When to apply for a renewing of a Permanent Residence Card (PR Card) and when for a Travel Document instead?
Very often my clients who applied for a PR Card ask me what to do, if they have to leave Canada temporarily and the card is not arrived yet. The process of the application for a new PR Card or renewal may take months and technically the applicant cannot leave the country and receive PR Card by mail in the country where they traveled to. In this case, the only option is to travel (if the travel is of necessity) and return to Canada with a Travel Document. Travel Documents issue at the Canadian Consulate or Embassy in the country of the applicant’s temporary stay.
If the applicant’s PR Card was lost or stolen while he/she is outside Canada, they have to apply for a Travel Document in order to return to Canada.
You, as an applicant, should be very careful. The immigration officials, when assessing your situation, will carefully examine whether or not you have rights to return meaning that you comply with residency obligations and did not lose your permanent resident status. If you lack of physical presence of 730 days within past 5 years preceding your application, you may bring humanitarian and compassionate considerations along with your application form. It is always a good idea to hire an immigration specialist to help you with your submissions (describing your circumstances) when applying for a Travel Document.
What humanitarian and compassionate grounds may help you to be successful on the application? The answer is everything that proves that you left Canada not because of your voluntary choice, but something exceptional prompted you to travel. For example, illness of your family members who reside outside of Canada, would constitute exceptional circumstances. Or, when you were taken outside of Canada when you were minor and therefore could not control the situation.
If our immigration authorities in a Canadian consulate/embassy refused to issue you a Travel Document due to lack of of days of physical presence in Canada in the prescribed period, you have rights to appeal the decision in the Immigration Appeal Division. The appeal division is located in the territory of Canada, so you would need a family member, a relative, a friend or your lawyer/paralegal who can file an appeal application on your behalf. The best option for the task would of course be your legal counsel (lawyer/paralegal).