Government of Canada improves Permanent Resident Card application process

Ottawa, June 16, 2008 — The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, today announced two significant changes to the permanent resident card (PR card) application process.

Permanent residents applying to replace a card that is due to expire are no longer required to send in their current valid card with the application. Instead, they now only need to exchange their old card when they pick up the new card in person at a local Citizenship and Immigration Canada office. In addition, applicants for a new or replacement PR card are no longer required to obtain the signature of a guarantor or sign a statutory declaration in lieu of a guarantor.

“These changes demonstrate our continued commitment to providing more convenient services to newcomers,” said Minister Finley. “We recognize that people may want to hold on to a valid card for travel purposes while waiting for the replacement. We also understand that newcomers may have difficulty finding a guarantor who has known them for at least two years.”

Allowing permanent residents to keep their valid cards while waiting for a replacement will make it easier for people to travel while their application is being processed.

Previously, permanent residents had to send in their existing PR card when they applied for a replacement. This presented an inconvenience for permanent residents who intended to travel outside Canada while their application was being processed. Permanent residents should still include their PR card with the application for a replacement if it has already expired.

Eliminating the need for a guarantor will simplify the permanent resident card application process without compromising security. For example, CIC can verify an applicant's passport, driver’s licence, or employment and educational information to confirm their residence and identity.

The PR card confirms the holder’s permanent resident status in Canada. Permanent residents who travel outside Canada must show the card before boarding commercial transportation (plane, train, boat or bus) to return to Canada. Without a valid PR card, permanent residents would not be allowed to board commercial transportation back to Canada.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada encourages permanent residents to check the expiry date on their PR cards and apply for a new one well before they plan to travel. The PR card was introduced in 2002, and, in most cases, is valid for a five-year period.