Client question: I'm a permanent resident of Canada, but I moved back to the US in July 2021. Since that time, my Permanent Residence Card has expired. If I want to return to Canada to visit as a tourist, do I need to get a Permanent Residence Travel Document, or is that only if I move back to Canada? Question submitted by Sara M.
If you are travelling to Canada by public transport - boat, train, plane, or bus - you must present either a valid Permanent Resident (PR) card or a Permanent Residence Travel Document (PRTD).
If you know your card will expire while you’re travelling outside of Canada, you must renew it before you leave. You can only renew your card in Canada. PR cards will not be mailed to non-Canadian addresses and third parties will not be able to get them for you.
If you’re outside Canada and don’t have a valid PR card, you need a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) to return to Canada. You can only apply for a PRTD from outside Canada.
Who needs a Permanent Residence Travel Document?
You do not need to apply for a PRTD if you fall into one of the following categories:
Foreign Nationals who do not have Permanent Resident status
Permanent residents with a valid PR Card
Permanent residents in Canada
Permanent residents who want to voluntarily give up (renounce) their permanent residence status
Past Permanent Residents who have lost their PR status
What do I need to apply for a PRTD?
prove who you are;
confirm your permanent resident status; and
meet the residency obligation of a permanent resident;
If you have been a permanent resident for five (5) years or more you must have been
physically present in Canada for a minimum of 730 days within the five (5) years
immediately before you apply for a PRTD.
If you have been a permanent resident for less than five (5) years you must show that
you will be able to meet the minimum of 730 days of physical presence in Canada
within five (5) years of the date, you became a permanent resident.
After I apply, what happens next?
After you send your application, a visa officer will assess your application to determine whether you have met your residency obligations and whether you are still a permanent resident of Canada.
If a visa officer refuses your application, we will return your passport and other documents to you. If you sent false documents, we will not return them.
If a visa officer approves your application, we will return your passport and original documents to you with your permanent resident travel document.
Exceptions to the Rule
Despite the above, if you are travelling by private vehicle, you do not need to present your PR card and may be able to cross into Canada with your COPR.
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