In Canada, permanent residents are immigrants who have been granted permanent resident status, but are not Canadian citizens. If a permanent resident needs to travel to another country upon his return to Canada he must present a Permanent Resident (PR) card as proof of his permanent resident status. If the card has been lost or misplaced, a Permanent Resident Travel Document must be obtained in order to be permitted to return to Canada by
Permanent residents are allowed to receive most social benefits of Canadian citizens such as health care, education and employment. However it does not give them the right to vote or run for political office, they can however, also apply for Canadian citizenship.
The Eligibility Requirements of a PR card are:
- Must have permanent resident status
- Must actually be present in Canada
- Must not be convicted of an offence associated with the abuse of a PR card
- Must not be a Canadian Citizen
- Must not have been asked to leave Canada
A PR card when issued is valid for five years. However a person can risk losing their permanent resident status if the minimum resident obligations are not satisfied. To maintain your permanent resident status you must provide proof that you have inhabited Canada for at least two years within a five year period. If you are a permanent resident living outside of Canada without a valid PR card, you must obtain a travel document from a Canadian visa office in order to be permitted entry into Canada.
It is important to note that living outside of Canada for a period of time that does not meet the residency obligations, does not mean that you have automatically lost your permanent resident status. This will only occur when you have undertaken the formal procedure to give up or renounce your permanent resident status. On the other hand, you will not be eligible to return to Canada as a permanent resident. In this case, you have the option to voluntarily relinquish your permanent resident status and apply for a temporary visa so that you may re-enter Canada as a temporary visitor.
Renewing Your PR Card
Permanent Resident Cards should be renewed six months before the date of expiry. This is because the processing time takes at least 143 calendar days. An expired PR card does not affirm the loss of permanent resident status. Substantially, when applications for PR card renewals are received by CIC, an investigation will be carried out to ensure that the individual is in fact observing the residency obligations as described in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). For this reason, it is highly recommended that proper records of travel dates, airline tickets and itinerary are accompanied with your PR card application to help validate your compliance to the IRPA requirements.
If you need any legal advice regarding the renewal of your Permanent Resident Card, please contact our office.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended as legal advice and is for general information purposes only. This information may also be time sensitive. Always contact an Immigration Lawyer for information and advice specific to your situation.