Immigration and Citizenship

Returning back to Canada with expired PR card (travelling to Mexico in 3 weeks)

As someone whose PR renewal went into secondary review and took a little under a year to arrive (and within a year of extensive travelling and had to apply for a PRTD), here is my (strictly personal and circumstantial) advice:

1. If you:
a. are travelling strictly for personal leisure
b. do not see yourself as going abroad again soon (within a 6-month period)
c. the thought of missing five days of vacation will not perturb you for the rest of your life
d. the cost of cancelling/ delaying the trip is not too significant for you

Try not to go abroad. I know it is quite unfair that one has to put on hold one’s personal life for IRCC’s logistical backlogs but if you are only in Cancun for five days (which is almost definitively not enough for a PRTD), it will be even more complicated to re-enter Canada. You may have to extend your stay in Mexico at your own cost to wait for a PRTD or get stranded at the airport —- not situations you want to put yourself in.

2. If you do not meet any one of the assumptions above or know that you will need to travel within the next six months period, I suggest you acquire a PRTD (which is usually good for a year within issuance). To make the best of your situation:

a. Prepare your documents in advance before you leave. Download and fill out the required forms, bring along your evidence, etc. The application is almost exactly the same as a PR card renewal app and many documents you need to request in advance before you leave. However, you cannot apply until you are actually abroad. (which as one poster pointed out above, is very illogical of IRCC)

b. Mail your application as soon as you land in Mexico. Some airports have mailings services within them, do it ASAP.

c. Do follow up with your application (the last thing you want on your mind during a vacation, I can empathize). Send the consulate inquiry by form/ email (depending on the embassy) and make sure it is received and goes into processing (I made a call a day to my consulate abroad, not out of personal will to pester them but as they needed additional information from me. Do not annoyingly overload them with repeated inquiries.)

d. Offer to pick up your passport if the option is given. Depending on the country, the time to mail matters and may be decisive to whether you have to delay your flight back. Picking it up at a mailing agency or at the embassy can save anywhere from 1 – 5 days.

Hopefully, these are helpful and let me know if you have questions!

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