What happens if my permanent resident card expires while I am outside Canada?

Permanent resident cardAs a permanent resident of Canada, the law requires you to carry a valid PR card when entering Canada. 

You will not be allowed to board a flight, bus, boat or any other commercial carrier to Canada without a valid PR card or Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD). If you travel outside Canada, it’s always wise to check whether your PR card is still valid. 

Avoid procrastinating when it comes to the process of applying for a new card. Plan to start the application process well before the current card expires.

Re-entering Canada with an expired PR card

Your card may have expired while you are outside Canada. If this is the case, different rules apply depending on how you plan on returning to Canada.

Returning to Canada via private means

If you are using a private vehicle (a car, truck, motorcycle, etc.) when returning to Canada with an expired PR card, you may be allowed to use other documents in order to re-enter the country. Make sure you apply for the card if you ever plan on travelling away again. A private vehicle is any car that is not for public use.

Travelling via commercial vehicles

If you will be travelling using an airplane, bus, train or boat, you will be required to apply for a PR travel document. This document will be required for you to enter Canada if your PR card has expired. You can then replace the PR card as soon as you enter Canada.

When does your PR card expire?

It’ll depend on the type of PR card in your possession. Most permanent residents cards expire after five years. However, there are those that need to be renewed after one year. Check your card to see the expiry date; it’s printed on the card.

How long will you wait to get a new card?

Renewing or replacing a PR card may be a lengthy process. To determine the amount of time it’s going to take for your application to be processed, the IRCC considers all the applications that have been received. If it receives too many applications within that month then expect the processing time to be longer than usual. The best way to streamline the process and ensure your application is not delayed is to provide complete and accurate information.

Can your application be processed faster?

You can apply for urgent processing of your permanent resident card. However, to qualify for urgent processing, you should be travelling within the next three months. Even after applying for urgent processing, it’s not always a guarantee that your permanent resident card will be available on time. Always know when your card is expiring and start the process even before making travel plans.

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