Travel outside of Canada

G5 sponsor survey

Please consider completing the CCR's survey if you have experiences linked to Groups of 5 Sponsors and Community sponsors.

Participating in this survey would allow us to better understand and learn from your experience and ideas, and take action to – we hope – improve the experiences of future G5 sponsors

Deadline: Thursday 14 November.

When a sponsored persons arrives in Canada, they are immediately given a status of permanent resident which allows them to travel freely within Canada. However, If they wish to travel outside of Canada, they will have to apply for a Refugee Travel Document, as well as follow certain tips to avoid problems during and after the trip.

Topics covered:

Re-entry into Canada with a permanent resident card

Refugee Travel Document

Loss of refugee status (cessation)


Re-entry into Canada with a permanent resident card

Permanent resident cards are required to be able to re-enter Canada. If a sponsored person would like to leave Canada, it is always best to wait until they have their permanent resident card. If that is not possible, they must find out if other documents could be presented instead, or if it is necessary to apply for a permanent resident travel document while they are abroad. See here for more information. 


Check to make sure that your permanent resident card will not expire while you are on your trip. It is possible to get a document while you are overseas, but it can be a hassle.


Refugee Travel Document

It is important that a person who has come to Canada through a refugee resettlement program no longer use their home country’s passport once they arrive in Canada as it could cause their status to be revoked (see below).

Sponsored persons arrive in Canada with a status of permanent resident. After fulfilling the necessary residency requirements, they are eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship and travel with a Canadian passport. As those who have obtained a refugee protection cannot travel with their own passport, and cannot get a Canadian passport right away, the government of Canada offers a Refugee Travel Document to bridge the gap.

A Refugee Travel Document can be used as a passport to travel to other countries. However, it is not the same as having a Canadian passport. Some countries which allow Canadians to enter visa-free require a visa from a sponsored person traveling with a Refugee Travel Document. It is the sponsored person’s responsibility to contact the consulate or embassy of the country where they would like to travel to check any visa requirements.

The processing time for the travel document can vary so it is recommended that a person refrain from making firm travel plans (ex. buying an airplane ticket) before receiving the document and obtaining any necessary visas.

To apply for a Refugee Travel Document fill out the application under ‘Travel document applications for stateless and protected persons in Canada’. See here for more information. 


Loss of refugee status (cessation)

Canada offers protection to refugees because they have shown that they are in danger in their home country. However, Canada has the right to remove someone’s refugee status if they believe that they accepted the protection of their home country (known as “re-availment”) after obtaining their refugee status in Canada.

This could happen if a person:

  • Travels to their home country (even for a short visit)
  • Travels using the passport of their home country
  • Apply for a new passport from their home country

If a sponsored person has done one of the above-mentioned things it may not automatically be a problem. It is up to the Canada Border Services Agency to decide which cases to pursue.

As this is a very serious issue, it is important that the sponsored person understand which actions to avoid. For more information please see the CCR summary of Basic Information about Cessation.