Permanent Resident Card (PR card)

The Canadian government issues an official document known as the Permanent Residence Card (PR Card) to individuals recognized as permanent residents in Canada. This card acts as a verification of their status

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The Canadian government issues an official document known as the Permanent Residence Card (PR Card) to individuals recognized as permanent residents in Canada. This card acts as a verification of their status, especially during international travel to and from Canada. Key features of the PR Card include:

  1. Proof of Status: The PR Card is used to demonstrate that the individual is a permanent resident of Canada, particularly when re-entering Canada on a commercial vehicle, such as an airplane, boat, train, or bus.
  2. Travel Document: While it is not a travel document in itself, the PR Card is often required for permanent residents who are returning to Canada by commercial transportation. It’s used in conjunction with a passport from their country of origin.
  3. Validity and Renewal: PR Cards typically have a validity period and must be renewed before they expire. The usual validity period is five years, but in some cases, it can be issued for one year.
  4. Residency Obligation: To maintain permanent resident status, individuals need to meet certain residency obligations. The PR Card is a part of ensuring these obligations are met, especially for those who travel outside Canada.
  5. Not a Citizenship Document: It’s important to note that holding a PR Card does not mean the individual is a Canadian citizen; it simply indicates they have the right to live and work in Canada on a permanent basis.

Permanent residents use their PR Card in various situations, particularly for travel purposes, and it’s a crucial step towards eventually applying for Canadian citizenship, should they choose to do so.

Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD)

Permanent residents without valid PR cards who are outside of Canada and wish to travel to Canada may apply for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD). The PRTD will facilitate travel to Canada, where the person may apply for a PR card renewal or replacement.

Did you know?

Your permanent resident status does not expire when your PR card expires. A person can only lose their PR status if they go through an official process. Even if you fail to meet the permanent resident residency obligation, your PR status remains in effect until an official decision is made on your status.

Permanent Resident Card Application

New permanent residents do not need to apply for a PR card. They will be automatically mailed a PR card when they immigrate to Canada and determine their Canadian mailing address. Only individuals who meet one of the following criteria must apply for a PR card:

  • You didn’t receive your PR card within 180 days of immigrating to Canada;
  • Your PR card is expired or will expire in less than nine months;
  • Your PR card has been lost, stolen, or destroyed, or;
  • You legally changed your name and need to update your PR card.

PR card applications must be submitted in hard copy to one of IRCC’s specified Case Processing Centres for PR cards.

Did you know?

The Canadian permanent resident card used to be called the Maple Leaf Card. This is because the card used to include a printed maple leaf, Canada’s national symbol.

PR Card have a Validity Period

The majority of PR cards have a validity period of five years, although a few may be issued for just one year. The expiration date of the card is clearly indicated on it. Once your PR card reaches its expiry date, it no longer serves as a valid travel document. It’s advisable to apply for a renewal of your card if it is set to expire within the next six months.

Urgent Processing

In certain situations, it may be possible for the Canadian government to expedite the processing of a permanent resident card. In order to qualify for urgent permanent resident card processing, you must be travelling within the next three months due to:

  • A job opportunity;
  • Your own serious illness;
  • The death of a family member;
  • Work related to your current job, or;
  • The serious illness of a family member.

It should be noted that even if a person is eligible for urgent processing, the Canadian government cannot guarantee they will process applications urgently or that PR cards will be received on time. It’s therefore advisable to always maintain a valid PR card in case of emergency.

If your PR card is approaching the end of its validity period, and you have not yet applied for Canadian citizenship, you may be interested in applying for a permanent residence card renewal.

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