What is an Authorization to Return to Canada?

Authorization to Return to Canada

What is an Authorization to Return to Canada?

In Canada, individuals deemed inadmissible to the country may receive one of three orders from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and/or the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA): a departure order, an exclusion order, or a deportation order.

Although receiving one of these orders might suggest the end of an individual’s time in Canada, the Canadian government provides a document known as an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC). This document offers those subject to a removal order the possibility of returning to Canada at a later date.

Understanding ARCs necessitates a fundamental grasp of Canada’s three distinct types of removal orders, which are delineated below in ascending order of severity.

  • Departure orders:

Departure orders mandate that the recipient must exit Canada within 30 days of the order’s effective date, as stipulated by law. Upon departure, individuals are obligated to confirm their exit with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at the port of exit.

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Note: Departure orders may escalate to deportation orders if the recipient fails to depart Canada within the specified 30-day period or neglects to confirm their departure with CBSA upon exiting. The repercussions of such progression, transitioning from a departure to a deportation order, will be elaborated upon subsequently.

  • Exclusion orders:

Exclusion orders escalate the severity of departure orders by imposing restrictions on the recipient’s ability to re-enter Canada, typically for a minimum of one year. In cases of misrepresentation, individuals may face exclusion from Canada for up to five years. Additionally, if the exclusion order necessitates the CBSA’s financial assistance for the individual’s removal from Canada, repayment of these costs to the agency is mandatory.

  • Deportation orders:

Deportation orders permanently prohibit the recipient from returning to Canada unless they apply for an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) (further details on ARCs will be provided later). Furthermore, individuals who have had their deportation expenses covered by the CBSA must reimburse the agency for these costs. Repayment of removal expenses is a prerequisite for deportees seeking re-entry into Canada, in addition to obtaining an ARC.

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

An Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) is essential for individuals who have been issued a deportation order if they wish to be considered for re-entry into Canada. However, for individuals subject to departure or exclusion orders, an ARC is not required for re-entry under certain conditions. Here are the details regarding re-entry to Canada after receiving departure or exclusion orders:

  • Departure orders: Individuals who receive departure orders and comply with the required departure procedures can potentially return to Canada in the future if they meet the entry requirements at that time. However, if a departure order evolves into a deportation order, an ARC becomes necessary for re-entry into Canada.
  • Exclusion orders: Recipients of exclusion orders may require an ARC only if they intend to return to Canada before the conclusion of their exclusion period, which typically ranges from one to five years based on the circumstances of their order.

For individuals facing Canada’s most severe type of removal order, deportation, an ARC is mandatory for re-entry regardless of the circumstances surrounding the deportation. In essence, all recipients of deportation orders must apply for an ARC whenever seeking re-entry, regardless of the duration since the order was issued.

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  • Details about ARCs:

Here are the details regarding Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC):

  • Processing Fee: An ARC application requires a processing fee of $400 CAD. More information on ARC application steps can be found on the Canadian government’s website.
  • Accompanying Application: In most cases, an ARC application must accompany another application. This is because ARC applications are intended to be processed and reviewed together with another application.
  • Example: For instance, an individual subject to an exclusion order may submit an ARC application along with a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) application, ensuring that both submissions are processed simultaneously.
  • Exception: The only circumstance under which an ARC can be processed independently is when the applicant does not require a visa to enter Canada. For instance, citizens of visa-exempt countries like Australia may apply for an ARC on its own.
  • Discretionary Nature: It’s important to note that the decision to grant an ARC is discretionary and circumstantial. There’s no guarantee that an individual with a removal order will be granted an ARC. The decision rests solely with the Canadian government and is based on the specific circumstances of each case.

For instance, the case of Adina Harms-Barbour, a German citizen facing deportation for serious criminality despite living in Canada since childhood, highlights the discretionary nature of ARC decisions.

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