Renewing Your Permanent Resident Card Outside of Canada

One of the major requirements for maintaining your permanent resident status in Canada is that you renew your permanent resident card (or PR card) before it expires. You need to always have a valid permanent resident card, because not only does it serve as proof of your permanent resident status, it allows you to re-enter Canada after you have been off traveling abroad. 

But if you’ve allowed your permanent resident card to expire and you are outside of Canada, you can run into a bit of a Catch-22 problem. This is because you can’t renew your permanent resident card outside of Canada, and you have to be inside of Canada to do so. But you also can’t re-enter Canada on an expired permanent resident card.

The solution is applying for a travel document, which will allow you to return to Canada.

How to apply for a travel document as a Canadian permanent resident

1. Obtain and complete in full the Application for a Travel Document application form, which is specifically for permanent residents abroad. Ensure you do not leave any blank spaces and that the information on the application form is accurate.

2. Compile all of the supporting documentation required for this application, as indicated on the document checklist that accompanies the application form. You may also want to call the Canadian visa office in your country to make sure you have everything you need, as some visa offices may require different documents.

3. Have your application package reviewed by a licensed immigration lawyer to ensure that you have not missed anything and that your package is ready for submission. Because this application is your only means of returning to Canada, you need to make sure it is done properly.

4. Submit your application and await approval. Once you are approved for a travel document and have obtained your travel document, you may travel back to Canada and apply to renew your permanent resident card normally.

Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.