The coveted Permanent Residency Card
ext to the Canadian Citizenship Certificate, the Permanent Residence Card (PR Card) is probably the most coveted piece of identification denoting status in Canada that a foreign national can obtain through designated programs and procedures under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).
We are frequently asked a variety of questions by individuals confused about how their own PR Card, or a relative’s card, works. They need to know what freedoms and responsibilities the PR Card confers on the holder. Let’s dispel fears about residency obligations of PR Card holders, and outline how to act prudently in common situations, so as to protect your precious residency status if you currently hold a PR Card, or whenever you finally get one.
What is a PR Card?
A PR card is issued to an individual who has been given permanent resident status by the government of Canada. It provides the actual proof the holder is in fact a permanent resident of Canada, and can therefore freely leave and re-enter Canada as often he or she likes. If the PR Card holder has a family whose names were identified in the initial application for permanent residency and are now living in Canada, then it is likely that they too are permanent residents, and will all have individual cards. Even a child will have his or her own card. A new permanent resident and accompanying family members, once they have arrived in Canada or “landed”, will receive their PR cards in the mail. This is part of the immigration process, and therefore such individuals will not have to make a separate application for their first card.
Common questions & issues
Q: What are Canada’s Residency Obligations?
Q: What does a PR card allow you to do?
A: This card provides you authorization to travel and enter Canada legitimately from anywhere in the world. It also allows you to work freely anywhere in Canada, making any previously issued work permits redundant. In all circumstances, where such is required, it is proof of your status as a permanent resident of Canada.
It is imperative that you protect and secure the PR card at all times. This is especially important if you are travelling abroad.
Without showing transportation and security officials a valid PR card, you will not be allowed to board a flight or travel to Canada via any other means such as train, boat or coach.
Q: What if my PR card has expired or is lost?
Q: What does the PR card not allow you to do?
A: Although permanent residents of Canada are allowed to live in any province or territory, to access national and provincial healthcare, seek protection under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and to travel in and out of Canada anytime, there are two things such individuals are not allowed to do. Firstly, permanent residents are not allowed to vote for and to run for public office anywhere in Canada. And secondly, they may not be eligible for certain jobs that require a high level security clearance.
Individuals in Canada on a temporary basis for purposes of visiting, studying or working, are not permanent residents. They cannot be issued PR cards. However, students and foreign workers may eventually qualify to apply for permanent resident status, providing they fulfill their current obligations, abide by the laws of Canada, and meet the requirements of specific programs and initiatives of federal and/or provincial governments. The process of transitioning from one status to another is not simple, and requires strategic planning along with a sound understanding of rules, regulations and procedures relating to the IRPA.