Returning to Canada as a Permanent Resident During COVID-19
As a permanent resident of Canada, you are entitled to travel to Canada despite the travel restrictions and US border closure.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you will not be allowed to board the plane to Canada or enter Canada via air even if you are a permanent resident.
However, a permanent resident can still return to Canada via the land border port of entry even if they show symptoms of COVID-19.
When returning to Canada, you MUST have a plan which allows you to quarantine in isolation from other people for 14 consecutive days once you are in Canada. You will have to explain this plan to CBSA and demonstrate how you will be able to stay alone, obtain food and supplies, and avoid contact with other people for 14 days.
If you are a permanent resident and do not follow your quarantine plan, you could face:
- Up to 6 months in jail
- Up to $750,000 fine
The 14-day quarantine is mandatory even if you have no symptoms of COVID-19.
Only essential workers are exempt from the quarantine.
Immediate family members of permanent residents who have permission to enter Canada such as a valid visa or eTA are also exempt from the travel restrictions as long as they can show that their reason for travel to Canada is essential and not discretionary.
Mandatory Documents For Returning To Canada
If you are traveling to Canada via a commercial vehicle, such as:
- Ship or Boat
You must have a valid PR card or PR Travel Document. You can renew your PR card urgently if you need to travel for an emergency such as the illness or death of a family member, or mandatory work trip.
If you do not have a valid PR card or PR travel document, you will NOT be allowed to board the plane, bus, train, or boat, even if you come from a visa-exempt country such as the UK or Ireland. This is because all travelers from visa-exempt countries (except the USA) must have a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) in order to board a commercial vehicle bound for Canada. If you are a permanent resident, an eTA cannot be issued to you.
If you are traveling to Canada via a private vehicle, such as:
- Private car (borrowed, owned, or rented)
- Private plane
- Tractor trailer dispatched or returning to Canada
- Other non-commercial vehicle
You may request entry at the Canadian Port of Entry (border) without a valid PR card or PR travel document. If you have already applied to renew your PR card, you may show Canada Border Services Agency your expired PR card and a copy of your PR card application.
However, we very strongly advise that no permanent resident of Canada attempt to travel to Canada without a valid PR card.
If you have not been inside Canada for the minimum 730 days, you may still meet the requirements to renew your PR card – see our pages on exemptions to the physical presence requirement and renewing a PR card on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds.
Contact us if you need to renew your PR card urgently or using the regular processing time – current processing time is approximately 27 days.