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Can a permanent resident return to Canada if his/her permanent resident card is lost or has expired or if he/she has failed to meet the residency obligation?

A permanent resident will be allowed to enter Canada if he/she can satisfy a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer that he/she has permanent resident status. A permanent resident card is not necessary for that purpose, but a person outside Canada who does not have a valid permanent resident card will not be allowed to board a carrier such as a plane to Canada. He/she will have to go to a Canadian visa office to obtain a travel document called Permanent Resident Abroad (IMM5524E), which confirms his permanent resident status. The visa officer will issue a travel document if he/she is satisfied that:

  • Humanitarian and compassionate considerations, taking into account the best interests of a child directly affected, justify the retention of permanent resident status overcomes any breach of the residency obligation;
  • The person has made an appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) against the officer's negative decision on his/her residency obligation or the 60-day period of making such an appeal has not yet expired if the person was physically present in Canada at least once in the 365 days before the examination by the officer;
  • The person has made an appeal to the IAD, which orders him/her to physically appear at a hearing; or
  • The IAD has allowed his/her appeal.

If a permanent resident can establish that he/she is a permanent resident, he/she will be allowed to enter Canada regardless of any non-compliance with the residency obligation. The border office will only refuse his/her entry when the person has already lost his/her PR status. However, when the border officer is aware of any non-compliance with the residency obligation, he/she may prepare a report to the Minister's delegate who may issue a departure order.

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