Permanent Resident Card (PR Card)

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Application for a PR Card
Guide


1. What is the process for applying for a card?
CIC began issuing PR cards to new permanent residents on June 28, 2002, as part of the immigration process. Personal data and a photo are confirmed at the point of entry into Canada and a card is issued automatically.
Existing permanent residents need to apply for the PR card if they intend to travel internationally. An existing permanent resident is someone who arrived in Canada before June 28, 2002.
Application and information kits are available on this site. The kit explains how to fill out the application and where you should send it for processing.
 
2. How long does it take to process an application for a PR card?
For existing permanent residents:
• Consult the Application Processing Times pages for weekly updates.
• If you plan to travel internationally by commercial carrier you should apply for a PR card well in advance of your departure, to ensure you receive your card in time.
For new permanent residents:
• A PR card is delivered by mail within 30 days of entry to Canada or from the time a Canadian mailing address was provided to CIC.
CIC is committed to processing applications as quickly and efficiently as possible. Due to the large number of applicants, we ask for your patience and understanding should your application be delayed.
 
3. Can you process my application faster if I am leaving the country?
If you must use a commercial carrier to return to Canada and do not have a PR Card, we may be able to assist you by processing your application on an urgent basis. See Information for Urgent Cases.
 
4. How will the card be delivered to me?
Existing permanent residents must pick-up their cards in person. The CIC office closest to your area will send you a notice in the mail when the card is ready. Your permanent resident card will be cancelled if you do not pick it up within 180 days of receiving your first notice. You will then need to submit a new application.
New permanent residents will receive their permanent resident card by mail.
 
5. How much does the PR card cost?
For existing permanent residents
• The PR card costs $50.00 per applicant, including for children.
For new permanent residents:
• The cost of cards for new permanent residents is included in the Application for Permanent Residence fee
 
6. Is the PR card mandatory?
The card became mandatory for permanent residents returning to Canada by commercial carrier as of December 31, 2003. Since that date, permanent residents returning to Canada by airplane, boat, train or bus must show their PR card to carrier personnel when boarding to prove their permanent resident status in Canada.
 
7. Do children of permanent residents need a PR card too?
Yes.
Every permanent resident seeking to re-enter Canada by commercial carrier, including children, need a permanent resident card.
Children of permanent residents who were born in Canada are Canadian citizens and need a Canadian passport to travel, not a PR card.

 
8. Can the PR card be mailed to me if the CIC office is far away?
Normally, CIC mails PR cards to new immigrants because their permanent residence status is confirmed as part of the immigration process.
Existing permanent residents must pick up their cards in person so that CIC can confirm their identity. However, if you are unable to go to your appointment, you should contact the PR Card Call Centre in advance to request alternate arrangements.
 
9. Can I leave Canada while my application is being processed?
If you are a permanent resident and are returning to Canada by commercial carrier (airplane, boat, train or bus), you will require a PR card to board the carrier.
If you do not have a PR card, you will need to contact the nearest Canadian visa office to obtain a temporary travel document to re-enter Canada, at a cost of $50 each.
 
10. Will refugee claimants be able to apply for the card?
The PR card is for people who have been granted permanent residence status in Canada. It is not for refugee claimants.


11. How will the permanent resident card improve the Department of Citizenship and Immigration’s ability to combat illegal entry into Canada?
The card gives holders reliable proof of their permanent residence status in Canada. The high-tech security features make the card extremely resistant to tampering or duplication. The card simplifies document screening for transportation officials because all permanent residents must produce the card when boarding a commercial carrier en-route to Canada.
 
12. Will other government agencies request to see the card inside Canada?
Other government agencies may ask to see the PR card to verify residency status in Canada because this relates to eligibility for various programs and services.


13. Why did Citizenship and Immigration Canada introduce the PR card?
Citizenship and Immigration Canada introduced the PR card:
• to increase border security;
• to improve the integrity of the immigration process; and
• to provide holders with secure proof of their permanent residence status when re-entering Canada on a commercial carrier (plane, train, boat, and bus).
The card helps ensure that Canada has the tools it needs to protect against the fraudulent use of its immigration documents.
 
14. Is there an alternative to the PR card?
All permanent residents returning to Canada by commercial carrier need to show their PR card.
In emergency situations, permanent residents may obtain a temporary travel document at a Canadian visa office at a cost of $50 each.
 
15. Can I apply for a temporary travel document while I am still in Canada?
Permanent residents may mail a completed application for a temporary travel document to a Canadian visa office at the location to which they will be travelling. They may also submit an application in person at any Canadian visa office around the world, including the United States.
Before issuing a temporary travel document, visa officers must be satisfied that the applicant is now outside of Canada. They will normally require that applicants pick up the travel document in person at the visa office.
The temporary travel document is not intended to replace the PR card.
Applications for temporary travel documents are available on this site or at Canadian visa offices overseas.

16. When can I apply for a Travel Document?
You should apply for a Travel Document no earlier than six months prior to returning to Canada.
 
17. Do I require a PR card if I’m returning to Canada by car?
The PR card is required to re-enter Canada by commercial carrier (airplane, boat, train or bus) only. This requirement does not apply if you are travelling by private vehicle.
 
18. What should I do if my card is lost, stolen, destroyed or I never received it?
If your card has been lost, stolen, destroyed or was never received, you should contact the PR Card Call Centre immediately.