If you don’t have a Canadian address for PR card delivery, here’s what you can do while apartment hunting.
I’ve been a permanent resident of Canada for a few weeks now and I’ve been busy with a lot of things including starting a new job.
If you’re interested in how I went about securing a job so quickly, I’ll address that in a later post as it relates to my NOC.
When you arrive in Canada, you’re asked for an address at the airport by the immigration officer. This is for the delivery of your first PR card, which is free.
However, you don’t always have a delivery address due to a number of reasons.
You may be staying at a hotel or other short-term accommodation such as an Airbnb in my case.
When the officer asked about my address, I informed him it would change within a month so he gave me a form with a phone number highlighted.
He asked me to call the number with an updated address within 6 months. After 6 months, I would have to pay $50 for the card.
I could have used the Airbnb address but didn’t feel comfortable with that.
I wanted to be in a position to receive my PR card myself without using someone else’s address.
I would also need an address for a bunch of other things like a bank account and OHIP card and didn’t want the host to complain about receiving so much mail for me.
I set about trying to find an apartment so I could use that address but that soon turned into a nightmare when the phrase “credit check” popped up at every point.
I gave up on that after a few weeks and decided to use the UPS mailbox instead.
I had set up this mailbox for my business the week I arrived. However, before using the mailbox address, I did a couple of things first.
Link PR Card Application to myCIC Account Online
I linked my PR card application to my CIC account online. The system instantly updated with successful registration.
After linking my PR card application to myCIC account online, I went to the IRCC webform HERE.
This page is for making address changes and checking the status of your applications.
I updated the correct page with my UPS mailbox address, which the system accepted.
The system said my address would be updated within 5 days and that was it.
The next week, I received an update from my CIC account about the application.
It notified me it was underway and gave me an application number.
About 10 days afterward, I received another update notifying me my PR card had been issued and dispatched to my registered address.
The notification said it would take up to 6 weeks to arrive. However, after 7 days, I went to my mailbox and my PR card had already arrived!
From linking the card application online to receipt of the card took less than 4 weeks.
I have to say I was surprised as I expected it would take anything from 60 – 90 days based on all the comments I read online.
Whatever the reason it was issued so fast, it couldn’t have arrived at a better time.
I was looking at sublets and they were requesting identification since I didn’t have a credit report yet.
To summarize, it is possible to receive your PR card via the UPS mailbox as of May 2019. Here’s how to set up your UPS mailbox:-
How to Set Up UPS Mailbox in Canada
- Find out your nearest UPS store HERE.
- Send them an email telling them what you need. They’ll send you an application form, which requires a form of photo identification. I used my foreign driver’s license.
- Once approved, go into the store to make the payment and they’ll give you a copy of your mailbox key with the full address.
That’s it. Fast and simple. The mailbox cost $194 + tax.
What does the UPS Mailbox Address Look Like?
Your address will look something like Suite ####, Anywhere Address, City, Postal Code, Country. The address does not look like a P. O. Box number.
I believe you can also set up this mailbox before you arrive in Canada so you can give the address to the immigration officer at the airport.
I’m not sure how the payment would work in this case. You can speak to whichever UPS store you decide to use. They’re quite helpful.
A UPS mailbox is a bit expensive as I mentioned in my first days in Canada update.
However, I preferred receiving my PR card and other official documentation somewhere I had access to. I also use the mailbox for my business.
If you want a cheaper alternative, you can use a virtual or digital mailbox instead.
What’s a Virtual Mailbox?
A digital mailbox aka virtual mailbox is a service that receives all your incoming paper mail, scans, and sorts it.
After sorting, the mail is forwarded to you anywhere in the world for a small fee. You are provided with a specific mailing address to use as yours.
The service can also shred or discard the mail if required.
They will do whatever you request with your mail, which is managed through your user interface.
Cost of Virtual Mailbox
Virtual mailboxes offer different options for their services and your fee is calculated based on that.
There’s usually one fee to set up your mailbox and a fee for handling and forwarding every piece of mail. Some services also charge a monthly fee plus setup fee.
Pros and Cons of Virtual Mailbox
- You don’t have to go anywhere to pick up mail.
- Good if you’re unable to wait to receive your PR card and are only doing a soft landing.
- Great if you don’t know anyone in Canada and don’t have a permanent address yet.
- If you receive a lot of mail, it can get expensive even if grouped together before being forwarded to you. However, you can also instruct them to open the mail and scan the contents then send to you. There are charges for this.
- The address you’re given is not specific to you. It’s the same address everybody gets.
- Your mail may disappear somewhere along the line but this is rare.
Popular Virtual Mailbox Companies in Canada
- Anytime Mailbox – From C$ 9.99/month
- Canadian Address – C$ 9.99 set up fee, C$ 2+ postage for forwarding letters, C$ 10 + postage for packages
- eSnail – From C$ 25/month
I researched virtual mailbox options but realized it worked out better for me to have my own mailbox since I would also be using it for my business.
The more processes involved in getting your PR card to you, the more likely it is to get lost so think long and hard before using a virtual mailbox to receive your PR card.
If you’re comfortable with using a friend’s address, feel free to do that.
Alternatively, if you will be staying at your Airbnb for up to 3 months, you can use that address but probably check with the owners if they’re comfortable with it.
Otherwise, opt for the UPS mailbox. Fast, convenient, and secure. By the way, the UPS store can also forward your mail to you. Just ask them about it.
Can My PR Card Be Mailed Outside Canada?
No, IRCC definitely will not mail your PR card to an address outside Canada.
However, your mailing service or a friend can forward it to you upon receipt. There’s no guarantee it won’t get lost in the mail.
If your PR card gets lost while you’re outside Canada, you will have to apply for a PTRD (Permanent resident travel document) before you can return to Canada.
This process may present its own set of issues depending on your location.
Let me know if you have any questions about setting up a UPS mailbox in the comments section.
Abi has lived and worked abroad for over 13 years. She loves traveling, reading, and writing. She is a big believer in following your dreams and has been marching to the beat of her unconventional drums for a long time. Learn more about her HERE.
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