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Since March 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (‘IRCC’) have being abstaining from the traditional in-person permanent residence landing appointments to validate Confirmation of Permanent Residence (‘CoPR’). Instead, the IRCC have been completing virtual landing and issuing electronic CoPRs.

To facilitate the virtual landing, the IRCC use the Online Permanent Residence Confirmation Portal. The Portal has been implemented by the government to provide a better experience for permanent residence applicants at the end of their PR application process during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the Portal was launched, it was anticipated that it would expedite the issuance of Permanent Residence (‘PR’) Cards. However, many approved Permanent Residents report that the issuance of the PR Card has been taking 2-3 months and, in some cases, even longer.

As an immigration lawyer, I am often asked whether the travel without a PR Card is permitted when someone has virtually landed in Canada. The answer is – if a permanent resident who holds an electronic CoPR plans to travel outside Canada before receiving the original PR Card, that individual will not be able to re-enter Canada by air, unless that permanent resident obtains a Travel Document issued outside of Canada.

Although a Canadian Border Services Agency officer may consider the request for entry to Canada without the original PR Card made by the permanent resident who had to travel outside Canada for compassionate reasons, most airline companies will refuse flight boarding to a permanent resident who cannot present a valid PR Card or a Travel Document. With proper border-crossing assistance, you may be eligible to travel back to Canada through the United States by land.

If you have recently become a Canadian permanent resident through the virtual landing process and you urgently need to travel outside Canada, contact our Immigration Law Group to discuss your border-crossing options.

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