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Permanent residents outside Canada

Learn about:

Lost or stolen permanent resident cards
If your permanent resident card is lost or stolen, you must report it immediately to prevent its misuse. Please contact the visa office

Re-entering Canada with a permanent resident travel document
If you are a permanent resident of Canada outside of the country and do not have a valid permanent resident card, you can only apply for a new card after returning to Canada. Applications for permanent resident cards are only accepted from within Canada.

To allow you to return to Canada without a valid permanent resident card, you need to apply for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD). The PRTD will allow you to enter Canada only once. To apply for a PRTD, please refer to How to apply for a permanent resident travel document

Since a PRTD is only valid for a single entry, you will have to submit a new PRTD application every time you need to re-enter Canada. To avoid this, you should apply for a new permanent resident card immediately after arriving in Canada. For information on how to apply for a new permanent resident card, please refer to the Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) website.

In your PRTD application you will need to show that you have not lost your status as a permanent resident.

Losing your permanent resident status
Your permanent resident status allows you to live in Canada, but there is a time limit on how long you can live outside the country. There are several ways you could lose your permanent resident status:

  • If you did not meet the residency obligations you could lose your permanent resident status. To keep your status as a permanent resident, you must live in Canada for at least two years within a five-year period.
  • If you are convicted of a serious crime, you may be deported from Canada and lose your status.
  • When you become a Canadian citizen, you are no longer a permanent resident.

Note: If you obtained permanent resident status in the past, but have not lived in Canada for many years, you are still considered to have Canadian permanent resident status unless you have previously lost the status through a determination made by an adjudicator at an inquiry. If you want to travel to Canada on a temporary basis (i.e. to visit, work, or study) you must have a determination of your residency status performed before you travel to Canada.

If you want a formal determination of your residency status you must submit an application for a permanent resident travel document.

For further information on losing your permanent resident status and ways to meet your residency obligations, please see the Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) website.

If you have ever been a landed immigrant or permanent resident
If you have ever been a landed immigrant or permanent resident, but you no longer consider yourself one, please read this section:

You are assumed to be a permanent resident until a formal assessment is done by a visa officer. This is true even if you have not met your residency obligations. Therefore in order to re-enter Canada, you must submit an application for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD) so that a visa officer can assess your residency status. Although you may not want a PRTD, a completed application form provides the information required to assess your residency status.

If you require a visa or permit as well, then you may submit your completed PRTD application inside your visa/permit application. You will only need to pay the fees for the visa/permit application. You do not need to pay the fees for your residency assessment.
If the visa officer determines that you have not met your residency obligations, he will notify you that you are no longer a permanent resident of Canada. If this is the case, you will need to meet the same entry requirements as any other temporary resident applicant.

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Date Modified:
2014-03-31