Obtaining a PR card signifies your permanent resident (PR) status in Canada and officially confirms your standing in the country. Additionally, the PR card permits you to board flights to Canada and acts as a crucial document for proving your right to enter upon arrival. However, the question arises: Can you still travel to Canada if your PR card is lost, stolen, or expired?
Upon fulfilling residency obligations and meeting admissibility criteria, permanent residents can enter Canada, live, and work anywhere within the country. It’s essential to substantiate your PR status to enjoy these benefits. When you become a permanent resident, you’re issued a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) or an electronic COPR (eCOPR). However, the PR card is the primary document for verifying your status.
PR cards come with expiration dates due to the necessity of meeting residency requirements. It’s important to note that acquiring Canadian citizenship renders the PR card unnecessary. Nevertheless, the expiry of a PR card doesn’t automatically revoke your PR status. Furthermore, there needs to be a valid PR card to ensure preserving PR status, as it’s possible to lose it despite possessing a valid card. Hence, the ultimate authority for confirming your status lies within the Global Case Management System (GCMS) history, accessible to CBSA or IRCC officers for verification.
Identity and Port of Entry Confirmation: While GCMS records serve as the ultimate proof, the PR card aids in confirming identity and status at the port of entry.
Verification in Other Scenarios: Necessary when applying for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and similar circumstances.
It’s evident that a misplaced or expired PR card offers limited assistance. However, if you’re abroad, you can apply for a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) that permits a one-time entry to Canada without a valid PR card. Subsequently, you must apply for a new PR card upon entering Canada. You can request a replacement if you lose your PR card within Canada.
In situations where a valid PR card is unavailable, the following actions are options:
There might be instances where you’re outside Canada without a PR card and need more time to obtain a PRTD. In such cases, an alternative strategy emerges: travel to the US, then cross to Canada by private car. Permanent residents crossing US-Canada land borders can enter Canada without a valid PR card. However, proving your status becomes crucial. Various documents can assist in this endeavor, including:
This list isn’t exhaustive, and the final decision rests with the officer, who compares your documents with immigration records. This option is only viable if you have proper US travel permission (e.g., a valid visa or Green Card). Adhering to US travel regulations is necessary for this approach to be feasible.
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