Prepared by Shreeya A Pal; Shi Hui Yu; Edited by Samuel Francis Gills on July 15, 2022

Your PR card is valid for five years from the date of stamping of the Passport. If your PR Card expires, you need to renew it. Renewal must be done before the formal PR revoking process is initiated. There are a few factors to consider when you are trying to overcome this hurdle, such as:

  • Whether your PR Card has already expired or not.
  • Your current location: inside or outside Canada.
  • If you have been in Canada at least 730 days in the last 5 years

People often get confused about these issues (PR Card and PR status). To make it easier to understand, we have categorized it into frequent questions that we come across often.

What is a PR Card and PR Travel Document and why are they required?

Your PR Card tells the government that you have a valid PR status in Canada. It allows you to travel back to Canada. Permanent Residents are not eligible for a visitor visa to Canada. So, the PR Card acts as the travel authorization for permanent residents when they are travelling back to Canada.

What If you are outside Canada and you do not have a valid PR Card? Keep in mind that the PR Card can only be picked up in person from Canada. This is where the PR Travel Document (PRTD) comes in. The PRTD will act as an alternate Identification document so that you can travel back to Canada even if your PR Card has expired.

What to do when my PR Card expires?

If your current PR card expires, you must apply for a new one. But if you are outside Canada when this happens, then you must then apply for a PR Travel Document.

Be careful: Do not apply for a PR Card or travel document unless you meet the residency requirement! If you apply without meeting the residency requirement, IRCC will begin the process of withdrawing your PR Status.

You will then have to file a Residency Appeal. Too many people lose their PR status because of being uninformed about this subject. You must supply evidence that you meet the residency criteria to apply for either a PR Card or PR Travel Document: You must prove to the government that you have lived in Canada for at least 2 years (730 days) in the previous 5 years at the time your application is evaluated.

These 730 days are cumulative rather than sequential. If you are a permanent resident and your spouse is a citizen of Canada, then every day you spend with your spouse will count toward your residency requirement just like if you were physically present in Canada.

What if I do not meet the residency requirement?

If you do not currently meet the 730-day requirement and need to apply for a PR Card or a PR Travel Document, you have few options, depending on your situation.

Please keep in mind that if you do not meet the residency requirement, you CANNOT apply for a PR Card or PR TD without meeting problems or jeopardising your PR status. You must exercise extreme caution in how you manage the situation.



If you are currently inside Canada:

Do not apply for a PR Card until you have spent 730 days in Canada over the course of the prior five years. Wait until these days have passed before requesting a PR Card.

Until you have had these days, do not leave Canada. Without a current PR Card or PR Travel Document, you cannot return to Canada after leaving. The IRCC will begin the process of removing your PR status if you are outside of Canada and do not have the required 730 days before applying for a PR Card or PRTD.

If you are outside of Canada:

Option 1: Travel to the US, then drive to a Canadian border. You cannot fly directly to Canada without a valid PR Card or PR Travel Document; and so, this is the only way. You must apply for a US visa if you do not already have one. Option two will be used if you are unable to secure a US visa (see below).

Before you arrive at the U.S-Canada land border, our team will prepare an H&C package for you to present at the border. It will have strong legal justifications to help you overcome not meeting the residency requirement. You will be admitted to Canada if the CBSA officer is satisfied with the legal justifications. But you must remain there for two years or until you have accumulated 730 days and then apply for the PR card when you have met the Residency Requirement. Once you obtain the PR Card, you are allowed to travel outside Canada, and all is normal again.

If the CBSA officer is not convinced by the H&C Application, you will still be allowed to enter Canada, and a removal order will be issued.

Despite how terrifying that may sound, this is merely a formality. A hearing date will be set in 1.5 years after our firm files a residency appeal. You can live, work, and exercise all your rights as a permanent resident in Canada while you wait for the hearing, including access to free healthcare and public schools for your kids.

Living in Canada throughout the appeal process will make it simpler for our firm to defend you at the appeal hearing and increase the likelihood that the appeal will be successful. Additionally, a temporary PR card can also be issued until the hearing date, which would allow you to travel temporarily outside Canada and return.

Option 2: if you are unable to travel to the United States (or cannot obtain a US visa).

While you are living outside of Canada, our firm will need to file a Residency Appeal. The fact that you are outside of Canada and will remain outside of Canada during the appeal process (1.5 years) will not help your residency appeal, as it would in Option 1 above.

A person’s case would be much stronger if they were already in Canada, awaiting the appeal (1.5 years) because they would have stronger ties to Canada by that time. To be successful in an appeal while outside of Canada, there must be compelling reasons why a person was unable to live in Canada and meet the residency requirement.

Compelling arguments would be caring for an elderly parent, an ill child/spouse/relative, and having necessary commitments in your home country that required you to remain in your home country.

There can be many reasons or arguments, but some may be stronger than others. Our firm would need to understand your situation better and prepare the arguments to use in the residency appeal.

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