Understanding the Authorization to Return to Canada

In Canada, individuals who are deemed inadmissible to the country may be issued a departure order, an exclusion order, or a deportation order by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and/or the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

While receiving a departure order, exclusion order, or deportation order may seem to mark the end of an individual’s journey in Canada, the Canadian government offers a document called an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC). This document provides recipients of removal orders with the opportunity to potentially return to Canada in the future.

To comprehend ARCs, it’s essential to grasp Canada’s three distinct types of removal orders, listed below in order of severity:

Departure orders

When departure orders are issued, recipients are legally obligated to leave Canada within 30 days of when the order takes effect. As part of their obligations under a departure order, recipients must confirm their departure with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) upon reaching the port of exit.

Departure orders can escalate into deportation orders if the recipient fails to leave Canada within the designated 30-day period or neglects to confirm their departure with CBSA upon arrival at their port of exit. The implications of this progression, from departure to deportation order, will be discussed later.

Exclusion orders

Exclusion orders heighten the severity of departure orders by restricting the recipient’s ability to re-enter Canada, usually for a minimum of one year. However, individuals may face a ban from returning to Canada for up to five years if the initial exclusion order was issued due to misrepresentation. Moreover, if an exclusion order necessitates the CBSA to cover the cost of the individual’s removal from Canada, the excluded person is obligated to reimburse that amount to the CBSA.

Deportation orders

Deportation orders serve to permanently bar any recipient from returning to Canada unless they apply for an ARC (more on ARCs later). Similarly, any individual who has been deported and had their deportation costs covered by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) must repay the agency for any removal expenses. In the case of a deportation order, this repayment is essential for a deportee to be considered for re-entry into Canada, in addition to obtaining an ARC.

What is an Authorization to Return to Canada, and when would I need one?

An ARC is the sole means for deportation order recipients to be eligible for re-entry into Canada. Conversely, an ARC is unnecessary for re-entry if the issued removal order was a departure or exclusion order. Details regarding re-entry to Canada after receiving these two types of removal orders are as follows:

Individuals who receive a departure order, assuming they complied with the necessary procedures upon leaving Canada, “may return to Canada in the future [if they] meet the entry requirements at that time.” However, if an individual was initially issued a departure order that has subsequently escalated into a deportation order, an ARC would then be necessary if the person wished to return to Canada at a later date.

Returning to Canada’s most severe type of removal order, an ARC is invariably required when a Canadian deportee seeks re-entry into the country. In other words, irrespective of the circumstances surrounding any individual deportation, all recipients of deportation orders must apply for an ARC whenever they seek re-entry, regardless of the time that has elapsed since the order was issued

Details about ARCs

In all situations except for one, an ARC application must be submitted together with another application. This is because ARC applications are designed to be “processed and reviewed in the context of that other application.”

As an illustration, a recipient of an exclusion order might opt to submit an ARC application alongside a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) application, facilitating the simultaneous processing of both submissions.

The sole circumstance where an ARC can be processed separately is when the applicant does not need a visa to enter Canada. For instance, if an individual from Australia seeks entry to Canada, they would not require a visa as they are citizens of a visa-exempt country.

Instead, such a determination will entirely depend on the Canadian government and be contingent upon the specific circumstances of an individual’s situation.

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