case it is essential. You must ask for proof of funds directly from your bank. They are used to providing these kinds of documents. It is a document that gives the balance of each of your accounts: saving, current, credit card and others. Scotiabank charged me $ 15 and gave me 24 hours.



All documents together it is time to submit your request. I will give you the exact documents I provided when my application was processed. I downloaded the documents as I went to see the progress of my file. Before submitting I re-read each document carefully. I submitted everything. I paid the amount and now I’m waiting! Note that you have the option to add a free document where you can give further explanations.

After the application:

For me it was rather simple, I was not asked anything except November 21 when I was asked to return my document WES. This is the only contact I had. I never tried to call because my 6 month end date was April 20th.

Acceptance of permanent residence:

Email Ready for Visa / Prêt pour visa:

On Wednesday, March 13, I woke up with an email titled: Ready for Visa / Visa Loan. From this email you have 30 days to return:

  • copies of your passport
  • 2 photos (pay attention to the size requested, they are larger than traditional French)
  • 1 Xpresspost envelope from Canada post (I took the size half A4) (without writing an address)
  • Annex A completed.


  • I sent everything back in a big Xpress post envelope too. It is a mail followed and arrives the next day, it costs a little more expensive but we make sure of the good reception.
  • I took pictures of the envelopes to follow them. You will have the receipt of the envelope that you send with the tracking number but not that of the envelope you put inside, do not forget to make a photo to remember the tracking number. I was told that the final mail would arrive within 10 days at home after returning the documents … every day I checked on the Canada Post website if my mail had been sent .. I was a little impatient while I been rather patient since October :).
  • Annex A is included in the email you receive but when you print the mail the schedule is cut in 2. A little puzzle. So I made screenshots that I pasted in Word as cleanly as possible and then print.

Be careful not to panic your profile CIC will not update at this time, it will always be displayed in progress. It also means that if you miss the email you have no way of knowing that your request has been processed and that you must return the documents.

Confirmation of Permanent Residence Mail:

On the evening of Tuesday the 26th I received an email telling me that my CIC profile had been updated. My profile now shows that a decision has been made for my application for permanent residence: it is approved. I look at the number of my envelope tracking and I see that the mail is on the way. On Wednesday 27 the mail was in my mailbox. This document will be required to activate your permanent residence.

Attention you have a deadline of validity, I was 6 months it seems to me to validate mine.

Activate your permanent residence:

It is possible to validate your permanent residence at the IRCC offices at the various points of entry into the country: if you arrive by air for example you can do it at the airport. There is also an IRCC office in Etobioke. And he has the best known solution around the post: that is to go to the United States and return to Canada with a passage to the customs of the two countries.

Online: since covid things have changed, you can activate your permanent residency on the Permanent Residency Portal.

IRCC Etobioke Office: I had high hopes and wanted to validate my permanent residence in this office: faster and less expensive. On the phone the automatic message asks us to send an email to make an appointment. I sent but without answer I gave up the idea. Find all IRCC offices in Canada here.

Info about the flagpole:

  • Since summer 2017 activations of permanent residences are only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, between 8am and midnight (check the hours before going, this information can change at any time).
  • You have several options in Ontario, the bridges of:
    Rainbow (Niagara Falls) – accessible by bus but from what I heard there are always a lot of people.
    Queenston-Lewiston (a few miles from Niagara Falls) – I did not get a lot of feedback on this option there.
    Peace (Port Erie / Buffalo) – also accessible by bus, less frequented is the one that my friends had advised me.
  • For the flagpole you will need your confirmation of permanent residence, your passport and I advise you to take all the papers that you provided during the process. I have a file at home where I keep everything. The feedback on the turn of the post was very varied, some told me to wait another 10 minutes 5 hours .. I was prepared I had a book, a notebook, my computer .. I advise you to have what you to occupy in case.
How is the flagpole:
  • So I decided to go to Port Erie. I rented a car on Turo, which is the equivalent of Airbnb for cars. I share a promo code to get $35 off which is nice when we are at the end of RP and we are a little tired of paying 😉 The advantage you can choose the model that makes you happy because we all deserve to return in this country in a car that makes us happy (I recycled the joke that I made in my Instagram stories, it’s just to be sure that you follow 😉).
  • I crossed the customs driving my Mini, I announced to the American customs officer that I was there to activate my permanent residence. He took my passport and sent me to the US Immigration Office (the same where we had waited 1:30 when we went to Buffalo last year).
  • I waited for an officer to call me, he filled out the “flagpole” form, took my fingerprints. I had to wait a total of twenty minutes. He took me home to drive me back in the opposite direction: back to Canada!
  • You arrive at the Canadian border and you announce to the customs officer that you are there for your permanent residence, they direct you to the immigration office. You announce yourself at the reception and you wait your turn. After 30 minutes I am called by the Canadian customs officer who checks my info. He tells me about a canceled visa application, it’s actually my bridge that was canceled because my permanent resident was accepted (this is the bridge that will be refunded if your RP was before , read my article on the visa bridge). 5 minutes later he calls me to sign the papers and congratulate me: congratulations you are officially a permanent resident of Canada!
  • Be careful to recover your papers! In our little moment of celebration I did not get my passport and driver’s license .. fortunately the customs officer found me on the parking text .. it could have been annoying ..
  • And here I was heading back to new adventures (and the Niagara outlet to be completely honest), you have to pay $ 5 at the customs toll and you are free.

And after the validation of permanent residence?

  • You will need to send a copy of your confirmation of permanent residence to your employer.
  • I received my permanent resident card in 23 days. Wait times vary, you can consult them on the immigration site.
  • I renewed my SIN number on April 29, then you have to share it with your employer and your bank to update your file. The number that will be assigned to you is no longer a temporary number and should not change even when you become Canadian. It therefore has no expiry date.
  • I applied to renew my health card, just go to Service Ontario. Since I did not have a visa between February 22nd and April 2nd (waiting for my bridge that never arrived) I have to wait 3 months for my card to be active, as we start we are therefore with 3 months of deficiency if we have a gap between our 2 visas.
  • I have to give my new SIN number to my employer and my bank.
  • The customs officer advised me to keep the confirmation of permanent residence document in a safe place since we will be asked for the citizenship application (in a little over 2 years if the law does not change by then).


  • January 22, 2018: creation of my profile on WES.
  • July 30, 2018: WES receives my documents and begins to process them.
  • August 14, 2018: WES approves my documents.
  • August 21, 2018: entry into the basin.
  • August 22, 2018: leaving the basin.
  • October 1, 2018: medical exam.
  • October 20, 2018: application.
  • November 21, 2018: CIC email: I am asked to return my WES document.
  • February 3, 2019: bridge request (read the article here).
  • March 13, 2019: email “Ready for visa / Prêt pour visa”.
  • March 15, 2019: sending documents.
  • March 26, 2019: receipt by mail of the document “confirmation of permanent residence”
  • April 2, 2019: activation of permanent residence in Port Erie.
  • April 25, 2019: reception of my permanent resident card.


  • TEF (French test): $ 420.
  • WES (diploma evaluation): $ 200.
  • Sending diplomas: 3 x 5 euros = 25 $.
  • Medical exam: 280$
  • 2 photos: 23$
  • Proof of fund, Scotiabank: 15$
  • Application fee for permanent residence: 550$
  • Frais relations au droit de résidence permanente: 490$
  • 2 passport photos (sending the latest documents (Ready for visa): $ 23
  • 2 envelopes (sending the latest documents (Ready for visa): $ 34
  • Car rental: $ 60
  • Gas: $ 35
  • Border Toll: $ 5
  • Total April 5, 2019: $ 2,160

My visa expired in February 2019, I applied for a bridge visa on February 3rd, I explain everything in this article.

It’s a long journey and the joy is immense when you finally reach the end. The loop is complete, I should not have to update this article anymore :).

What’s next?

The next step if you want is the citizenship, currently you will need 2 years of permanent residence to apply. 3 years if you have arrived directly with a permanent residency. You must have been a total 1095 days in the territory (in the past 5 years), knowing that your visas before the permanent residence account for 365 maximum. To help you I share my Citizenship Calculator here to find out exactly where you are. You just have to add your trips and the number of days spent outside the territory.

If you want to know what to expect after permanent residency, you can also read my article on applying for Canadian citizenship, because yes I am a Canadian citizen since January 25, 2023 !

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Youtube to get your daily dose of French in Toronto!

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