Table of Contents
- Residency obligation
- Completing the forms
- Submitting your application
- What happens next
- Appendix A – Photo specifications
This is not a legal document. For legal information, refer to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations or the Citizenship Act and Regulations, as applicable.
This publication is available in alternative formats upon request.
This application is for permanent residents outside Canada who do not have a valid permanent resident card to return to Canada. Travel documents are issued to permanent residents abroad to provide proof to a transportation company that the holder is entitled to re-enter Canada as a permanent resident.
Note to holders of a:
- Record of Landing (IMM 1000)
- Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292 or IMM 5688)
These documents are not valid for travel to Canada. You must have a permanent resident card or a travel document to re-enter Canada by train, plane, boat or bus.
Who should not apply for a travel document?
- Canadian citizens
- Permanent residents with a valid permanent resident card
- Permanent residents in Canada
- Permanent residents who want to voluntarily give up (renounce) their permanent residence status
Note: Permanent residents inside Canada should apply for a permanent resident card using the application kit Applying for a Permanent Resident Card (IMM 5445).
To apply for a travel document you need to prove your identity and your permanent resident status. You also need to meet the residency obligation of a permanent resident. The Document Checklist (IMM 5627) (PDF, 121 KB) gives more information on the documents you need to submit with your application.
Calculating days present in Canada
If you have been a permanent resident for five (5) years or more
- you must have been physically present in Canada for a minimum of 730 days within the past five (5) years.
If you have been a permanent resident for less than five (5) years
- you must show that you will be able to meet the minimum of 730 days of physical presence in Canada within five (5) years of the date you became a permanent resident.
Time spent outside of Canada
You may also count days outside of Canada as days for which you satisfy the residency obligation in the following circumstances:
OPTION 1. Accompanying a Canadian citizen or permanent resident outside Canada
You may count each day that you accompanied a Canadian citizen or permanent resident outside Canada provided that
- the person you accompanied is your spouse, common-law partner or parent (if you are a child under 19 years of age);
- if you are accompanying a permanent resident, they were employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or in the public service of Canada or of a province or territory during the period you accompanied them.
You must provide supporting documents to prove that:
- The person you are accompanying is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (and that the permanent resident you are accompanying meets his or her own residency obligation); and
- You are the spouse, common-law partner or child of that person.
Supporting documents may include:
- marriage licence or evidence of common-law partnership (mandatory if you are accompanying a spouse or common-law partner)
- child’s birth certificate, baptismal document, or adoption or guardianship document (mandatory if you are accompanying a parent)
- all passports or other travel documents of the person you are accompanying used in the five years before the application (mandatory)
- school or employment records
- association or club memberships
- documents showing the citizenship of the person you are accompanying, including the date the person became a Canadian citizen, or documents showing that the permanent resident you are accompanying meets their residency obligation (mandatory)
- evidence of the residential addresses of the person you are accompanying for the five (5) years before the application (mandatory)
- any other documents that you want to have considered
OPTION 2. Employment outside Canada
You may count each day you were employed outside Canada if your employment meets the following requirements:
- you are an employee of, or under contract to, a Canadian business or the public service of Canada or of a province or territory and
- as a term of your employment or contract, you are assigned on a full-time basis to:
- a position outside Canada
- an affiliated enterprise outside Canada or
- a client of the Canadian business or the public service outside Canada
For this application, a Canadian business is defined as:
- a corporation that is incorporated under the laws of Canada or of a province and that has an ongoing operation in Canada
- an enterprise that has:
- an ongoing operation in Canada
- is capable of generating revenue
- is carried out in anticipation of profit
- in which a majority of voting or ownership interests is held by Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or Canadian businesses as defined above or
- an organization or enterprise created by the laws of Canada or a province
You must provide a letter signed by an official of the business stating:
- the position and title of the signing official
- the nature of the business and how it fits the description of a Canadian business (see definition above)
- details of your assignment or contract outside Canada such as duration of the assignment; confirmation that you are a full-time employee of the “Canadian business” working abroad on a full-time basis as a term of your employment, or that you are on contract working on a full-time basis abroad as a term of your contract; and a description or copy of the position profile regarding the assignment or contract abroad
- confirmation that the business was not created primarily for the purpose of allowing you to satisfy your residency obligation
You may also include:
- articles of incorporation and business licences
- partnership agreements or corporate annual reports
- corporate Canadian Income Tax Notices of Assessment or financial statements
- copies of the Employee Assignment Agreement or Contract
- copies of any agreements between the Canadian business and the business or client outside Canada concerning your assignment to that client or business
- Pay Statements
- Canadian Income Tax Notice of Assessment
- T4 slips
- Any other evidence that you want to have considered
Humanitarian and compassionate grounds
If you are unable to meet the residency obligation, it may still be possible to keep your status as a permanent resident of Canada. You will need to show that, due to circumstances beyond your control or due to factors that have kept you living outside Canada, humanitarian and compassionate grounds should be considered in the assessment of your application.
Factors that might justify such a consideration are unusual and undeserved, or disproportionate hardships you would face if you lost your permanent resident status. You must:
- provide proof that there are compelling humanitarian and compassionate factors in your personal circumstances that justify keeping your permanent resident status;
- describe why you were not able to comply with the residency obligation; and
- describe the extent of any hardship that the loss of residency status would cause to you or one or more family members who would be directly affected by this decision, taking into account the best interests of a child directly affected by the determination.
To have your application considered on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, you must complete question 18 of the application form. There are no guidelines on what supporting documents you should submit for consideration on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
You are free to provide documents or information on any aspect of your circumstances that would justify keeping your permanent resident status.
An officer will consider the factors of your case and will make a decision based on the information and documents provided.
Give up (renounce) your permanent resident status
Some people may choose to give up their permanent residence status. For example, you may decide to apply to give up your status if you:
- know you have not met your residency obligation by being outside Canada for a long period of time, and
- want to visit Canada, and
- do not want to wait for a visa officer to do a formal assessment of your permanent resident status
- would like to avoid processing delays at the Port of Entry
Find out more about voluntarily giving up (renouncing) your permanent resident status
Completing the forms
Each applicant, regardless of age, must fill out a separate application form.
The following section does not contain instructions for all the questions on the form.
Instructions are provided only when necessary. You must answer all questions. If you leave any sections blank, your application will be returned to you and processing will be delayed. If any sections do not apply to you, complete the section by answering “N/A” or “Not Applicable”. If you need more space, attach a separate sheet of paper and write the number of the question you are answering. Print clearly with a black pen.
Warning: It is a serious offence to provide false or misleading information on these forms. We may check to verify your responses.
Application for a Travel Document (Permanent Resident Abroad) (IMM 5524)
Decide which of English or French you are more comfortable with, and check the appropriate box.
1. Print your full family name, first name(s) and middle name(s) as they appear on your Record of Landing (IMM 1000) or Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292 or IMM 5688). Do not use initials.
Other names: Print all of the names that you have used (for example, maiden name, son/daughter of, other family name, other given name, nicknames, etc.).
5. If you are a citizen of more than one country, give details on a separate page.
8. Write the date, city and province where you became a permanent resident of Canada. Your Record of Landing (IMM 1000) or Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292 or IMM 5688) may show the name of an airport, a border crossing or a CIC office instead of a city. In that case, provide the information as it appears on your document.
12c. This is the address we will use to mail correspondence regarding your application. Print your address in English or French and, if required, in the applicable script.
13. If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions, provide details such as dates, document numbers, and other information as applicable.
16 and 17.
For information on acceptable proof of status and employment, refer to the Document Checklist (IMM 5627) (PDF, 121 KB).
18. For more information, consult Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds.
Read over your answers carefully. Sign and date on the lines provided. By signing, you certify that you fully understand the questions asked, and that the information you have provided is complete, truthful, and correct. If you do not sign, the application will be returned to you.
Applicants who are less than 14 years of age:
The application must be signed by one of the applicant’s parents or legal guardian(s).
Applicants who are 14 years of age or more but less than 18 years of age:
The application must be signed by the applicant and one of the applicant’s parents or legal guardian.
Use of a Representative (IMM 5476)
Who may use this form?
Complete this form only if you:
- used the services of a representative to help you prepare or submit your application; or
- are appointing a representative; or
- are cancelling a representative’s appointment.
If you have dependent children aged 18 years or older, they are required to complete their own copy of this form if a representative is also conducting business on their behalf.
Your spouse or common-law partner does not have to complete a separate request and must sign in the box provided under question 10.
What is a representative?
A representative is someone who has provided advice, consultation, or guidance to you at any stage of the immigration application process, or in an immigration proceeding. If someone represented or advised you to help you submit your application, then that person is your representative. A representative is also someone who has your permission to conduct business on your behalf of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
When you appoint a representative:
- you also authorize CIC and CBSA to share information from your case file with this person;
- your application will not be given special attention nor can you expect faster processing or a more favourable outcome;
- the representative is authorized to represent you only on immigration matters related to the application you submit with this form;
- you can appoint only one (1) representative for each application you submit;
- you are not obliged to hire a representative. We treat everyone equally, whether they use the service of a representative or not.
Important information: You must notify us if your representative’s contact information changes or if you cancel the appointment of a representative.
Types of representatives
Family, friends, and non-profit groups often help applicants who feel the need for support and advice on immigration matters. You can appoint a representative who does not charge fees or receive any other compensation for providing immigration advice or services to represent you before CIC or the CBSA.
There are two (2) types of representatives.
Uncompensated representatives include:
- friends and family members who do not, and will not, charge a fee or receive any other consideration for their advice and services;
- organizations that do not, and will not, charge a fee or receive any other consideration for providing immigration advice or assistance (such as a non-governmental or religious organization);
- consultants, lawyers and Quebec notaries, and students-at-law under their supervision, who do not, and will not, charge a fee or receive any other consideration to represent you.
Compensated representatives charge a fee or receive some other form of consideration in exchange for the advice and representation that they provide. If you want us to conduct business with a compensated representative then they must be authorized by CIC.
Note: If an immigration representative is being paid or compensated by someone other than the applicant, then the representative is still considered to be a compensated representative.
It is important to know that anyone who represents or advises you for payment — or offers to do so — in connection with immigration proceedings or applications is breaking the law unless they are an authorized representative or they have a specific agreement or arrangement with the Government of Canada that allows them to represent or advise you. This applies to advice or consultation which happens before or after an immigration application is made or a proceeding begins.
Authorized representatives are:
- immigration consultants who are members in good standing of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC);
- lawyers and paralegals who are members in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society and students-at-law under their supervision;
- notaries who are members in good standing of the Chambre des notaires du Québec and students-at-law under their supervision.
If you appoint a compensated representative who is not a member of one of these designated bodies, your application will be returned. Learn about using a representative.
General Application Information
- Check one box to indicate if you are appointing or cancelling the appointment of a representative.
- Check both boxes and complete all sections if you are cancelling a representative and appointing a new one at the same time.
Section A – Applicant Information
- Question 1
Write your last name (surname or family name) and given name(s).
- Question 2
Write your date of birth.
- Question 3
If you have already submitted your application, write:
- the name of office where the application was submitted;
- location of office;
- type of application you are sending.
- Question 4
Write your Citizenship and Immigration Canada Identification (ID) or Unique Client Identifier (UCI) number (if known).
Section B – Appointment of Representative
- Question 5
Write your representative’s full name.
If your representative is a member of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), a law society or the Chambre des notaires du Québec, print his or her name as it appears on the organization’s membership list.
- Question 6
Check one box to indicate if your representative is unpaid or paid.
If your representative is paid, write the membership ID number of:
- the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC); or
- a Canadian provincial or territorial law society; or
- the Chambre des notaires du Québec.
- Question 7
Write your representative’s contact information.
Note: By indicating your representative’s e-mail address, you are hereby authorizing CIC to transmit your file and personal information to this specific e-mail address.
- Question 8
To accept responsibility for conducting business on your behalf, your representative must:
- sign the declaration
- date the declaration, and
- include the Party ID, only if it is known.
Section C – Cancel the Appointment of a Representative
- Question 9
Fill in this section if you wish to cancel the appointment of a representative. Write the representative’s full name.
Section D – Your Declaration
- Question 10
By signing, you authorize CIC to complete your request for yourself and your dependent children under 18 years of age.
If your spouse or common-law partner is included in this request, he or she must sign in the box provided.
Release of information to other individuals
To authorize CIC to release information from your case file to someone other than a representative, you will need to complete the form Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual (IMM 5475). The form is also available from Canadian embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad.
The person you designate will be able to obtain information on your case file, such as the status of your application. However, they will not be able to conduct business on your behalf with CIC.
You must pay a processing fee when you apply. The processing fee is CAD $50.00, or the equivalent in any foreign currency accepted at the visa office where you submit your application.
Once initial processing of your application has begun, the processing fee will not be refunded. If your application is refused, the processing fee will not be refunded.
Submitting your application
Submit all documents and your completed Application for a Travel Document (Permanent Resident Abroad) (IMM 5524), [PDF Format, 129 KB] in a sealed envelope to the appropriate visa office.
Provide all information and documents at the time of making your application.
To find out which visa office will serve you and for information on processing fees in other currencies and forms of accepted payment, consult the List of Countries and Corresponding Canadian Visa Offices. The website for each visa office includes directions on how to submit your application.
What happens next
An officer will assess whether you meet the requirements for a travel document. A decision will normally be made without a personal interview, based on your application, information and documents submitted. If your application is complete and you meet the requirements, you will be issued a travel document counterfoil in your passport.
The travel document is the only document that you will need from the visa office to meet the requirements for re-entry to Canada.
Travel document counterfoils are normally issued for a single entry to Canada. If you meet the residency obligation but are residing outside of Canada on a long-term basis (for example, if you are a permanent resident accompanying a Canadian citizen spouse), you may want to request a long-term multiple entry travel document. To do so, you should include a cover letter explaining your circumstances and requesting a multiple entry travel document. These can be issued for up to five years but cannot extend beyond the expiry date of your passport.
Once in Canada, you should apply for a permanent resident card. Unlike the travel document, the permanent resident card allows you to enter Canada multiple times without having to apply for a travel document each time. You can apply for a permanent resident card using the application kit Applying for a Permanent Resident Card (IMM 5445).
If your application for a travel document is refused, you will receive a refusal letter. The letter explains the reasons for the refusal and your appeal rights. If you decide to appeal a negative decision, follow the instructions in the “Notice of Appeal” form and the letter notifying you of your appeal rights enclosed with the refusal letter.
Appendix A – Photo specifications
TAKE THIS INFORMATION SHEET WITH YOU TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Provide two photos of yourself with your application.
Your photos must comply with the specifications below. If the photos do not meet the specifications, you will have to provide new photos before your application can be processed.
- The photos must be identical and taken within the last six months. They may be either black and white or colour.
- The photos must be clear, well defined and taken against a plain white or light-coloured background.
- If the photos are digital, they must not be altered in any way.
- Your face must be square to the camera with a neutral expression, neither frowning nor smiling, and with your mouth closed.
- You may wear prescription glasses as long as your eyes are clearly visible. Make sure that the frame does not cover any part of your eyes. Sunglasses are not acceptable.
- A hairpiece or other cosmetic accessory is acceptable if it does not disguise your normal appearance.
- If you must wear a head covering for religious reasons, make sure your full facial features are not obscured.
The frame size must be 35 mm X 45 mm (1 3/8″ X 1 3/4″).
The photos must show the full front view of the head, with the face in the middle of the photo, and include the top of the shoulders.
The size of the head, from chin to crown, must be between 31 mm (1 1/4″) and 36 mm (1 7/16″).
Crown means the top of the head, or (if obscured by hair or a head covering), where the top of the head or skull would be if it could be seen.
To avoid delays, make sure your photos meet these specifications.
How-to videoSave Time: Send a Complete Application
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