Your PR Card is your primary form of identification. You will need it to travel in and out of the country, you will need it to obtain a Social Insurance Number, and you will need it to prove your status in Canada. This is why making sure you maintain it is of the utmost importance.
Maintain your Residency Obligation
In order to be eligible for renewal of your PR card, you must have been present in Canada for at least 730 days within a five-year period. If you do not meet this obligation, you may be at risk of losing your PR status. You can request that your application be considered with Humanitarian and Compassionate arguments as to why you were unable to meet the requirement. You will need to demonstrate this with documentary evidence, and should be an extenuating circumstance beyond your control. This is for cases that could also cause hardship should you be forced to return to your home country. However, situations like vacation and leisure will not suffice.
Should you be outside of Canada when your PR Card expires, and you are unable to return, you may apply for a Travel Document. If you do not meet the residency obligation, you may still apply and make Humanitarian and Compassionate arguments to keep your status by showing that for reasons beyond your control, you were unable to maintain the obligation. As mentioned above, this application is not the norm and is essentially requesting that you be exempt from requirements that otherwise would preclude you from being successful in your application. These cases are assessed on a case-by-case basis and are at the officer’s discretion.
Travelling as a PR While Meeting Your Residency Obligation
If you are travelling with a Canadian Citizen who is your spouse or common-law partner, and they work for a Canadian company abroad, this time abroad can count for your days, so you do not risk losing your status. In this situation, you will need to prove their employment, Canadian status and your relationship with them.
Keep Processing Times in Mind
Do not wait for your PR card to expire or get close to expiring before you apply for a new one. Processing times can take longer than anticipated, and you do not want to find yourself in a situation where you are without a valid card. You should apply 4-6 months in advance of your PR card expiring to ensure that account for processing time.
Citizenship is an Option
Before applying to renew your PR Card, you should check to see if you qualify for Citizenship. In order to qualify for Citizenship, you must have lived in Canada for at least three years out of the four immediately preceding the date you make your application. In order to be successful in your Citizenship application, you must also meet six other factors: age, status, time lived in Canada, language skills, criminal history and knowledge of Canada.
For further information with respect to your Canadian immigration, we invite you to contact our experienced immigration representatives.