To ensure a smooth return to Canada via plane, train, bus, or boat, it is crucial to possess a valid permanent resident (PR) card. If you anticipate that your card will expire while you are travelling, it is advisable to renew it before your departure. PR card renewals can only be done within Canada, as the government does not mail PR cards to non-Canadian addresses, and third parties cannot obtain them on your behalf.
If you find yourself outside Canada with an expired PR card, you will require a permanent resident travel document (PRTD) to return. PRTD applications must be made from outside Canada, and attempting to re-enter Canada without a valid PR card or PRTD may lead to difficulties boarding your flight, train, bus, or boat.
While your PR card may expire while you are outside Canada, your permanent resident (PR) status remains intact. However, maintaining your PR status requires spending a certain amount of time in Canada.
The appropriate course of action when your PR card expires while outside Canada depends on your intended method of returning:
You have the option to apply for a PR card replacement either upon your return to Canada or before your departure. Urgent processing may be available in certain cases.
PR cards typically have a validity of five years, although some are valid for only one year. The expiration date is printed on the card. Once your PR card has expired, it cannot be used as a travel document. If your PR card expires within six months, applying for renewal while in Canada is advisable. In cases where you are returning to Canada by a commercial vehicle and possess an expired PR card, obtaining a PRTD is necessary for re-entry.
For information on processing times and to determine the duration of the wait for your new PR card, please refer to the official processing time guidelines.