Permanent Resident Cards

The permanent resident card is an identification document for permanent residents of Canada. It was introduced on 28 June 2002 upon the implementation of Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Like Canadian passports, all PR cards are issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and are the property of the Canadian Crown.

It is the primary method by which Canadian permanent residents can prove their status and is the only document that allows permanent residents to return to Canada by air.

Starting from 10 November 2016, all travellers to Canada (except for Canadian citizens, U.S. citizens and nationals, permanent residents and travellers with a valid Canadian visa) are required to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before boarding a flight to Canada.

Permanent residents, including those from one of the visa-free countries (except the U.S.), need either a PR card or a permanent resident travel document (PRTD) to board a flight to Canada.

How will I receive my PR Card?

New permanent residents do not need to apply for a PR card, you will be sent one when you immigrate to Canada if you have a Canadian mailing address. You have 180 days after immigrating to send an address to CIC Canada.  After the 180 days you have to apply for your card.

Eligibility

To be eligible for a PR card, you need to:

  • be a permanent resident, and
  • submit your application in Canada.

If you are outside Canada, apply for a permanent resident travel document to return to Canada first then after you arrive, apply for a PR card.

You should only apply for a PR card if:

  • you didn’t receive your PR card within 180 days of immigrating to Canada;
  • your PR card is expired or will expire in less than nine months;
  • your PR card has been lost, stolen, or destroyed; or
  • you legally changed your name and need to update your PR card.

If you are a Canadian citizen, you can’t have (and don’t need) a PR card. If you become a Canadian citizen, give us your PR card at your citizenship ceremony.

A PR card is usually issued for five years, but can sometimes be issued for one year instead. It is valid until the expiry date listed on the card.

How long will I have to wait before I receive my PR Card?

Generally, it takes about 6 weeks to process PR cards for new permanent residents once IRCC receives a complete application package from individuals who have fulfilled their residency requirements.

However, many people have found that it can take several months to process PR card applications. Therefore, it is a good idea to allow a lot of time for your PR application to be processed.

I received my PR Card but my name was not complete/correct on the Card. How can I correct it?

PR cards have limited space for names. If your surname is longer than 20 characters, or if your given names (first and middle) are longer than 15 characters, your name will be shortened. This is not a mistake. This is OK.

If, however, your name has been misspelled, you should contact IRCC to reissue your PR card.

After landing in Canada, what if I need to return to my country to settle my affairs?

The PR card is also a travel document. You should generally wait until you have received your PR card before travelling.

If you have any questions about PR cards or permanent residence in Canada, contact us to discuss further.

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