Canadian Permanent Resident Cards
What is the Permanent Resident Card?
The Permanent Resident Card (PR Card) is a required document for permanent residents, including children, who travel abroad and then return to Canada by any commercial carrier (i.e. a plane, train, boat or bus). When you are returning to Canada you will be asked to present the Permanent Residence Card before you board the carrier that will take you back to Canada. Also, you will need to show your PR Card to the Border Services Officer at the Canadian port of entry to prove your permanent residency status. It is therefore imperative to have your PR Card in hand prior to leaving Canada.
If you are outside Canada and you do not have a valid Permanent Resident Card to return to Canada, you will need to obtain a travel document from a Canadian visa office.
The PR Card is not a permanent card in Canada, so you must renew your Permanent Resident Card every five years provided you meet the requirements to retain your permanent Canadian residence status.
Who is eligible for a PR card?
In order to be eligible for permanent residence cards, people must be:
- Permanent residents of Canada.
- Physically present in Canada.
- Not subject to a removal orders.
- Not Canadian citizens or registered Indians under the Indian Act.
Who is a Permanent Resident?
A permanent resident is a foreign national who has immigrated to Canada and plans to live there permanently. To keep Canadian resident status permanently, a permanent resident must live in Canada for at least two years in a five-year period. For more information on permanent residency, please see What is a Permanent Resident?
How to be a Permanent Resident in Canada?
In order to become a permanent resident, you must first immigrate to Canada through either the federal or provincial immigration programs. If you are allowed to immigrate to Canada, you are on your way to becoming a permanent resident. Once you are in Canada, you will be given your permanent resident card. If you are here on a temporary resident visa or permit you are not a permanent resident. If you are living in Canada temporarily but wish to become a permanent resident, you must meet certain requirements. Once these are met, then you must apply for permanent residence. Becoming a permanent resident is only one step in the immigration process. To apply to be a permanent resident you must either be allowed to immigrate to Canada through federal or provincial immigration programs or you must be allowed through government refugee sponsorship or private refugee sponsorship. When applying for permanent residence you should make sure you are eligible under one of these programs. Please see How to Apply for Permanent Residency in Canada.
In Canada, to keep your permanent residency status, it is not necessary to fill out an application for a PR card. It is only necessary to fill out an application for the PR Card if you plan on traveling outside of Canada. You do not have to renew your permanent residence status; you just have to renew your card.