What Should I do if my PR Card is Expired?

(Below is a transcription of this video)

Hi, this is Michael Niren, immigration lawyer and founder of

So a lot of people are asking us about PR card renewal, in particular what happens if you?re out of the country and your PR card status has expired and you want to return back to Canada. Or if you are in the country and your PR card status has expired and what do you do.

What to do When Your PR Card Expires

Well, typically, the rule is that in order to apply for a new PR card you have to have been in Canada for two years within a five-year period. Now, you don’t have to be in Canada for two years all at once. You have to add up the days. So your PR card is valid for five years and if you accumulate two years in Canada, you’d be eligible to apply for a renewal. It’s pretty simple.

However, there’s a lot of people, for whatever reason, who have not accumulated two years in a five year period and still need to renew their PR card and still want to get a new one. Well, there is some relief. There are options. Basically, we call that a humanitarian renewal. We have to explain to Canada immigration that despite that you do not have the two-year period, you nevertheless do not want to abandon your status as a permanent resident.

And there could be many reasons why you have not met your days. For example, you could be out of the country for a long period of time and your relatives could be ill, and you could be away for medical reasons. Also, employment reasons. It’s possible that you got a job overseas and it required you to be out of the country for a lengthy period. There are many possibilities as to why you’re out of status out of the days required.

How do I Renew my Permanent Resident Card?

So an application can still be made for a PR card renewal. It’s still definitely possible. But it’s extremely important to document your case really, really well explaining why you have not met the two-year requirement of being in the country for two years in the last five-year period.

The processing for those renewals typically take a lot longer for applications that meet the requirements because immigration has to, in their discretion, make a decision as to whether or not they will grant the extension.

Now you should know that if you’re in Canada and you haven’t met your days, that doesn’t mean that your PR status has expired. It just means that you can’t travel on a PR card. So I always advice people in that situation, if you can, just stay in Canada, accumulate those two years and then apply. No big deal at all. You’re still a permanent resident. It’s not like the government’s going to come and say, “You’re no longer a permanent resident.”

What Happens if my PR Card Expires While I am Outside Canada?

The situation’s a little bit different for people who are overseas and have to travel back. They can’t come to Canada on a PR card if it’s expired and they have to apply to a special travel permit in some cases. So the situation’s a little bit more challenging if you’ve been away from Canada and then your PR card expired. You always should make sure as to the date of expiry, especially if you’re not in Canada.

So the takeaway in my message here is that there is still hope. We do a lot of these PR card extensions for renewals under humanitarian grounds. Not always an easy case, you have to make a strong case, you have to build a file, put together a lot of documentation explaining why you’re away, why you’ve been away, but you’ve never intended to abandon your status, and that of course, if your PR card renewal is granted, you’re certainly going to return to Canada and live in Canada as a permanent resident.

So hopefully, this has given you some insight into the situation which is all too common.

Thank you for watching, please click “like” if you like the video and visit us at

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Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

4 thoughts on “What Should I do if my PR Card is Expired?

  1. Ronald Michael Miller

    Hellio, I am working on my Application, for a permanent Resident Card, that is now expired. I have picked up an application for a RENEWAL. I need some assistance, to insure my new application. I was told to go to Immigration Canada on Bay St. Hamilton Ontario. They told me they can’t do anything here. ? Can you please direct me to the right place for me to complete everything I need to know. Thanks Kindly

    1. Vahe Mirzoyan

      Hello Ronald. It is important that you complete your PR renewal properly and in a timely manner. I am going to suggest that if you need help with your applications to make sure that you are not making any mistakes, and so that you will have a legal team taking care of all the matters that may arise, then please contact us to book a consultation with one of our immigration professionals. You can book an appointment by calling us at 1-855-886-8472 or online at
      Regards, Vahe

  2. naila

    I left Canada in march 2009, I stay there for more than two years and 4 months. Now, I have a two-year-son and a husbund. We want to move definitively over there. But I dont meet the requirements for a travel documents, because I´ve been out of Canada for 7 years already. What should I explain in the humanitarians and compassionate grounds? and what should I do for my husband and son to get the immigration documents.?
    Thank you

    1. Vahe Mirzoyan

      Thank you for writing to us Nalia. In order for us to give you the proper advice that you need you must contact us to make an appointment to talk with one of our immigration professionals. There is a lot of information that we will need to know from you to fully understand your story. Our immigration professionals who will be able to plan the best strategy for you and your family. You can book an appointment by calling us at 1-855-886-8472 or online at
      Regards, Vahe


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