Permanent Residency authorizes a foreign national to live and work within a country apart from his own, for an infinite period of time. The individual having this status is known as a permanent resident and is eligible to apply for the country’s citizenship later, after a certain time period. A permanent residency visa holder enjoys numerous benefits granted to him legally, usually almost at par with the country’s citizen. Although, not every country necessarily has a facility for a permanent residency; rights and applications may vary widely. Countries have varying forms of such residency and varied relationships with other countries regarding the permanent residency status given to their respective citizens.
An individual can apply for a permanent residency visa after having held a resident visa for 2 years or more without any interruption. It is also imperative to have also met any conditions imposed on the resident visa which can include a sponsorship period of up to 5 years. To be eligible for a permanent residency visa (PRV), the principal applicant in the original residence application must:
- hold a resident visa, or have held one in the last three months
- hold, or have held, that resident visa for at least two years continuously
- meet relevant character requirements.
Specific to each country, permanent residents usually enjoy a good range of advantages with following being the major highlights:
- Free and Subsidized Education.
- Right of setting up a business.
- Right to buy/ sell/ own property.
- Access to Medical Insurance.
- Access to Social Security Benefits.
- Right to apply for Citizenship.
- Right to sponsor people.
- Spouse is entitled to full time working rights.
- No restriction on movement in and out of the country.
- Better economic prospects.
- Children born in the country are citizens by birth.
Even though having almost the same rights as citizens, as everything else, there are always a few exceptions to the rule. Permanent residents fall short of the following in comparison to the citizens of that particular country:
- They may not vote
- They may not stand for public office
- They may not apply for public sector employment
- They may not apply for employment involving national security
- They may not own certain classes of real estate
- They are not issued the passport of that country
- They do not have access the country’s consular protection
Ones who are granted permanent residency in a country are generally issued some sort of documentary evidence as legal proof of their status. While few countries would issue a photo ID card, others may place a visa sticker or certificate of residence in the person’s passport, or some may issue a letter to confirm their permanent resident status. It certainly makes an individual’s personal as well as work life much smoother when residing in a foreign land.