Canada Permanent Resident Card

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The Permanent Resident Card (PR Card; commonly and originally referred to as the "Maple Leaf Card") was introduced on 28 June 2002 upon the implementation of Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

It is the primary method by which Canadian permanent residents (formerly known as landed immigrants) can prove their status and is the only document that allows permanent residents to return to Canada by a commercial carrier (bus, train, airplane). However, those from nations not requiring a visa to travel to Canada may be allowed entry on the strength of their passports alone.

Application Process[edit]

New permanent residents[edit]

It is necessary to supply a Canadian residential address at the time of landing. If a Canadian address cannot be supplied at the time, it is necessary to provide one to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) within 180 days. Otherwise a new application for a PR Card will be required, at a cost of $50 to the applicant. Manual applications for permanent residence cards take on average 106 days, compared to 72 days for those applied for at the time of landing.

There is no fee for a PR Card applied for at the time of the landing.

Existing permanent residents[edit]

Permanent residents as of 28 June 2002 and new permanent residents who did not provide a Canadian residential address, or whose PR Card was lost or stolen, must apply to CIC's processing centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia for a new card. The fee is CAD$50. In these cases, the PR Card must be collected in person at a CIC office in Canada.[1]

Validity of a PR card[edit]

Permanent Resident Card (2002-2009)
Permanent Resident Card (Current)

The PR Card is normally issued for 5 years. In some circumstances it may be issued for 1 year only.

Possession of a valid PR Card does not ensure that one's permanent resident status will remain valid until the expiry date. In some circumstances - notably where breaches of residence obligations are involved - permanent resident status can be lost before this date.

Similarly, a PR Card's expiration date does not indicate that the holder's status as a permanent resident has expired, or will expire, on that date. It is the date after which the card must be replaced with a new card, if the holder is still a legal permanent resident at that time.

PR Card application lodged outside Canada[edit]

It is not possible to apply for the PR Card outside Canada. Instead, those permanent residents wishing to prove their status may apply for a single use Travel Document which allows a journey to Canada as a permanent resident. The application may be submitted to any CIC office outside Canada and the fee is $50 CAD.[2]

Application Form[edit]

Previously, there were different application forms for different migrants depending on their circumstances. However, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) integrated those different forms to create a new general application form for all permanent residence categories called "'Generic Application Form for Canada' (IMM0008)". All existing application forms (IMM5202, IMM5001, IMM5002) are replaced by the new IMM0008 form from July 18, 2011.[3]

Processing times[edit]

On its website CIC publishes PR Card processing times, which in early 2014 were about two months for new cards and four months for renewals.[4] Applications for Permanent Residence Cards are processed at the CIC Case Processing Centre (CPC) in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Proof of status in Canada[edit]

Whether one is a permanent resident or not is determined by the provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. While possession of a valid PR Card creates a presumption that a person is a permanent resident, it is not compulsory for a permanent resident to hold one. In fact, it is possible to hold a valid PR Card and at the same time face loss of permanent resident status due to not meeting residence obligations (for example, living overseas for more than 3 continuous years will normally mean loss of PR status regardless of whether one holds a PR card or not).

Similarly, it is possible to be a Canadian permanent resident and not hold a valid PR Card, although it may be more difficult to prove one's status.

Required to enter Canada[edit]

Although citizens of countries for which Canada does not require temporary visitor visas may normally board a Canada-bound commercial carrier (airline, railway, or bus company) on the strength of their passport alone, generally permanent residents must present a valid PR Card in order to board (or present another travel document issued by a Canadian diplomatic mission abroad that authorizes a return to Canada).

Entering Canada by private vehicle, however, (i.e. by land from the U.S.) does not require presentation of a valid PR card as presentation of one's Record of Landing or Confirmation of Permanent Residence is sufficient. One should expect to have to answer a land frontier officer's questions, however, until the officer is satisfied that residency requirements have been satisfied.[5]

Using Canadian PR card as a proof of status and for visa-free travel[edit]

In Canada[edit]

A PR Card is the most convenient way of proving status to authorities within Canada (e.g. provincial governments, employers, schools). Most permanent residents have other documentation (such as original landing papers) which is also acceptable.

Outside Canada[edit]

Foreign government authorities may require the production of a PR Card in some circumstances:

  • Canadian permanent residents require a PR Card, unless the person's passport in itself is sufficient for exemption. A Canadian PR Card holder, in general may travel visa-free to the following countries: Aruba,[6] the Bahamas,[7] Bermuda

,[8] Caribbean Netherlands, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Sint Maarten (Dutch part of the island), Trinidad and Tobago

Under present rules, UK allows permanent Canadian residents with valid PR card issued after 2002 to transit without visa under TWOV program.[9]

A PR Card is the easiest way for any Canadian permanent resident applying to any foreign government for a tourist visa to prove his or her status in Canada. Provided that the individual fulfills certain conditions, it is usually easier for a Canadian PR card holder to get a tourist visa to most countries, where the individual's original passport/country of citizenship may not provide direct visa free entry and/or may require strict visa entry criteria to a designated country.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]