Permanent residents of Canada can travel back to Canada with a PR card every time they leave the country. However, expired PR card is not acceptable for travel purposes. You should not board a flight or any sort of commercial vehicle with an expired PR card.
If you are inside Canada and your PR card expires, you can simply get it renewed. It is best to try to get it renewed 6 months before the expiry as it allows ample time for renewal. However, in some situations, PR card expires while you are abroad. If you avoid this situation, it is just great.
However, if the PR card expires, what does that imply? It is very important to note that expiry of PR card does not mean that you are no more a PR. This is myth and people panic in this sort of situation. Some get overwhelmed about the possibility of renewing it from abroad. Nevertheless, PR card renewal from outside Canada is not possible but you still have an option to travel back.
What is a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD)?
Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) allows you to return to Canada when your PR card has expired while abroad. PRTD application can only be done from outside Canada. If you have met your residency obligation and your PR card expired, you are fully entitled for a PRTD.
You will be paying a minimal government fees ($50) and submit the documents as per the checklist. Original passport has to be sent along so make sure the passport is valid. The PRTD is a stamp on the passport that allows you to enter back in Canada and usually is single entry.
Permanent Resident Card expired and you have no minimum physical presence?
There can be hiccups if your PR card expires with your residency obligation not met. In this case, PRTD application allows you to also put forward your reasoning for not meeting the physical presence in Canada.
A solid Humanitarian and Compassionate reasoning can convince the officers and they may approve the PRTD even in case you are sort of days. Again, if you fall in this category, assessment is based on case by case basis. In occasions, officers may provide you opportunity to address the concerns in the forms of procedural fairness correspondence if the breach is severe.
To conclude, PR card expiring does not imply that you lose your PR status abruptly. PRTD is a next option facilitating your entry back to the country.
Kamal Deep Singh, RCIC (Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant) licensed by CICC (formerly known as ICCRC) with member number R708618. He brings extensive knowledge of immigration law and new changes to rapidly evolving IRCC.