The Canadian permanent resident (PR) card was first introduced in June 2002 in order to heighten Canada’s border security and provide immigrants with secure and convenient proof of their status in Canada. Valid for a five year period, the cards that were first issued in 2002 will begin expiring in the coming months.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is implementing a reminder campaign to encourage Canadian permanent residents to check the validity dates of their PR cards and renew them if necessary.

The PR card is indispensable for Canadian permanent residents who plan to travel internationally. From outside Canada, permanent residents must show their PR cards before boarding any commercial vehicle (bus, boat, plane, or train) that is headed to Canada. Without this confirmation of permanent resident status, individuals will have to make alternative travel arrangements at their own expense or purchase a limited use travel document from a Canadian Immigration Visa Office.

Applications for new PR cards can be obtained on the CIC website and are currently being processed in six to eight weeks. For those permanent residents who have already obtained Canadian citizenship, the PR card is no longer required.