Permanent residents of Canada may apply for a permanent resident card in Canada at any time after their arrival in Canada. This card certifies their permanent resident status in Canada.
The Canada Permanent Resident Card is a plastic wallet card containing relevant information (size, eye color, gender, etc.) on the cardholder as well as a laser photo and the signature of its holder. Other personal data is encrypted on the card and is only accessible by an authorized Canadian immigration officer.
Canadian permanent residents contemplating returning to Canada by common transportation (plane, train, bus, and boat) will be required to show their permanent resident card to confirm their permanent resident status prior to embarkation. Canadian permanent residents who are not in possession of a permanent resident card will be required to apply for a temporary travel document from a nearby Canadian visa office.
Permanent Canadian residents can now receive cards by email. The current processing time for a new permanent resident card for new permanent residents is 64 working days. The processing time for existing permanent residents is 81 working days.
Limited-Use Travel Document Canada
A travel document issued by a Canadian visa office may, in some cases, be used as a permanent Canadian resident card.
As a general rule, a commercial carrier must claim a permanent Canadian resident to present their Permanent Resident Card (PR) before boarding.
A Canadian permanent resident outside of Canada who does not have a permanent resident card may apply for a limited-use travel document at the Canadian visa office to obtain the right to return to Canada aboard of a commercial carrier.
Before issuing a travel document, the officer of the Canadian visa office must be able to prove, by means of the documents submitted, the identity of the applicant and his status as a permanent resident. In addition, the officer must be satisfied that the applicant has complied with his residency obligation applicable to Canadian permanent residents.