Canadian Permanent Resident Card Introduced
In June 2002 Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) introduced a wallet-sized plastic identification card to be used by immigrants to Canada who have permanent resident status but are not yet Canadian citizens. The Permanent Resident Card is also called the PR Card or the Maple Leaf Card.
Safety Features of Permanent Resident Cards
The new Permanent Resident Card replaces the IMM 1000 document, an awkward paper document with few safety features. Security features of the Permanent Resident Card include:
- a laser-engraved photograph and signature
- physical characteristics of permanent resident are printed on front of card
- an optical stripe, more advanced than the magnetic stripe used on credit cards, contains details from the Confirmation of Permanent Resident form
- information from optical stripe is encrypted and only accessible to authorized officials to protect the privacy of the cardholder
When to Apply for a Permanent Resident Card
Starting June 28, 2002, the Permanent Resident Card has been automatically mailed to new permanent residents once they arrive in Canada. If you became a new Canadian permanent resident on or after June 28, 2002 and did not provide a mailing address to Citizenship and Immigration Canada when you entered Canada, you can supply your address to CIC online or by contacting the Permanent Residents Call Centre. You have 180 days after entering Canada to make sure Citizenship and Immigration Canada has your address information. Otherwise you will have to reapply for a Permanent Resident Card, and pay the fee.
Since October 15, 2002, permanent residents already in Canada have been able to apply for a Permanent Resident Card. The card replaces the IMM 1000 document.
The fee for the Permanent Resident Card is $50.00 per applicant. Fees are always subject to change. The Permanent Resident Card is valid for five years.
All Canadian permanent residents coming back by commercial carrier into Canada after traveling, including children, need to use the new Permanent Resident Card. Permanent residents planning on travelling internationally should apply for a PR Card well ahead of their expected departure date to be sure to have their PR card in time. Application Processing Times gives an indication of how long it currently takes to get a PR Card. Please note that these times are estimates only, and it could take longer.