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Ask Tito Mike by Michael Scott  

Accelerated processing

and PRC applications

by Michael Scott

A November 2023 article in the Toronto Star called attention to the plight of many newly landed Canadians who are awaiting the issuance of their Permanent Resident cards. It could take a considerable amount of time for the issuance of the PRC and this has created issues for many. In particular, there are many new immigrants who are desperate to return to their home countries but face challenges if they try and return to Canada with proof of their landed status. It is important that all PRs are aware of the need for the PRC card, the processing time frames, and the options open to them.

The PRC is first and foremost a form of identification for new immigrants, a vital travel document that permanent residents must produce at a port of entry to re-enter the country. The absence of a PRC hinders the newly landed Canadians’ ability to return to their home country for family emergencies. The Toronto Star article estimated that over 70,000 new immigrants were awaiting their cards at the time of their article.

There are, however, options available to permanent residents who are awaiting the issuance of their first cards or those who have expiring or even expired cards. It is possible to request accelerated processing in certain cases. There are a number of cases where the applicant can request an urgent issuance of the card, such as in the event of a serious illness or death of a family member as well as work related to your current job. It is important for applicants to understand that IRCC does not guarantee that a PR card will arrive on time. Applicants are advised to check on current processing times, so they are aware of the challenges they face.

IRCC’s current processing time for first-time PR card applicants is 32 days and the estimated processing time for PR card renewal applications is 63 days. The government of Canada website will provide you with an updated message of the processing of your request based on the date of the submission for a new PR card or the renewal or replacement of a lost PRC.

For those who are not eligible for accelerated processing, there are other options you can consider. PRs with expired or expiring PRCs may consider other options such as traveling abroad on family emergencies and applying for a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) abroad. The PRTD is a one-time travel document for which permanent residents can apply if they are outside Canada with an expired PRC. This option is for emergencies and the permanent resident must apply at the visa post abroad and explain why their card is expired and the reason why they travelled abroad without renewing it from inside Canada. There is no guarantee that the visa post will approve the application, so you should exercise caution if you are considering this option. It would be best to apply for a new card from inside the country and request accelerated processing.

In terms of newly landed Canadians, you can apply for urgent issuance of your first PR cards and include the following documentation to support your request: proof of intended travel with a copy of your ticket or flight itinerary; a copy of your receipt of payment; a letter explaining your request for accelerated travel; a copy of a doctor’s note on serious illness, or death certificate or a letter from your employer on letterhead with company signature. It is important to note that requests for fast processing will not be considered without supporting documentation. If the documentation is not provided, the IRCC will provide normal processing times.

Good luck with your PRC applications and a caution to any who travel abroad without a valid PRC. This is not a good idea.

Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Immigration Canada and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with Immigration Connexion International Ltd. Contact him at 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail: