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Once your application for permanent residence is finalized, you will automatically receive a Permanent Resident Card (PR Card) valid for 5 years. You should apply to renew your PR Card before it expires and can apply up to 9 months prior to expiry. The application must be submitted within Canada, and if you leave Canada, you will not usually be allowed to board an aircraft to Canada without a valid PR Card. Considering that the application processing times can be lengthy, there is an option to request expedited processing.  If you truly need to travel urgently before a PR card can be issued, you have the option of applying for a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) once abroad. This is used to prove permanent resident status for travel. 

If you find yourself with an expired PR card, this does not mean that you have ceased to be a permanent resident. However, to maintain PR status, you must continue to fulfill your “residency obligation”, which means obtaining at least 2 years (730 days) out of every 5 years in Canada. Residency can be obtained through physical residence or through various exceptions to the physical residence rule (such as accompanying a spouse who is a Canadian citizen). 

If you are found in breach, you will be found inadmissible to Canada. When applying for a PR Card renewal or PRTD, the officer will calculate your days of “residence” in Canada to see whether you complied with the regulations. If you have concerns or a complicated residence history, we can help you assess your circumstances to ensure you meet the requirements or give you appropriate advice. If you know that you have not met the residency obligation, there may be extenuating circumstances which apply to your situation. With many years of experience in complex cases, our lawyers can identify the best strategy which will increase your chances of maintaining permanent residence.