Shabnam Akrami Blogs

Shabnam Akrami is the Managing Partner and Founder of Akrami & Associates.

My PR Card Expired

My PR Card Expired

Can I Travel with an Expired PR Card?

Are you a permanent resident of Canada? Planning on making travel plans but trying to stay cautious of your PR card? Before making any travel plans, it is important to stay knowledgeable on the features of your PR card. These cards do have an expiry date, which may affect your plans to travel.

What happens if my PR card expires?

When travelling, permanent residents of Canada must carry their PR card with them. This card must be valid, and it is your responsibility to ensure that your card has not expired when travelling. You must be able to prove to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer that you have a permanent resident status to Canada, and if you are attempting to re-enter Canada by a commercial carrier (this includes train, plane, boat, or bus), only your PR card will be accepted as proof. If you plan to re-enter Canada in a private vehicle (for example, your own car), you may have other options. Instead of showing your PR card, you could use other immigration documents. Visit the Canadian Immigration Center website to clarify which of your documents may be acceptable (cic.gc.ca).

How do I know if my PR card has Expired?

Your PR card will have an expiry date printed on it. Most cards are valid for five years, but some are only valid for one. Since each card is different, it is your responsibility to check the date of expiry and to understand how long your PR card will be valid. If your PR card is going to expire within the next six months, you should apply to renew your card. This will give you adequate time to receive your new PR card before the last one expires. Processing times may be different for each person, but applying for a renewal of your PR card generally takes around 72 days. However, if you need to leave Canada urgently and your PR card is about to expire, you may apply for urgent processing.

How do I Apply for Urgent Processing for PR Card Renewal?

In order to qualify for urgent processing, you must be travelling within the next three months and be returning to Canada via a commercial vehicle. Even if you do meet these conditions, you still may not be able to be processed urgently; thus, it is highly recommended that you ensure your PR card is always valid and you are applying for renewals with adequate time. When dealing with urgent processing, it is dependent on your specific situation. For example, whether you are outside Canada, travelling within 6 weeks, you have lost your PR card or it has expired – these are all factors that may affect your processing. In most instances, you may need to apply for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD). To see exactly what document you will need and how to resolve your situation, visit the Canadian Immigration Center website (cic.gc.ca). Also note that applying for documents may include some fees which is crucial for you to get your document in time for your travel needs.

What if my PR card Expires while I am outside of Canada?

If you are in the unfortunate situation where your PR card has expired while you were outside of Canada, you will need to obtain other documents to re-enter the country. If you plan to re-enter Canada through a private vehicle, you can use other documents to prove your permanent residency. For example, you can use a NEXUS membership card or you can use a FAST program membership card. Private vehicles, as identified by the Canadian government, include: cars, trucks, motorcycles, or a recreational vehicle that you own/rent/borrow. Essentially, they are vehicles that you may privately use but is not available for public use. Once you re-enter Canada, you will need to apply for a PR card if you wish to travel outside of Canada again.

If you intend on re-entering Canada using a commercial vehicle, you must apply for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD). Commercial vehicles are available for public use, and include airplanes, busses, trains, or boats. Without a permanent resident travel document, you may not be able to re-enter Canada. Once you do return to Canada, you can apply to replace your permanent resident card. However, if you want to re-enter Canada as a visitor only and intend to renounce your permanent resident status, do not use the PRTD. Instead, apply to voluntarily give up your permanent resident status.

All forms and documents are available on the government website, cic.gc.ca. If you are in need of applying for these additional documents, ensure you choose the one correct to your situation and in the most updated version.

Can I apply for H & C arguments?

If your permanent resident card has expired and you do not meet the residency obligations, you may have other options. In the event that you are outside of Canada when your PR card has expired, you can apply to renew your card with Humanitarian and Compassionate considerations. While there are various arguments you can make in regards to H & C considerations, there are three main arguments that are common and strong for the immigration officer. You do not need to choose one of the three arguments; you could combine them or use other arguments that apply more specifically to your situation.

Employment Reasons

The first of these arguments is employment reasons. In this situation, you would have exited Canada for employment prospects that were not available for you in Canada. Therefore, you were forced to exit Canada and return to your home country for some kind of employment opportunity. In this case, there are various things you would need to prove. This will involve demonstrating that you reasonably attempted to, but were unsuccessful in, finding the same employment opportunity within Canada.

Family Emergency Reasons

Another compelling H & C argument is that of a family emergency. If you exited Canada for family reasons that required your immediate attention, you could explain this to the immigration officers as a H & C argument. Examples of instances in which this argument can be used is if a family member outside of the country was in a deteriorating health condition. If this is the argument you chose to use, you will need to account for all the time you spent outside of Canada and the details of your family emergency. A time frame will need to be provided of which you can reasonably explain; for example, if your family member’s health returned to a stable condition in July but you returned to Canada in August, you would need to explain why you spent the additional months outside of Canada. Otherwise, it would be expected that you took the first opportunity to come back to Canada. Ensure that you provide proper documentation to prove this time frame (eg. Hospital records, etc).

Best Interest of the Child

The third H & C reason you can provide is if it was in the best interest of your child. If your child is a permanent resident or Canadian citizen, you can argue that it is in the best interest of your child to re-enter Canada. Reasons why it would be beneficial for the child could involve the health system benefits in Canada or if they have already begun their education in Canada. Since the child cannot return to Canada alone, the family’s PR card would then, under this reasoning, need to be approved.

What should I focus on when providing H & C arguments?

Regardless of which argument you provide, there are two main aspects to prove in your application. The first is the time frame of how long you were outside Canada. Ensure that you account for all time spent outside of Canada with adequate documentation, and can reasonably explain any additional time you may have spent. Another factor you would want to consider is to demonstrate strong ties to Canada. You need to prove to the immigration officer that your loyalty lies within Canada; therefore, the more ties you have to Canada, the stronger your application will be.

Contact Akrami & Associates

If you are in a situation where your PR card has expired and require assistance with what to do next, feel free to call the dedicated team at Akrami and Associates and we will be able to assess your situation and help you move forward. With Akrami and Associates, there is always a way!

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