Obtaining a Canadian Permanent Residence Card

For most people, the goal of immigrating to Canada is to obtain permanent residency. Permanent residents can remain in Canada indefinitely and have additional rights not granted to temporary residents. Namely, they can work and live anywhere in Canada and receive social benefits. Permanent residents can also apply for Canadian citizenship by naturalization once they meet the requirements. 

Applying for Permanent Residence and Receiving your First PR Card

Permanent residence can be obtained by applying under one of the many permanent residence programs such as express entry, sponsorship, and permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.  Once a permanent residence application is approved, a confirmation of permanent residence (COPR) will be issued to the applicant confirming the applicant’s status as a permanent resident. 

After receiving the COPR, an applicant will obtain their first permanent residency card (“PR Card”) by mail. Most applicants will receive their first PR Card in the mail and do not need to apply for a PR card if they send the PR Card photos to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) within 180 days of becoming a permanent resident. However, if an applicant does not provide their photos and mailing address within this time, then he or she must make an application to receive their first PR Card. A permanent residence immigration lawyer can assist you with applying for your first PR Card to ensure that your application is processed as smoothly as possible by avoiding delays.  The following documents must be provided when applying for a PR Card: 

  • 50$ Processing Fee;

  • PR Card Photos;

  • IMM5644 Document Checklist; 

  • IMM5444 Application for a Permanent Resident Card or a Permanent Resident Card Travel Document; and

  • IMM5476 Use of a Representative Form (if using a representative).  

Do you need a permanent resident travel document? Learn how to get permanent resident PR card renewed with urgent processing

Why having a valid PR card is important?

The PR Card is a government-issued identification that serves as proof that a person is a lawful permanent resident of Canada. PR Cards are especially important when permanent residents travel abroad because they must show their PR card when returning to Canada. If a permanent resident does not have a PR Card and is outside of Canada, then an application for a permanent resident travel document (“PRTD”) must be made to return to Canada. 

When do I renew my permanent residence card?

PR cards are valid for a period of 5 years after which they may be renewed. Permanent residents can make a PR card renewal application to obtain a new card. The applicant must be in Canada to receive the new PR card and must meet the following requirements:  

  • Be a Permanent Resident of Canada;

  • Be present in Canada for at least 730 days in the last 5 years; and

  • Not be subject to the removal of your PR status;

Under what circumstances can the removal or loss of permanent residence status occur?

  • An officer determines you are no longer a PR after an inquiry or PRTD appeal following a refusal;

  • You voluntarily renounce your PR status;

  • A removal order against you comes into force;

  • You gain Canadian citizenship; or

  • You are found to be inadmissible to Canada and have your PR status revoked.

In most circumstances, a Canadian PR card renewal application will be accepted if an applicant meets the residency requirement and maintains his or her PR status in Canada. 

What documents do you need to meet the residency obligations?

When making a PR renewal application, the applicant must submit the required documentation to demonstrate that they have resided in Canada for the required period: 

  • Proof of employment records or pay stubs;

  • Bank statements;

  • Notice of Assessment for the five (5) years immediately before the application;

  • Evidence of receiving benefits from the Canadian government programs;

  • Lease or Rental Agreements;

  • Club Memberships; or

  • Any other documents that prove you met your residency obligation.

A permanent residence immigration lawyer can assist you in preparing a fulsome application with the required documentation to ensure that your application is processed as quickly as possible. If you are missing documents demonstrating your residence in Canada for five years, or if you have spent considerable time outside of Canada, a permanent residence renewal lawyer can develop a strategy to demonstrate to IRCC that you have met the residency obligations.

Can I change my name or information on my PR Card?

Permanent residents might also want to apply for a new PR card to have it accurately reflect their personal information in the event of a change of name or change of sex. The following must be included when applying for a PR Card with updated personal information: 

  • If there is a spelling mistake on your Record of Landing of COPR, then you must submit a Request to Amend the Immigration Record of Landing, Confirmation of Permanent Residence or Valid Temporary Resident Documents (IMM 5218) before applying for a new PR Card.

  • If your current name is different than the name on your Record of Landing (IMM 1000) or your COPR, then you must submit:

    • Proof of documents showing your change of name;

    • Provincial ID confirming your change of name; or

    • Foreign passport or documentation confirming your change of name if the change was made outside of Canada.

  • If you are applying to reclaim an indigenous name on your PR Card, then you must fill out and include the Statutory Declaration to Reclaim an Indigenous Name on Canadian Citizenship Certificates or Permanent Resident Cards IRM 0005 in your application.

  • If you are applying to change the sex or gender identifier on your PR card, then you must provide the  Request form for a Change of Sex or Gender Identifier (IRM 0002) form. 

Permanent Residency Renewal with Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds 

If a permanent resident does not meet the residency requirements to renew their PR status, he or she can make a PR renewal application on humanitarian and compassionate (“H&C”) grounds to IRCC. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act allows applicants to provide H&C factors if they do not meet the residency requirements:

28 (1) A permanent resident must comply with a residency obligation with respect to every five-year period.

(c) a determination by an officer that humanitarian and compassionate considerations relating to a permanent resident, taking into account the best interests of a child directly affected by the determination, justify the retention of permanent resident status overcomes any breach of the residency obligation prior to the determination.

 When making an application for PR renewal with H&C grounds, applicants must provide compelling reasons explaining why they were unable to meet the residency requirement in Canada. The assessment and determination of the humanitarian and compassionate application by the IRCC immigration officer will take into account the personal circumstances of the applicant including the following: 

The extent of the noncompliance with the residency requirement 

The first factor an officer must weigh is the amount of time an individual was outside of Canada and the reasons the person was outside the country. In other words, the closer the applicant was to the requirement of 730 days, the more favorable this factor will be in the H&C determination. Moreover, the reason for the absence is important. For example, if a permanent resident was outside of Canada because of a health condition or a health condition of a close relative, then this can constitute a compelling reason that warrants H&C grounds. 

  1. Circumstances beyond the applicant’s control

An officer will assess the circumstances beyond the applicant’s control when assessing H&C considerations. The officer will examine the events that prevented the applicant from coming to Canada. For applicants who were minors or under the age of 22, the officer should examine whether the applicant returned to Canada at the earliest possible opportunity. 

  1. Establishment outside of Canada

The officer will assess whether the applicant has permanent residence or citizenship in any other country outside Canada, and to what degree the person is established and maintains links to Canada. Links to Canada can include involvement in the community, work, and participation in social life such as churches or religious institutions.

  1. Presence of Hardships

Any other personal hardships can play a role in the decision of whether to grant an exemption on H&C grounds. This can include the impact on family members (especially children), the loss of community in Canada, and the hardships of establishment (or reestablishment) outside of Canada due to the quality of life or conditions in the applicant’s country of citizenship. 

Why choose AKM Law to prepare an H&C PR Card renewal application?

PR Card renewal applications with H&C grounds are highly discretionary. In other words, an officer will consider the totality of the factors when determining whether to grant this exemption. Absent strong arguments and supporting documentation an officer will not grant an H&C exemption. AKM Law specializing in PR Card renewals on H&C grounds can assist you in putting together an application with compelling H&C factors. A permanent residence renewal with an H&C lawyer can provide the highest chance of successfully maintaining your PR status by ensuring that all the relevant factors and legal precedents are included and argued in your application. 

Choosing AKM Law to prepare your H&C, PR card application, and renewal application ensures a seamless and comprehensive process tailored to your unique circumstances. Our team of experienced immigration lawyers specializes in navigating the complexities of humanitarian and compassionate cases, ensuring that your application is meticulously prepared and effectively presented. With a personalized approach, we take the time to understand your individual needs and develop a customized strategy to maximize your chances of success. We prioritize efficiency and accuracy, ensuring that all necessary documentation is gathered and submitted in a timely manner. By entrusting AKM Law with your H&C PR Card renewal application, you can rest assured that you're receiving top-notch legal representation and support every step of the way.

Express Entry - AKM Law - Toronto Immigration Law Firm
Express Entry | AKM Law | Toronto Immigration Law Firm

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