PRTD validity and application – Permanent Resident Travel Document

Permanent residents of Canada need valid PR cards to travel to Canada. What if they have lost their card? What if they hold an expired card? A Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) allows them to travel to Canada under these circumstances. Thus, let’s explore PRTD validity and application.

Who is a permanent resident of Canada?

People usually become permanent residents by immigrating to Canada. Generally speaking, there are three main options for immigration:

Of course, sometimes people do not meet the requirements. Therefore, they could immigrate on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds or alternative options. However, these options are not available to everyone. When you become a permanent resident, then you receive a PR card. Consequently, you do not need a PRTD to travel to Canada. You use your card. Also, keep in mind that you remain a permanent resident unless you lose your status or renounce it. Therefore, an expired PR card does not mean you are not a permanent resident. Read the following article for more information on losing the PR status.

When a PRTD becomes necessary

If your PR card expires or you lose it, you’ll face difficulty returning to Canada. Of course, it won’t be a significant issue if you are inside Canada, as you can apply for a new one. However, for those who are outside Canada, two main options exist:

  • If you are in the United States, you may travel by private vehicle to a land crossing. Nonetheless, you must convince the border officer you meet the residency obligations, and you are not inadmissible to Canada. If convinced, they will let you in without issues. However, if they doubt you meet the requirements, they usually let you in but initiate your removal process.
  • In other circumstances, you must apply for a PRTD or, rather, a Permanent Resident Travel Document. Of course, you may only travel when you receive the PRTD.

Remember, as a permanent resident of Canada, you may not apply for an eTA or a TRV. If you do, IRCC will refuse your application. Those who wish to discontinue their PR status may renounce their PR. Upon the approval of renunciation, you lose your PR status and may apply for eTA, TRV, work permit or study permit.

What is a PRTD?

A typical PRTD looks like a regular visa counterfoil. IRCC attaches the PRTD to your passport. You may then use it as a single entry visa to Canada. Of course, upon entering Canada, you must immediately apply for a new PR card to avoid future complications.

What is the validity of a PRTD?

A typical PRTD is valid for six months from the date of issue. As mentioned earlier, as soon as you enter Canada, the PRTD becomes invalid. Consequently, you may not use a PRTD twice; even it has been less than six months since the day of issuance. Also, while it is not common, the immigration officer may choose to limit the validity of the PRTD to less than six months or extend it beyond six months.

How to apply for a PRTD?

To apply for a PRTD, fill out the application form. Moreover, prepare the documents according to the document checklist. If you are hiring a representative, you also need the Use of a Representative form.

The processing fee is currently $50. However, most people need to apply via the Visa Application Centres (VACs), and they have to pay for the premium services.

The processing time and potential complications

A typical processing time is between two to eight weeks. However, the actual processing time for some people could be longer. Therefore, submit your PRTD application at least two to three months before travelling to Canada. Of course, urgent situations could happen, and IRCC reviews those case by case.

Remember, there is no guarantee of approval. Therefore, take the application process seriously.

What if you do not meet the residency obligations?

To receive a PRTD, you must meet the residency obligations. However, sometimes you could apply for a PRTD under humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Consult with a professional for more information.

Refused PRTD applications and the right to appeal

Paragraph 63(4) of IRPA allows a permanent resident to appeal the decision of a visa officer outside Canada in refusing their PRTD application. However, you have up to 60 days to appeal the decision. You may also attend your hearing in person only if you have been in Canada for the past 365 days. The Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) of the Immigration Refugee Board of Canada is in charge of hearing these appeals. I have represented many clients to IAD in the past. You may book a consultation session with me to explore your options.

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    Al Parsai, LLM, MA, DTM, RCIC
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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.