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Permanent Resident Travel Documents (PRTD)

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

What is a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) and how can it help me?

You need a valid permanent resident (PR) card to return to Canada by plane, train, bus or boat. If you know your card is going to expire when you’re travelling, you should renew it before you leave Canada because you can only renew your card in Canada. The Canadian government will not send PR cards to non-Canadian addresses and they also won't allow you to have your card sent to a third party such as our office.

If you’re outside Canada and don’t have a valid PR card, you will need to apply for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD) to return to Canada. You can only apply for a PRTD from outside Canada. If you try to return to Canada without a PR card or PRTD, you may not be able to take your flight, train, bus or boat to Canada.

Don't worry, if your card expires when you’re outside Canada, you still have your permanent resident (PR) status as long as you have met your residency obligation. For PR this is 2 years in every 5 years that you are a permanent resident of Canada, or 730 days in every 1825 days. For more information on residency obligation click here.

What happens if your PR card expires when you’re outside Canada? This will depend on how you plan to return to Canada.

Private vehicle

There are other documents you can use to re-enter the country.

When you return to Canada, apply for a PR card if you plan to travel outside Canada again.

Some examples of private vehicles include, but are not limited to: a car, truck, motorcycle, or recreational vehicle that you own, borrow, or rent. It is a vehicle not available for public use.

Commercial vehicle: airplane, bus, train, or boat

You must apply for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD). Otherwise you may not be able to travel to Canada.

You can apply to replace your permanent resident (PR) card when you return to Canada or if you haven’t left yet. You may eligible for urgent processing.


Most PR cards are valid for five years, but some are only valid for one year. The expiry date is printed on the card. When your PR card expires, you can’t use it as a travel document. If your PR card will expire within six months, you should apply to renew your card. You need to be in Canada. If you’re re-entering Canada by commercial vehicle and have an expired PR card, get your PRTD to re-enter Canada.

Check our processing times to see how long you will have to wait to get your new card.

If you need a PR Travel Document or would like to discuss your particular situation, please contact us for an appointment.


About Us

Immigration Station Canada is a dedicated, professional Canadian Immigration firm practicing out of Northumberland County, just east of Toronto, in Canada. We serve clients from Kingston, Belleville, Brighton, Cobourg, Oshawa, the GTA, Guelph, Milton, Stratford and St. Catharines and around the world. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, Anne C. McCaughey (Annie) is an experienced immigration services provider and a fifth generation Canadian who values the immigration process and the unique individuals who immigrate to Canada to become part of the fabric of this wonderful country. If you would like to submit a question to Ask Annie, use the link located at the top right of the page.

How Can We Help?

We do work permits, study permits, visitor visas, Express Entry, spousal sponsorship, family class sponsorship, and Canadian citizenship with an expertise in Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications and Global Talent Stream applications.

Please contact us if you would like assistance with your immigration application or to book an appointment.

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