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Do I really need a PR card to travel back to Canada?

If you are a permanent resident, you need to prove that you have valid permanent resident status when you return to Canada. Your Permanent Resident (PR) card is the best proof of this status.

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), no matter how you travel back to Canada, you must satisfy the border services officer that you have valid permanent resident status. This applies to all family members who are permanent residents, including children.

According to CIC and Canada Border Services Agency, a valid PR card is the best proof of your status. You require a valid PR card or a valid Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) to re-enter Canada by commercial carrier (train, plane, boat or bus). You will not be permitted to board a commercial carrier, if you cannot prove you can enter Canada.

If you are entering Canada in a private vehicle, such as your own car, and you do not present your PR card, you may be able to show other immigration documents (see answer to "Do I require a Permanent Resident Card if I'm returning to Canada by car?").

If you have applied for a new PR card, you can still travel with the old card as long as it is still valid.

If your PR card expires while you are outside Canada, you need to apply for a permanent resident travel document from a Canadian visa office abroad.

Find more information about renewing a PR card.

If You do not Have a PR card

If you are a permanent resident but do not have a PR card, you may be able to apply for a travel document. You can find more information in I need to leave Canada but I do not have my PR card yet. What should I do?

What about Canadian Citizens?

If you are a Canadian citizen, you do not need a PR card. You need a Canadian passport for international travel.

If you are in Canada, you can call the CIC Call Centre for more information about your situation at 1-888-242-2100.

You can also get assistance from a settlement agency. To find a settlement agency in your area, go to Services Near Me.

For More Information

Last Updated: June 24, 2014
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