There is one question that is common amongst Canadian immigrants and it is asking if one can travel while their PR is in process, and the answer to this question is yes.
It is possible for you to travel outside Canada while your PR Card is being processed. Well, while returning to Canada from a trip, you will be required to present a PR Card and you will be denied entrance into Canada if you fail to present it.
The processing time for the PR Card may take about 45 days, or even more, before you can have access to the document, that is after the IRCC has certified that you have been able to successfully meet all requirements for permanent residency. Meanwhile, it may take 100days or more to renew your PR Card.
Whether new or renewed, your PR card must be received by you and can’t be sent to a non-Canadian address.
The question is how to go about gaining entrance into Canada even when you don’t have your PR Card with you, and this question will be answered in this article.
If you need to travel out of Canada, and your PR Card is not ready, what do you do?
We advise that before you embark on any international travel, it is best that you wait for your PR Card to be mailed to your location in Canada knowing that your PR Card cannot be sent to a non-Canadian address and cannot be received by anyone else other than yourself.
Nevertheless, if there is a need to travel before your proof of permanent residence is ready, then you have to apply for a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD), even if the PR Card expires while you are away from Canada.
Moreover, if you lose your PR Card while you are out of the country, you are free to visit the nearest Canadian consulate or embassy in your location and apply for it. In other words, you can only apply for the PR Travel Document from outside of Canada.
Also, as long as your family members (including children) are Canadian permanent residents, they are eligible to apply if they do not have a PR Card to prove it.
Who is eligible for applying for the Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRDT)?
Below are the set of people qualified to apply for the PRDT, which is officially regarded as IMM 5529:
- If you are a Canadian immigrant who has been issued permanent resident status but are yet to receive their PR Cards
- If you are a permanent resident whose PR Cards is lost or expired
- If you are a permanent resident whose PR Card renewal process is incomplete.
The aforementioned set of people need to apply for the PRDT if they will return to Canada through any means; by airplane, train, bus, or boat, regardless of their age. But the PR application of children who are below the age of 14 years must be signed by one of the parents or legal guardian(s), nevertheless, for children between the ages of 14 and 18, they must not only sign their application, their parents or legal guardian must also append their signature on the application.
The following persons listed below are not qualified to apply for the Canadian Permanent Resident Travel Document:
- If you are a Canadian citizen
- If you are a Canadian foreigner or immigrant who has not been issued a permanent resident status
- If you are a Permanent resident who is outside of Canada and have a valid PR Card with you.
- If you were a permanent resident in the past but have lost your PR status
- If you are a permanent resident who is within Canada
- If you are a permanent resident who wishes to voluntarily renounce their permanent residence status
What are the eligibility requirements for the Canadian Permanent Resident Travel Document?
For you to be qualified to apply for the Permanent Resident Travel Document, there are certain requirements known as the ‘residency obligation of a permanent resident’ you must meet, and they are:
If you have been issued a permanent resident permit for five years or more:
You must have been living in Canada for at least 730 days for the last five years just before you are allowed to apply for Permanent Resident Travel Document.
If you have been issued a permanent resident permit for less than 5 years:
You must be able to prove that you can live in Canada for a 730-day one-time stretch within your initial 5 years of residing in Canada as a permanent resident. Please note that the days you accompanied a Canadian citizen or permanent resident outside of Canada are also included in the 730-day minimum residency obligation.
Nevertheless, if you are still a minor, then, this person must be a spouse, common-law partner, or parent. The days when Canadian employment took you out of the country either for a business trip or representing a Canadian organization in the diaspora can also be included.
Moreover, you must present all needed supporting documents to serve as proof of such journeys for these periods to be added in your 730 minimum day count. You will find a downloadable document checklist that lists all documents you need to submit while applying for PRTD.
Aside from sending an original, latest passport with your application, all the documents you have to submit should be photocopies of the original ones.
Furthermore, you may still be granted PRTD should in case you are not able to meet up the residency obligation criteria, based on some humanitarian and compassionate grounds like:
Circumstances such as how your work or family will be affected if you don’t return to Canada at that time will be taken into consideration. Always have it in mind that after applying for PRTD, it will take about 2 weeks for the process to be complete and the document issued to you, therefore, you must try to put this into consideration when planning your travel back to Canada.
Aside from the aforementioned scenarios, other means of returning to Canada without a PR Card are:
– If you are returning to Canada using a private vehicle
Even if your PR Card expired or was lost while you are outside Canada, you still have your permanent resident status maintained for some time, therefore, if you are returning with your private vehicle, you can re-enter Canada within that window period without your PR Card.
For instance, if you have to travel to the US from Canada, you can choose to fly to the United States and then, drive back through a Canadian border crossing.
Nevertheless, even if you are using your private vehicle to enter, there are certain documents that you must present to be able to re-enter Canada.
- You must present documents to ascertain your Canadian identity or citizenship like:
- Present your Canadian temporary passport
- Present your driver’s license given by the province or territory you live in
- Present your employment or student card that has your picture and signature
- Present your provincial identity card
- Present your social insurance number card
- Present your vehicle insurance certificate
- Present your credit card
- For those concerned, you must provide the Secure Certificate of Indian Status
There is yet another option, but this option may not be guaranteed.
When you get to the airport, you are permitted to enter as a Permanent Resident, hence, your data should already be on their database, thereby having all your information in the immigration computer system, so, you will be permitted to re-enter Canada without any issue.
Although this option is not guaranteed because some commercial airline carriers are stricter than others. While some may ask for your Permanent Resident Card on a routine basis, others may not. But we always advise that you have your Permanent Resident Card or a Travel Document when you travel outside of Canada, to be on the safe side.
Finally, you should know that you can enter Canada while waiting for your PR card, and we have given you the means through which you can achieve this. Nevertheless, it is good that you should apply for urgent PR card renewal, in case yours expires while you are outside Canada, or before you travel.