12/12/2014 10:09 EST | Updated 02/11/2015 05:59 EST

Andy Thomas's Permanent Resident Card renewal nightmare

A permanent resident in B.C. is worried he won't be able to return to Canada after visiting his sick mother in Grenada, because he hasn't received the permanent resident card that was supposed to be mailed to him months ago.

Andy Thomas, who lives in Enderby, has been a permanent resident in Canada for 15 years. He applied to have his card renewed in January of this year, and while his immigration lawyer told him his application went through, he never received the card.

Thomas' mother has cancer, and he has a flight booked later today to visit her and the rest of his family in Grenada. He needs the permanent resident card in order to be allowed back into Canada.

"It has been very frustrating for me and nerve-racking, not sleeping just stressed out," he told Daybreak South's Brady Strachan.

Thomas said he did reach an official from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) last month, who told him the card had been sent out, but to the wrong address. It was returned to a processing centre in Nova Scotia.

Thomas said he was told his card would be sent to him. 

When it didn't arrive a few weeks later, he called again. He said he was told the card wouldn't arrive until January, which wouldn't allow him to get the card in time to return from his holiday trip.

At this point, there was only a week left before his scheduled flight. He asked to have the card sent by priority mail, but was told that wasn't possible.

"It's already there. It's just to put it in a envelope and mail it out. I'm going to pay the extra cost, just to get it here. I was willing to fly wherever I could to get the card and pick-up the card," he said.

Thomas said he was told the processing centre in Nova Scotia that currently has his card isn't open to the public. 

The only option he was given was to apply for a  permanent resident travel document while in Grenada, at the Canadian Consulate in Trinidad. There's no guarantee this document would be approved before Jan 1st, when Thomas is scheduled to fly back to Canada.

Thomas can't miss his flight home, because he has to get surgery on his knee scheduled in January, following an accident.

After Citizenship and Immigration Canada was contacted by the CBC, the agency called Thomas and told him his card is now in the mail.

He still plans to make his flight today, and is trying to make arrangements for a friend to pick up the card, and have it mailed to him in Grenada.

Response from Citizenship and Immigration Canada

CIC sent this statement in response to Thomas' story:

On May 6, 2014, CIC sent the permanent resident card to the mailing address that Mr. Thomas indicated on his application. However, the permanent resident card was returned to CIC as “undeliverable.”

As mentioned on the application form, if the applicant provides a mailing address that is different from their residential addresses, CIC sends all correspondence to the mailing address provided by the applicant client. The mailing address listed in Mr. Thomas’ file is still the same address where the original PR card was sent as indicated on his application. 

CIC contacted Mr. Thomas yesterday. He confirmed that he would like his PR card sent to his residential address.  The card has been mailed out via expedited parcel.

If he must leave Canada before receiving his PR card, he can apply for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD) overseas to facilitate his re-entry. More information on PRTDs is available online.

The average processing time for applying for a permanent resident card is available on our website.

I apologize about the delay.

Thomas maintains the address he provided was correct, and the document was meant to go to his lawyer's office in Kelowna.

Thomas' lawyer wouldn't comment on the story.

To hear more about Andy Thomas' attempts to get his permanent resident card in time to leave the country, click the audio labelled: Andy Thomas' permanent resident card lost ahead of trip.