If you find yourself in this situation, don't panic. When your PR Card expires, this does not mean your status as a PR (permanent resident) expires. You will have PR until the formal process of revoking your PR is initiated. Depending on your situation, there are different options available to remedy the problem. The choice in strategy will be dependent on several factors:
If your PR Card has already expired
Where you are currently located: inside Canada or outside Canada
If you have been present at least 730 days in Canada in the last 5 years
Many people are confused when dealing with issues surrounding the PR Card and PR status. To simplify things, we have categorized into common questions our firm is often asked.
What is a PR Card and PR Travel Document and why are they required?
A PR Card is simply an ID card that lets the government know that you have valid PR status in Canada. Its main purpose is to allow a PR to board a plane and travel back to Canada. Since a PR is not eligible for a visitor visa, a PR Card is required for travel authorization back to Canada. If your PR card expires, that does not mean that your PR status expires.
If you find yourself outside Canada and do not have a valid PR Card, you will require a PR Travel Document (PRTD) to travel back to Canada. The main reason for this, is if you apply for a PR Card, you will have to pick it up in person, in Canada. Therefore, the only option would be to apply for a PRTD.
What happens when my PR Card expires?
If your PR card expires, then you need to apply for a new one. If you are outside of Canada when it expires, then you need to apply for a PR Travel Document. If you do not meet the Residency Requirement, DO NOT apply for a PR Card or Travel document! If you do, the IRCC will start the process of revoking your PR Status, and you will have to file a Residency Appeal. Too many people are misinformed about this issue, and lose their PR status as a result.
In order to apply for either a PR Card or PR Travel Document, you need to show proof of meeting the residency requirement: At the time your application is assessed (submitted), you must show the government that you have lived in Canada for at least 2 years (730 days) in the last 5 years. These 730 days are not consecutive, but cumulative. If you are a PR and your spouse is a Canadian citizen, then each day you accompanied your spouse overseas, these days will count towards the residency requirement, as if you were physically present in Canada.
If you have not been in Canada for a cumulative period of at least 2 years (or 730 days) over the last 5 years, DO NOT apply for a PR Card, or else the government will begin the process of revoking (ending) your PR status.
What if I do not meet the Residency Requirement?
If you currently do not meet the 730 day requirement, and you need to apply for a PR Card or a PR Travel Document, then you have a few options, depending on your specific scenario. Please remember, since you do not meet the residency requirement, you CANNOT apply for a PR Card or PR TD without experiencing issues, or risking your PR status. You must be very careful on how you handle the situation.
If you are currently inside Canada:
Do not apply for a PR Card until you have the 730 days in Canada, in the previous 5 year period. Remain in Canada until you have these days, then apply for a PR Card. Do not leave Canada until you have these days. If you leave Canada, you will not be allowed back to Canada without a valid PR Card or PR Travel Document. If you are outside Canada and do not have the 730 days, the IRCC will not issue you a PR Card or PRTD (if you apply), instead, they will start the process of taking away your PR status.
If you are outside of Canada:
Option 1: Travel to the US, and drive to a Canadian border – this needs to be done as you cannot fly directly to Canada without a valid PR Card or PR Travel Document. If you do not have a US visa, you need to apply for one. If you cannot obtain a US Visa, Option 2 will apply (see below). Before you arrive at the US/Canada land border, we will prepare an H&C package for you to present at the border with compelling legal arguments to help overcome not meeting the residency requirement. If the CBSA officer is satisfied, you will be let into Canada, and you must stay in Canada for 2 years, until you accumulate 730 days, and then apply for a PR Card when you meet the Residency Requirement. Once you obtain the PR Card, you are allowed to travel outside Canada, and all is normal again.
If the CBSA officer is not satisfied with the arguments in the H&C application, you will still be allowed in Canada, and a removal order will be issued. As frightening as this sounds, it is just a formality. Our firm will file a residency appeal, and a hearing will date will be scheduled in 1.5 years. While waiting for the hearing, you can live and work in Canada, and enjoy all the rights of a permanent resident; free healthcare, free schooling for your children, etc. By living in Canada during the appeal process, this will make it easier for our firm to argue on your behalf at the appeal hearing and provide a better chance of winning the appeal. A temporary PR Card can also be issued until the hearing date, which would allow you to travel temporarily outside Canada and return.
Option 2: if you cannot travel to the US (or cannot obtain a US Visa). Our firm will need to file a Residency Appeal while you are living outside Canada. The fact that you are outside Canada, and will remain outside Canada during the appeal processes (1.5 years), this will not help support the residency appeal, as would be the case under Option 1 above. There would be a much stronger case if a person was living in Canada already, awaiting the appeal (1.5 years), as they would have stronger ties to Canada and have a life in Canada. To be successful at an appeal while outside Canada, there has to be compelling reasons as to why a person was not able to live in Canada and meet the residency requirement. Strong arguments would be: caring for an elderly parent, or an ill child/spouse/relative, having necessary commitments in your home country that required you to remain in your home country. There can be many reasons or arguments, but some may be stronger than others. Our firm would need to understand your situation better and prepare strong arguments to use in the residency appeal.
If you have already applied for a PR Card or PR Travel Document and the IRCC has notified you that you are inadmissible to Canada for not meeting the residency requirement, you will need to submit an appeal to the IAD (Immigration Appeal Division) within 30 days of the revocation order. Once the appeal is filed, the appeal hearing will take place in 1 - 1.5 years. It is strongly encouraged to retain a firm to represent you for the appeal hearing. Contact us and speak with an immigration professional to discuss your options.
Matkowsky and Associates