Finally, getting your approval as a Permanent Resident in Canada is truly an exciting ordeal. But there may come a time when you have to travel abroad long before you get your Permanent Resident card. In other cases, family emergencies, personal affairs, or business meetings elsewhere may come up just when your PR card’s expiration date is creeping closer.
Both scenarios pose a problem for people who need to travel without a valid PR card since you need it to return to Canada either by flight, train, bus, or boat since it’s the most reliable proof of your status once you reach the country borders. Of course, there are certain exemptions or loopholes; that’s why we’re here to clear your confusion and expound on your available alternatives.
Travelling to Canada Using a Private Vehicle
If you simply went off to a different state in Canada and plan on returning using a private vehicle such as your own car, you’re allowed to enter so long as you show valid immigration documents such as the following:
- Provincial and Territorial Driver’s License
- Employment or student card with photo and signature
- Provincial Health Insurance Card
- Provincial identity card
- Canadian Forces Identification
- Police Identification
- Firearms Acquisition Certificate
- Social Insurance Number Card
- Credit Card
- Vehicle Insurance Certificate
- Vehicle Registration
Just be sure to apply for a PR card if you have any intentions of travelling again outside of Canada anytime soon!
What is a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD)?
If you have been recently approved for permanent residency but don’t have a valid PR card yet for travel purposes, you can apply for a Permanent Resident Travel Document issued by a Canadian visa officer abroad. However, this paper is designed for single entry to Canada only to allow new residents the chance to apply for either a PR card or renewal.
This application is only for permanent residents returning to Canada by commercial vehicles like an airplane, bus, train, or boat, allowing you to gain urgent processing. Once you return to Canada, it’s paramount to apply for a valid PR card as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that its validity only extends up to five years, so you will need to renew the card earlier if you have plans of travelling outside the country again.
How to Apply for a PRTD Outside Canada?
Typically, you can apply for a PRTD at any visa application centre (VAC). However, many establishments are closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, so you have the option to submit your application by e-mail with a complete copy of your documents listed in this checklist.
The Bottom Line: Going to Canada Without a Valid PR Card
Travelling outside of Canada requires a valid PR card, but there will be instances where you either don’t have the card at the time of your departure or are already outside of the country. Either way, the guide above should help you prepare your supporting documents so you can freely return to Canada without a hitch!
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