Permanent Resident Travel Documents

20th Aug 2019 Comments Off on Permanent Resident Travel Documents

Since December 31, 2003, Canadian permanent residents have been required to have either a Permanet Resident Card (a “PR Card“), or a permanent resident travel document (a “PRTD“) to return to Canada aboard a commercial carrier.  A PR Card is a “status document” whereas a PRTD is a “travel document.”

The PR card is the preferred document as it is the official proof of permanent resident status of Canada. Permanent residents who do not have a PR Card, are outside of Canada, and wish to travel commercially back to Canada will need to apply for a PRTD before they can board a flight back to Canada. Without proof of permanent resident status, the Canada Border Services Agency’s Interactive Advance Passenger Information system will impede the permanent resident’s ability to board the airplane to Canada.  This is because s. 31(2)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act states that a permanent resident abroad without a PR Card is presumed to not be a permanent resident.

However, if they apply to a Canadian visa office, permanent residents outside of Canada who do not have valid PR Cards may be issued PRTDs to facilitate their return to Canada.  Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) will only issue PRTDs if they are satisfied that the permanent resident complies with the permanent resident residency obligation or if sufficient humanitarian & compassionate grounds apply.

The refusal of a PRTD can result in the loss of permanent resident status, and can trigger appeal rights to the Immigration Appeal Division.  It is important to note that the grounds of such a loss of permanent residence are the failure to comply with the residency obligation and not general non-compliance.

In certain situations an individual can receive a one-year PR Card if their application for a PRTD is refused and they have an appeal at the Immigration Appeal Division. 

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