PR Card: Permanent Resident Card Renewal Process: Things You Should Know

By Stephen Green

The Permanent Resident Card (PR Card) is the official proof of your status as a permanent resident in Canada.

Permanent Residents seeking to re-enter Canada after time spent out of the country, must present their PR Card as evidence of their status. It is important to note that nothing else will suffice; in particular, the old landing papers previously issued by Immigration Canada.

Since 2002, all new permanent residents receive their first PR Card as part of the immigration process, and thus, only renewals need to be applied for with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

The PR Card is usually valid for a five year period, so it is important to take note of the expiry date on your PR Card and apply well in advance of the expiry date. Here are some helpful hints to keep in mind when it’s time to renew your PR Card:

  • Be sure you meet all of the obligations of a Permanent Resident, as described in section 28 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). This means that permanent residents must:
  • Be physically present in Canada for at least 730 days out of the five year period; OR
  • Have been travelling with a Canadian citizen who is their spouse, common-law partner or, in the case of a child, their parent; OR
  • Outside Canada, be employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or in the federal public administration or the public service of a province; OR
  • Outside Canada, be accompanying a permanent resident who is their spouse, common-law partner, or in the case of a child, their parent and who is employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or in the federal public administration or the public service of a province.
  • Keep evidence of your entries and exits to and from Canada, such as airline tickets and travel itinerary. Even keeping a list of your dates of travel will be helpful when applying for you PR Card renewal as you will need to demonstrate that you comply with requirements of section 28 of the IRPA (see above).
  • Ensure that your PR Card renewal application is completed in full and all of the necessary supporting documentation has been submitted. If your application is incomplete, it will be returned to you. If you do not submit the appropriate supporting documentation to demonstrate that you have met your permanent residency obligations (outlined above), there could be serious repercussions.
  • Apply any time before your PR Card expires. Often permanent residents think that they need to wait a month or two before the expiry date of their PR Card before they can submit their renewal application – not true. A permanent resident of Canada can submit their renewal application at any time, so think ahead if you’re planning on travelling in the future.
  • It is important to note that you will need to be physically present in Canada when you submit your application in order to pick up your new PR Card. This means that you will be required to remain in Canada during the entire time it takes for a new PR Card to be processed. There is discussion about whether to amend this process to allow permanent residents to travel during the processing time, but CIC has not made any formal policy decisions in this respect.