The processing time for a permanent resident card (PR card) can be lengthy. Having a PR card does not grant the holder permanent resident status; it merely confirms that the person is a permanent resident of Canada.

In order to maintain your permanent resident status in Canada, you must prove that you have resided in Canada for at least two years in the last rolling five-year period.  When a permanent resident of Canada applies to renew his PR card, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will examine whether the applicant in fact has met his residency obligation.

A recent federal court decision illustrates the complex timing considerations involved in ensuring a successful renewal of a PR card.  That case, which was decided on December 13, 2012, involved the issuance of a PR cards to Mr. Khan, a citizen of Pakistan and permanent resident of Canada.  His PR card was to expire on March 10, 2010.  He signed his renewal application on April 12, 2010, but for some reason, his application was not received by CIC until June 8, 2010.  He had only just met his residency obligation as of June 8, 2010 and not as of April 2010.  His application was approved by CPC-Sydney and his PR card was sent to CIC-Central for pickup.  When Mr. Khan went to pick up his card on June 29, 2011, the officer declined to issue a PR card to him because he did not meet his residency obligation as of the date he came to pick up the card.

In its decision, the court noted that the officer’s only obligation was to confirm that the documents submitted with the renewal application were not fraudulent, by cross-checking with the originals provided by the applicant when he picked up the card.  If there were concerns, it was up to CPC-Sydney to review and investigate.  Moreover, in the court’s view, the relevant date was the date CIC received the application, not the date Mr. Khan signed the application.  Mr. Khan did receive his PR card.

In conclusion, the decision confirms that issuance of a physical PR card and the verification of permanent residence obligations are two distinctive processes, and the timing considerations should be kept separate.  If you need legal advice about renewing your PR card, contact our office today.

If you have any individual questions or concerns, please contact our office for more customized consultation for your unique situation.  Please note that this posting is for general information only and is not to be considered binding or official legal counsel since situations will vary and can be complicated. The content in this post is current as of the day of entry. Due to the changing nature of Immigration law, the information in this entry may or may not still be applicable.