Taking steps to prevent your Canadian permanent resident (PR) card from being lost or stolen can help you avoid the problems associated with having to replace the card. While you retain your permanent resident status whether you have the PR card or not, you will need the card when you travel outside of Canada as a Canadian permanent resident and wish to return to Canada. You may also need your card when you apply for work, social services, or when you complete immigration applications and need to prove your immigration status.
Losing your card requires you to go through the process of replacing the PR card, but there are a few ways to prevent your PR card from being lost or stolen in the first place:
- Only carry the card when you need to. In everyday transactions, you may not need your PR card. You will need it when you apply for a job, for example, but your employer will not want to see it everyday. For this reason, you may wish to avoid carrying your card everyday, since doing so can mean if your wallet is ever stolen or lost, your PR card will be, too. This is good advice for any cards you don’t need everyday and which would be difficult to replace.
- Keep your card in a safe place. One of the best things you can do with your Canadian PR card to avoid it getting lost or stolen is to keep it in a safe place when you don’t need it. You can purchase a home safe which will protect your PR card from fire, flood, and some theft. If you already have a bank deposit box for other papers, this can also be a secure place to keep your card.
- When traveling, keep your PR card in direct physical contact with you. If your wallet and your PR card are in a backpack or left in your hotel room, they are easy to steal. You may wish to wear clothing with sewn-in zippered pockets to store your valuables or you may want to invest in special pickpocket proof clothing which is designed to keep valuables safe. You may also wish to use locks on purses and keep them in front of you and close to your body.
- If you carry your PR card in your wallet, do not keep your wallet in your back pocket. This is where your valuables are most likely to be stolen.
- Be aware of common pickpocket scams when you travel. A common scam involves distracting you with a request for help, an offer of some kind, or a performance. While you are distracted, thieves remove your valuables from your pockets or bag. Always stay aware of your surroundings and be suspicious if anyone bumps into you or tries to distract you, especially in tourist areas, which tend to have the most thieves.
What to Do When Your Canadian PR Card is Lost, Stolen, or Damaged
If you have done your best but your PR card is lost, stolen, or damaged, you can replace your PR card by filing an Application for a Permanent Resident Card (IMM 5444) in full, including the fee, which as of September 2018 was $50. Even if your permanent resident card is lost or stolen, you will not lose your status. However, the card is your way to prove your permanent residence status so you will want to get a replacement as soon as possible.
Immigration Direct Can Help
Immigration Direct has resources to help you apply for a replacement PR card and even free resources to help you look up local IRCC offices. Check out what we offer today to help you apply for a permanent resident card and to help you understand immigration in Canada.