Can I Travel Outside Canada While my PR is in Process

Many times, individuals who intend to travel outside Canada while their PR is in process wonder if it’s possible. If you fall within this category, the answer to your can I travel outside Canada while my PR is in process question is yes, you can travel outside Canada while your PR is in process. In fact, a PR card is not required to exit Canada.

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However, you are required to have a PR card to return to Canada. If your PR is still in process and you intend to travel soon, don’t worry you will find alternative means of returning to Canada in this article.

A PR card proves that a foreign citizen has a valid permanent residence status in Canada. It gives its holder the right to travel in and out of Canada whenever they want. 

Getting a PR card may take about 45 days or more after meeting all the PR requirements. 

Also, PR cards cannot be mailed outside of Canada. This implies that even if your PR card is due for collection before you intend to return to Canada, you cannot have access to it from a foreign country. 

However, you need a PR card to prove the validity of your permanent residence while returning to Canada from abroad. Without a PR card, you are not permitted to board a commercial vehicle (flight, train, bus or boat) to Canada.

How Do I Return after my Travel outside Canada While my PR is in Process?

Having in mind that you need a PR card to return to Canada, the question is how does one return to Canada while their PR is in the process? 

It is best to apply for Urgent PR processing before travelling outside Canada while your PR is processing. To qualify for this option, you must be travelling within the next 3 months. The purpose of your trip must be for one of the following reasons:

  • For a job opportunity
  • You’re seriously sick.
  • Your family member is seriously sick
  • You lost a family member
  • You’re traveling for a job related to your present job.

Please note that an Urgent Pr processing is not guaranteed even if you meet the aforementioned requirements.

Returning to Canada with a Permanent Resident Travel Document

If you cannot wait for your PR card to be processed, you can return to Canada with a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD). You can apply for the PRTD from outside Canada in the Canadian consulate or embassy closest to you. If you travelled with your family members who are permanent residents of Canada, they are also required to apply for the PRTD.

Who is Eligible for the PRTD?

You can apply for the PRTD if:

  • You have been granted PR but your PR card hasn’t been processed before you traveled outside Canada
  • Your PR card is lost or expired
  • Your PR card is still being renewed

Who is Ineligible for a PRTD?

The following persons cannot apply for a PRTD:

  • Citizens of Canada
  • Foreign Nationals or immigrants who have not been granted PR status in Canada.
  • Permanent residents who are outside of Canada with a valid PR card
  • Permanent residents who are within Canada
  • Permanent residents who wish to renounce their PR status voluntarily
  • Permanent residents in the past who have lost their PR status for whatever reasons.

How Long Does it Take to Process PRTD

Processing a PRTD may take about 2 weeks or more. Therefore, it is best you apply for a PRTD at least 2 months before you intend to return to Canada.

Returning to Canada with a Private Vehicle

Aside from using the PRTD, there are other means of returning to Canada without a PR card. If your PR card expires or gets lost while you are outside Canada, your permanent residence status is maintained for a period of time.

In such cases, you’re permitted to enter Canada with your private vehicle. However, you will need to present the following immigration documents in place of your PR card. 

  • A valid Canadian passport
  • Driver’s license issued by the province or territory you live in.
  • Employment card containing your picture and signature (for workers)
  • Student card containing your picture and signature (for students)
  • Provincial identity card
  • Social insurance number card
  • Vehicle insurance certificate
  • Credit card

Finally, you may be allowed to return to Canada while your PR is in the process if your PR status can be confirmed at the port of entry with a computer system.

However, this option is not guaranteed because some commercial airline carriers may mandate you to show your PR card. You may not be permitted to enter Canada if you can’t present it.


There you have it, the end of guide on the topic of if “I can travel outside Canada while my PR is in process” Immigly.com strongly advises you to get your PR Card before travelling outside Canada. However, if you must travel outside Canada while your PR is in process, you can explore any of the options highlighted in this article to return to Canada.

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