New rules mean that if you are a Permanent Resident of Canada you must be able to present a valid PR (permanent resident) card or permanent resident travel document (PRTD) when coming to Canada by plane, train, bus, or boat to. You will not be able to board a plane or other public carrier into Canada without this documentation.
It is up to you to make sure your PR card or necessary documentation is still valid at the time you will be returning to Canada. If your travel plans are delayed or for some reason your PR card expires while you are outside of Canada, you have a few options:
- If you are returning back by private car or in a truck, on a motorcycle or in a private recreational vehicle, you may be able to re-enter Canada with an Enhanced Driver’s License or an Enhanced Identification/Photo Card. Once you are back in Canada, make sure you apply to have your expired PR card replaced.
- If you are returning by plane, train, bus, or boat you will need to apply for a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD). You will not be able to enter Canada without this document, so you will want to apply as soon as you realize your card is expired.
- If you left Canada by plane, train, bus, or boat and wanted to re-enter with the same method, you may be able to re-enter with a private vehicle if you don’t have a PRTD but do have acceptable forms of documentation.
To avoid this problem, check your PR car before you travel. Most cards are valid for five years but some are valid for one year. Apply well in advance of the expiry date to ensure you get your new PR card before you have to travel; your PR card is still your best way of proving permanent residency and your eligibility to re-enter Canada.
Having an expired PR card when you are not in the country is stressful. If you would like a kit containing everything you need to apply for a new card, Immigration Direct has resources to help you as well as informative pages with more information about PR cards.
Updated on 22nd May 2018.