Permanent Resident Card Applications (PR Cards)

Canadian Permanent Resident Card (PR Cards) and Renewals

When you are granted Canadian Permanent Residence, you are issued a Canadian Permanent Resident Card or PR Card. The PR Card is valid for 5 years and should be used for travel when you return to Canada from abroad. Upon expiry of your PR Card, you should consider renewing it if you wish to continue travelling outside Canada. You do not want to travel with an expired PR Card or you could get turned away.

Our law firm handles applications for PR Card Renewals even urgent ones, on a regular basis. We have over 15 years experience in assisting immigrants to Canada with their Permanent Residence Status.

Contact us for an assessment concerning your PR Card Renewal Application.

PR Card Information

  • Permanent Resident Card Overview
  • Renewing your PR Card on an Urgent Basis
  • Can my PR Card application be refused?
  • What if I do not meet the Residency Obligation?
  • What if I am outside of Canada and my PR card has expired?
  • What if my Application for PR Card was refused?
  • More PR Card Questions and Answers from our Blog

Permanent Resident Card (PR Cards) Overview

Since 2002, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) requires that Permanent Residents of Canada hold a valid permanent resident card (“PR card”). The PR card is to be used as a valid identity document for persons travelling abroad and returning to Canada by car, bus, airline or any other means of transportation. Therefore, it is important to have a valid PR card in order to be allowed to enter Canada.

Persons who receive their permanent residence after 2002 will automatically receive their first PR card upon landing in Canada. Other permanent residents who hold Record of Landing documents but who have not yet applied for a PR card will need to make an application to CIC.

Typically, when a permanent resident makes an application for a PR card, it takes a few weeks for the card to arrive in the mail. If you need to travel outside of Canada for an emergency situation, and your card has expired, there are ways to request expedited processing.

The PR card is issued for a period of five years, after which it can be renewed if the Canadian resident has met the Residency Requirements.

Renewing your PR Card for Canada


The PR card is valid for a period of five years, after which it must be renewed. If you know your card will be expiring soon, you must make an application for a PR card renewal which is submitted to CIC. The application requires that you disclose your travel outside of Canada, your address and employment history for the past five years. This information helps the immigration officer reviewing your application determine whether or not you meet the residency obligation.

If the immigration officer is satisfied that you in fact meet the requirement, you will be asked to attend the local immigration office to pick up your card. You will have 180 days from the notice of the letter to pick up your new card.

Generally speaking, the process to renew a PR may take a few weeks. It is therefore advisable that you renew your card well in advance of the expiry especially if you expect to travel outside of Canada. CIC recommends that you file an application for renewal two months prior to expiry.

It is no longer required that you submit your old PR card with the application. Instead, CIC now requires that you bring your old card to the local immigration office at the time you are ready to pick up your new card. This is a welcomed change as it allows permanent residence to travel abroad and to return to Canada as long as they have a valid PR card, while their application for renewal is in process in Canada.

Renew your PR Card Urgently

In situations where you must travel abroad but your card has expired or is in the process of renewal, there are ways to expedite the process on an URGENT basis  and to obtain your PR card relatively quickly.

Contact one of our lawyers for further information on this subject.

Can my PR Card application be refused?

An application for permanent residence card may be refused for several reasons. One reason is that the permanent resident does not appear to have been in Canada for 730 days in the past five years. However, an immigration officer may also refuse an application on the basis that the applicant did not satisfy the officer about the applicant’s identity or supporting documents submitted with the application.

What if I do not meet the PR Card Residency Obligation?

If you lived outside of Canada for more than three years in the last five years and do not meet any of the travelling with family or business exceptions, then you may be at a risk of losing your Canadian permanent residence status. Even though you may not meet the requirements, you can still make an application provided that you formally request an exemption under humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Under the immigration regulations, a permanent resident who has not met the minimum physical presence in Canada may ask the immigration officer to consider special circumstances that have prevented the applicant from residing in Canada.

Typically there are compelling reasons why the permanent resident was not able to reside in Canada, which will convince the immigration officer that in fact there exist grounds upon which an exemption for residency obligation may be made. However, the final decision remains with the immigration officer who will review your humanitarian and compassionate arguments and supporting documentation to determine whether an exception can be made.

What if I am outside of Canada and my Permanent Residence Card has expired?

This is a very common situation for many permanent residents. If you find that your PR card has expired and you are outside of Canada you must obtain a Travel Document urgently which will allow you to travel back to Canada.

The process of obtaining a Travel Document will require the permanent resident to make an application to the Canadian office abroad. If you show that you have resided in Canada for at least two years in the five year period, than the Canadian office abroad will most likely issue you the Travel Document and allow you to return to Canada. However, if you have not met the residency requirement you may make humanitarian and compassionate arguments as to why you have been outside of Canada for longer than two years. The decision whether to grant you a Travel Document in this scenario will depend on the immigration officer reviewing your file.

What if my application for a PR Card was refused?

If your application for permanent residence is refused you may appeal this decision to the Immigration Appeal Division in Canada. The application to appeal must be made within 60 days of receiving the refusal. Upon receiving the appeal notice, the Immigration Appeal Division will hold a hearing in Canada where they will determine whether the decision to deny your PR card application was correct. During the hearing, the Immigration Appeal Division is allowed to consider additional humanitarian and compassionate arguments as well as new documentation and submissions in support of the appeal. The appellant will also be required to testify in front of a member of the Immigration Appeal Division.

If you are outside Canada you can still appeal your application. You also have the option to request that you return to Canada for your appeal. The right to appeal at the hearing in person is not automatic and a request must be made with the Immigration Appeal Division.

If your appeal at the Immigration Appeal Division is unsuccessful, you do have the option of making a further appeal to the Federal Court in Canada.

Do you need a Permanent Resident Card renewed?

Contact us for an assessment of your PR card immigration case.