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Permanent residents and their travel rights

Region: Ontario Answer # 661

A permanent resident is someone who has been granted the right to live permanently in Canada, but who has not yet been granted Canadian citizenship. Permanent residents have more rights than visitors or refugees but not all of the rights of Canadian citizens. Permanent residents can enter legally and live in Canada so long as they comply with certain conditions.

As a permanent resident, you have the right to travel outside of, and re-enter Canada. To meet the residency obligations, you must be physically present in Canada for a minimum of two years (730 days) in every five-year period. However, if you travel outside Canada frequently, or were absent from Canada for a long period, when you return you must prove to an Immigration Officer that your absence was temporary and that you did not intend to give up your residency in Canada.

You may also count the days you spent outside Canada as if you were in Canada, if:

  • you were accompanying a Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent,
  • you were employed by a Canadian business, or
  • you had humanitarian and compassionate reasons to stay abroad.


Travel documents required

Permanent residents require a permanent resident card (PR card) or other official travel document to re-enter Canada. Having a PR Card is the easiest way for a permanent resident to re-enter Canada, and it is advisable to obtain one before travelling. It is a wallet-sized plastic card which is official proof that someone is a permanent resident of Canada. A PR card must be shown when you re-enter Canada on a commercial vehicle, such as an airplane, boat, train or bus. If you return to Canada in a private vehicle, such as your own car, you do not need a PR card, you can use your Record of Landing or Confirmation of Permanent Residence.

In some cases, you may also need a passport to re-enter Canada. If you are outside Canada and do not have a PR card, you may contact the nearest Canadian visa office, or the Canadian Border Services Agency to find out what temporary travel documents you will require to re-enter.

Temporary changes due to COVID-19

Due to the current pandemic, the Government of Canada has implemented temporary changes to various immigration programs and procedures. For the most up-to-date information, visit canada.ca.

To find foreign consulates and embassies in your province, click here.

Get help

A criminal record will delay, and can even prevent you from getting your immigration status. To erase your criminal record, call toll-free 1-888-808-3628 or learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

For legal advice and assistance with your PR application and other immigration matters, contact our preferred Immigration experts,

RightWay Canada Immigration Services

Bright Immigration Consultants

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