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Posted on May 07 2020

Applying for Canada PR from US? Your options decoded

By  Editor
Updated April 03 2023
Canada PR Visa Options from US

Donald Trump recently announced the suspension of immigration applications for green card holders for 60 days, with an intention to save American jobs from foreigners. He continues to push his anti-immigration agenda in a bid to gain votes from Americans for a second term as US president.

This move is a sharp contrast to the Canadian government’s attitude towards immigration during the Coronavirus crisis. Though immigration has slowed down, Canada is determined to continue with the immigration targets it has set for the next two years.

The government of Canada, announced in its immigration plans in March to invite 341,000 immigrants in 2020, an additional 351,000 in 2021, and welcome another 361,000 immigrants in 2022.

This is an encouraging sign to immigrants who are considering their options. If you are looking at applying for permanent residency in Canada from the US, what are the options available to you?

Here are details of the various immigration programs for PR status in Canada to help you assess the best option for you.

The list of options are:

  1. Federal economic class
  2. Provincial nominee program
  3. Business immigration
  4. Family Class sponsorship
  5. Temporary residence to permanent resident visa 

The highest number of immigrants are selected under the Federal economic class with annual immigration targets under this program set at 200000 in the next three years. The Fe

Canada accepts the largest number of immigrants under the economic class, with annual levels set to move over 200,000 in the category over the next three years.

There are three categories under the Federal Economic class program

  1. Federal Skilled Worker
  2. Federal Skilled Trades
  3. Canada Experience Class

Canada uses the Express Entry system to select PR candidates who have applied under the Federal Economic class programs.

The Canada Express Entry Program follows a points-based system for grading PR applicants. Applicants earn points based on qualifications, experience, Canadian employment status and provincial/territorial nomination. The higher your points, the greater the chances of having an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residency. Applicants receive the points based on a Comprehensive Ranking System or CRS.

Every Express Entry draw shall have a minimum cutoff score. An ITA will be awarded to all applicants with a CRS score equal to or above the cutoff score When more than one nominee has a score equal to the cutoff number, then the one with a long presence in the Express Entry pool will obtain an ITA.

A job offer in Canada will increase your CRS points from 50 to 200 depending on the skill level. Canada’s provinces also have Express Entry streams to help them select skilled workers from the Express Entry pool.

A provincial nomination will add 600 points to the CRS score which guarantees an ITA.

The CRS score keeps changing with every Express Entry draw which is held approximately every two weeks by the Canadian government.

Steps to apply under Express Entry system:

Step 1: Create your Express Entry profile

Step 2: Complete your ECA

Step 3: Complete your language ability tests

 Step 4: Calculate your CRS score

 Step 5: Get your Invitation to Apply (ITA)

The Express Entry system can be the quickest way to immigrate to Canada considering that your application will be processed within six months on submission.


Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) to help the various provinces and territories in Canada choose immigration candidates who are willing to settle in a given province or territory in the country and have the skills and abilities to contribute to the economic growth of the province or territory.

Here is the list of PNP programs of various provinces of Canada:

  1. Ontario Immigration
  2. Quebec Immigration
  3. Alberta Immigration
  4. British Columbia Immigration
  5. Manitoba Immigration
  6. New Brunswick Immigration
  7. Newfoundland Immigration
  8. Nova Scotia Immigration
  9. Saskatchewan Immigration
  10. Prince Edward Island Immigration

If qualifying under the federal economy seems difficult, you can try for a PR visa under the PNP program for your PR application from the US.

Every PNP targets the specific needs of the province’s labor market. You can find a provincial stream matching your specific skills.

Quebec is not part of the Provincial Nominee Program but has the authority to select individuals outside the PNP. It has its own immigration criteria to select candidates. It recently launched an Expression of Interest system called the Arrima system which is like Express Entry.


There are three options under business immigration to obtain a PR visa in Canada:

  1. Self Employed Program
  2. Start-Up Visa Program
  3. Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) Pilot Program

The Startup Visa program provides permanent resident visas to eligible immigrants starting a business in the country. The Startup Class is another name for this visa program.

Candidates can come to Canada under this visa program on a work permit supported by their Canadian-based investor and then Apply for a Canadian PR Visa once their business is established in the country.

Successful applicants may link up with Canadian private-sector investors to obtain funding assistance and advice on running their business. The three categories of investors in the private sector include:

  1. Venture capital fund
  2. Business incubator
  3. Angel investor

Eligibility requirements for the program:

  • Have a qualifying business
  • Have proof that the business has the required support from a designated entity in the form of a Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support
  • Have the required proficiency in English or French
  • Have enough funds to settle in Canada

Another popular business immigration program is the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program. It is an investment program that leads to a PR visa. 

Eligibility requirements

  • The personal net worth of $2 million
  • Two years of management or business experience within the five years prior to the date of application
  • Investment of $1.2 million in a five-year passive government assured investment
  • Plan to settle in Quebec province.

Individuals who are permanent residents or citizens of Canada can sponsor their family members for PR status if they are 18 years or older. They are eligible to sponsor the following categories of family members:

  • Spouse
  • Conjugal partner
  • Common-law partner
  • Dependent or adopted children
  • Parents
  • Grandparents

Eligibility requirements for a sponsor:

You must be 18 years or older and either a PR visa holder or Canadian citizen.

You and the sponsored relative will sign a sponsorship agreement that will commit you, if appropriate, to provide financial support for your relative. This agreement also specifies that the person becoming a permanent resident must make every effort to help him or herself.

You may offer financial support to a spouse, common-law partner or married partner for three years from the date they become a permanent resident.

You must be willing to provide financial support to a dependent child for 10 years or till the child turns 25, whichever is earlier.


Many immigrants prefer to come to Canada as temporary residents and then get a PR visa.

Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, Canada continues to accept temporary workers in certain priority occupations.

This is a popular option for those looking to apply for PR visa to Canada from the US.

A bonus is that the time spent in Canada is counted towards the PR application.

These are the various options available for those looking to apply for permanent residence in Canada from the US.


Apply for Canada PR from US


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