With its solid civil society and social benefits, Canada is an attractive country to make a living in. If you are not a citizen of Canada and immigrated (or planning to immigrate) there, you might consider applying for permanent residence. The Canadian permanent residence offers plenty of benefits, such as:
- get most of the social benefits provided by the Canadian government to its citizens, such as health care
- live, work, and study anywhere in the country
- apply for Canadian citizenship
- be protected under Canadian law
However, there is a difference between permanent residence and citizenship. They are different things, after all. Here are things citizens can do, but permanent residents cannot:
- vote or run for political office
- hold jobs that require high-security clearance
Permanent residence card
Now, the Permanent Residence Card signifies your status as a permanent resident of Canada. If you newly immigrated to Canada, you do not need to apply for one, as the government will mail you your card to your Canadian mailing address. However, there are cases where you do need to apply for one, such as, if you:
- did not receive your PR card within 180 days of immigrating
- need to renew your card, as your current one is expiring
- need to replace a lost, stolen or damaged card
- need to change the gender designation on your card
- need to change the name on your PR card to reclaim your Indigenous name
- need to change your citizenship on the card
- need to correct your date of birth
How to apply for a Canadian PR card
Now that you know for sure that you need to apply for a PR card, you should take care to gather the documents in time, especially if you are renewing yours.
The application package
Just like any bureaucratic process, it all starts with an application form. So get your application package at the canada.ca website and start filling in the details honestly and as accurately as possible. You want to make sure you put in all the information correctly to ensure that the process goes smoothly.
Other than your application form, you will need to include the following documents along:
- Your PR card (or a copy of it):
- If your current card is expiring and you’re applying to renew, send a copy of your current card.
- If you’re applying to replace a damaged card, send along the damaged card.
- A copy of your passport or travel document, namely:
- Your current passport or travel document, or
- The passport or travel document you held when you first applied for PR
- Two photos that match the photos that match the PR specifications.
- A copy of the receipt of the paid processing fee.
- If you lost your PR card, you will need to include a declaration that the document is lost
- Any other identifications and documents required in the document package.
The processing fee
With your documents in order, you will also need to pay your fees online. You can use either a debit or credit card to do so. After paying, you will also need to print the payment receipt and include it in your application documents.
Send it in!
All done? Check again! Make sure you have all the needed documents, filled in and signed on all the forms completely, and included the payment receipt. Then, if you’re all set, send the document package to the addresses of the PR Card Case Processing Centres required by the application.
Your PR card application may be returned
Here’s the importance of checking and double-checking (perhaps, triple-checking and so on) that all your documents are in order. The PR Card Case Processing Centre may return your application package due to several reasons, such as if your application is missing details, lacking needed documents, or if your photographs do not fit the requirements.
Thankfully there are tools that can help you to decrease the hassle with these documents, especially with pictures. With Visafoto tool, you can make sure that the printed photos you are using to apply for a PR card are up to the standards, and Visafoto makes sure your photo for online submission has just the right parameters.
PR card tips beyond the application
Important as it is, getting your PR card is only part of the battle. Here are some tips to keep your PR card-related business always in order:
Always maintain a valid PR card
This one is probably a no-brainer, but the PR card expires every five years, and five years is enough time to be negligent and forget about it if you’re not careful. Be mindful of when your card expires and be ready to renew. Renewals can take up to six months so do plan well in advance, and you can apply already if your card is expiring in nine months. This is especially important if you are outside the country, as you can’t fly back into Canada if you do not have a valid PR card.
On that note…
Do not leave Canada without your PR card
Whether you just arrived and haven’t received yours (the card takes approximately two months to get to you), lost your card, or don’t have a valid one, do not leave Canada without your valid PR card. Without it, you will not be able to get back into the country.
If you truly must travel out of the country, and such cases do exist, you will need someone to mail you your PR card or apply for a Permanent Resident Travel Document from your local Canadian visa office.