What Is A Canada Permanent Residence Card (PR Card)?

Our article about Canada Passport inspired us to do another article on Canada Permanent Residence Card (PR). The importance of the Canada Permanent Residence Card is also valuable. I remember 2 years ago; when one of my friends from Argentina saw my Canada PR card, she literally hugged the card. Her and her family live in Canada because her husband has a Canada work permit, so she told me they were already applying for the Canada PR card and looking forward to getting approved. She said she never saw what the card looked like, till I showed her.

The Canada permanent resident card (PR card; French: carte de résident permanent) is an identification document and a travel document for permanent residents of Canada. It is one of the methods by which Canadian permanent residents can prove their status and is, along with the permanent resident travel document (PRTD), one of the only documents that allow permanent residents to return to Canada by a commercial carrier.

I vividly remember when we landed Canada on August 5, 2016, the immigration officer that attended to us for our landing formalities said ‘Congratulations, you are now a permanent resident of Canada, you have access to about everything a citizen has accessed to, the only difference is that you cannot vote or be voted for as a permanent resident’. Those words still ring in my ears and I dare say that my family and I are very grateful for the opportunity of being Canada permanent residents, the PR status has offered us a better lease of life, for which we are very thankful and grateful for.

Even though the Canada passport offers one much more than the PR card, the PR card too has significant benefits.

Originally named and still colloquially referred to as the “Maple Leaf card”, the PR card was first proposed in 2001 as part of the Canadian government’s overhaul of immigration and security laws following the September 11 attacks in the United States. After the 2001 passage of the new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the first PR cards were distributed on 28 June 2002.

Like Canadian passports, all PR cards are issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and are the property of the Canadian Crown.

The PR card is normally valid for five years. However, it may be valid for one year for those whose PR status is being assessed by the IRCC. A PR card’s expiration date does not indicate that the holder’s status as a permanent resident has expired, or will expire, on that date. It is the date after which the card must be replaced with a new card.

For visa-free travels, Canadian permanent residents require a PR card, unless the person’s passport in itself is sufficient for exemption. A Canadian PR card holder may travel visa-free to the following countries if not already exempt:
-All Dutch Caribbean territories (90 days)
-Bahamas (30 days)
-Bermuda (maximum 6 months)
-Cayman Islands (60 days)
-Costa Rica (30 days, PR card must be valid for more than six months)
-Cuba ( 30 days, PR card and a current and valid passport required)
-Dominican Republic
-Georgia (90 days in 180 days).
-Mexico (6 months)
-Nicaragua (90 days within 180 days, not applicable to all nationalities)
-Panama (30 days or 180 days)
-South Korea (30 days when in transit, not applicable to all nationalities)
-Taiwan (30 days, online registration required, only applicable to certain nationalities)
-Turks and Caicos Islands (90 days)

For non-visa-exempt nationals, UK allows holders of a valid PR card issued after 2002 to transit without visa under TWOV program.

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