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 visaplace.com.
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.
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