FAQs on the Permanent Resident Card and Canada Immigration

What is a Permanent Resident Card and what purpose does it serve?

A Permanent Resident (PR) card is an identity document that is issued by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to the newly landed permanent residents. Permanent residents arriving in Canada on or after 28 June 2002 apply for a Permanent Resident Card as a part of the landing process. The PR card is to be used as a valid identity document for persons travelling abroad and returning to Canada by car, bus, airlines or by any other means of transportation. Therefore, a valid PR card is required by all the permanent residents to enter Canada. The Permanent Residents card is an important identity document.

How and when do we apply for a PR Card?

Application for a Canada PR card is made when the successful immigrant comes to Canada on a permanent resident visa for the first time. Post landing, the immigrant must provide with a local mailing residential address within where the PR card is to be mailed. No fee is charged for making an application for a PR card at the time of the first landing. It takes a few weeks for the PR Card to arrive at the given address. It is important that the mailing address given is correct and a credible one. One must ensure that the PR Card must not fall into wrong hands.

I do not have a mailing residential address at the time of landing. What should I do?

If you do not have a mailing address at the time of landing, you can then provide it to Citizenship and Immigration Canada within the next 180 days of your landing. If failed to do so, it would mean that you would be required to make a fresh application for the PR Card by making a payment of CAD 50. You would have to send this application to CIC Centralized processing office at Sydney, Nova Scotia. However, an application for PR card cannot be made from outside Canada. In such cases, the PR Card must be collected in person at a CIC office in Canada.

What should I do if my PR card is stolen/lost/expired while travelling abroad, since I cannot enter Canada without a PR Card?

In such circumstances where the PR card has been lost or stolen or has expired, you have to make an application for a single use travel document. This document would permit you to make one time travel as a permanent resident to Canada. On landing, fill in an application for the replacement of the lost/stolen/expired card. Here, the PR Card must be collected in person at a CIC office in Canada.

In addition to this, a local Canadian consulate will closely and carefully monitor all the applications for the single use travel document and would issue such a document only to the deserving permanent residents who qualify the pre – requisites of the residency obligations.

Is it compulsory to hold a valid PR Card for all the permanent residents and does it entitle the holder to automatic residency?

While PR card is an important document, holding it does not necessarily mean that holder is a valid resident, especially in cases where he has not met the residency requirements. At the same time, a person who does not hold the PR card for various reasons but meets the residency requirements would still continue to be a permanent resident. However, it has to be remembered that this document – valid and not expired, is a critical identity document especially while dealing with the federal and the provincial Governments and should ideally be held by all the permanent residents.

What is the significance of PR card, if I am travelling overseas?

A PR card could also be used as an important travel document while traveling to USA or Mexico. The Canadian permanent residents using the Visa Waiver Program might be required to produce the PR Card to the U.S. immigration department

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travel to Mexico for a Canadian permanent resident requires a PR Card, unless the person’s passport by itself is sufficient for exemption from the Mexican Immigration authorities. Other countries do not normally permit the PR card as an entry document and the holders must carry a valid passport and visa. Hence, a PR card is the most acceptable Canadian status document when a permanent resident of Canada is applying for a tourist visa to any other country.

What are the terms and conditions for the renewal of a Permanent Resident Card and what should I do if my application is refused?

The PR card is valid for five years and unless you have not become a Canadian citizen during the validity, you must get it renewed. Renewal application is made to the Citizenship and Immigration, Canada. You must also provide with the accompanying documents that prove you meeting the residency obligations. It should ideally be made at least two months before the expiry date. The application must provide details related to your ties to Canada and evidence that you stayed in Canada for at least two out of the five years during the validity period of your PR card. This may include your employment, investments and taxation records in Canada.

You would be issued a renewal for another 5 years, incase you meet the residency obligations. Collect the card in person within180 days of the collection notice. You can surrender your old PR card while collecting the renewed card. In the meantime, you are permitted to international travel.

The renewal applications not meeting residency obligations and requirements would be refused. The refused applicants can appeal again to the Immigration Appeal Division in Canada and if refused by the division, then to the federal court in Canada. The primary grounds of such an appeal and its acceptance will be your ability to prove your permanent ties with Canada and that you meet the residency obligations.

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