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  • Writer's pictureImmergity Immigration Consultant

Authorization To Return To Canada

Authorization to Return to Canada

Key Takeaways

Key Point


Definition of ARC

An official document allowing barred individuals to enter Canada


Who needs an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC)

Application Context

Usually associated with another application, not standalone

Legal Framework

Governed by subsection 52(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)

Relevance to Specific Cases

Important for individuals with a deportation order or exclusion order

Definition: What is Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC)?

  • Concept: The Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) is a special permission granted to individuals who have been previously issued a removal order from Canada. This order could be a deportation order, an exclusion order, or a departure order.

  • Function: An ARC is not a stand-alone document but works in conjunction with other necessary Canadian visas or permits. It essentially lifts the legal barrier that prevents someone from returning to Canada due to a past removal order.

Purpose: Why is ARC required and in what circumstances?

  • Requirement After Removal: If an individual has been subject to a removal order from Canada, they are legally barred from returning unless they obtain an ARC. This applies regardless of whether they wish to return temporarily (e.g., for tourism, business, study) or permanently.

  • Circumstances Necessitating ARC:

  • Deportation Order: Individuals who were deported for any reason, such as criminal activity or misrepresentation, need an ARC to return.

  • Exclusion Order: If someone was asked to leave Canada (e.g., overstaying a visa or failing to comply with the terms of their admission), they usually need an ARC to come back, particularly if they wish to return before the specified period on their exclusion order has elapsed.

  • Departure Order Violations: If a person did not comply with a departure order (like not leaving Canada within the required time), an ARC becomes necessary.

  • Exceptions: There might be exceptions where an ARC is not required, depending on the type and circumstances of the previous removal order.

Legal Basis: The legal framework underpinning ARC within Canadian immigration law

  • Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA): This act is the cornerstone of Canadian immigration law and outlines the procedures and regulations for entering Canada. The provisions for ARC fall under this legislative framework.

  • Regulatory Details: Specific regulations under IRPA detail the criteria, process, and requirements for obtaining an ARC. These regulations take into account factors like the nature of the initial removal, the applicant’s current situation, and the reasons for wanting to return to Canada.

  • Policy Changes and Interpretations: The application and interpretation of these laws can evolve. Changes in immigration policies, case law, and societal needs can influence how ARC applications are assessed and granted.

  • Role of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC): This government body is responsible for implementing immigration policies, including those related to ARC. They assess applications, make decisions, and issue guidance on ARC procedures.

Who Needs to Apply for ARC?

Individuals with a Past Removal Order:

People who have been issued a removal order from Canada, such as a deportation order, an exclusion order, or a departure order, typically need to apply for an ARC if they wish to return.

Types of Removal Orders:

  • Deportation Order: If you were deported from Canada for any reason, such as criminal convictions or misrepresentation, you generally need an ARC to return.

  • Exclusion Order: If you received an exclusion order, for instance, for overstaying a visa or failing to comply with the conditions of your stay, you would usually require an ARC to re-enter Canada, especially if you want to return before the period specified in the exclusion order has elapsed.

  • Departure Order: If you did not comply with a departure order (e.g., failing to leave Canada within the required timeframe), an ARC is necessary for re-entry.

Specific Scenarios or Conditions Necessitating ARC

  1. Criminal Convictions: Individuals deported due to criminal convictions in Canada often need an ARC to return.

  2. Immigration Violations: Overstaying a visa or violating other immigration laws can lead to a requirement for ARC for future entry.

  3. Misrepresentation: Being removed for providing false information or omitting crucial details on immigration applications typically necessitates an ARC.

  4. Non-Compliance with Orders: Failure to comply with any terms of a Canadian immigration order, like a departure order, usually results in the need for an ARC.

Type of Order


ARC Requirement

Key Considerations

Deportation Order

Issued for serious reasons like criminality, security, violating human or international rights, or serious misrepresentation.

Always required for re-entry, regardless of the time that has passed since the order.

The severity of the reason for deportation impacts the likelihood of ARC approval.

Exclusion Order

Given for less serious breaches, such as overstaying a visa, working or studying without proper permits, or misrepresentation that is not considered serious.

Required if re-entry is sought before the end of the specified period (usually 12 months). After this period, ARC may not be required.

Factors like the duration since the order, reason for exclusion, and current circumstances are considered.

Departure Order

Issued to individuals asked to leave Canada, usually when they have overstayed their welcome but have not necessarily committed serious offences.

Required if the individual did not comply with the terms of the order (e.g., did not leave Canada within 30 days).

Compliance with the original departure order significantly affects the need for an ARC.

Exemptions: When ARC is Not Required Despite Prior Deportation

  1. Completion of Exclusion Period: If you received an exclusion order and the specified time period has passed, you might not need an ARC. For example, a 12-month exclusion period means you can return to Canada after a year without needing an ARC, provided there are no other reasons for inadmissibility.

  2. Compliance with Departure Order: If you complied with a departure order (left Canada within the required timeframe) and did not have a previous deportation or exclusion order, you may not need an ARC.

  3. Rehabilitation or Pardon: In cases of criminal inadmissibility, if you have been rehabilitated or received a pardon, the need for an ARC might be waived.

  4. Changes in Circumstances: In some cases, significant changes in circumstances or the passage of a considerable amount of time since the removal might affect the need for an ARC.

When and Where to Apply for an Authorization to Return to Canada

An Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) is not something you apply for while leaving Canada, whether at an airport, land, or sea border. The ARC application process is for individuals who have already been removed from Canada or have left the country following a removal order, and now wish to return. Here's how it generally works:

Application Before Returning: If you've been subject to a removal order from Canada and want to return, you must apply for an ARC from outside Canada. This application is usually made in conjunction with a visa application (if a visa is required for your nationality) or a permit application if you intend to study or work in Canada.

Application Process:

You typically submit the ARC application to a Canadian visa office or through the online portal provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), depending on your specific situation.

The application must include reasons for the request to return to Canada, evidence of change in circumstances, or proof that you meet the conditions for re-entry.

Assessment and Decision:

Canadian immigration authorities will review your application, considering factors such as the reason for your removal, your current situation, and the purpose of your intended visit to Canada.

The decision to grant an ARC is discretionary and based on whether the authorities are satisfied that the reasons for your previous removal have been adequately addressed.

Timing of Application:

It’s important to apply well in advance of when you wish to return to Canada, as processing times can vary. If the ARC is granted, it will accompany your visa or permit, allowing you to legally re-enter Canada.

Where to Apply:

Applications are not made at border points but through official channels, either at Canadian embassies, consulates, or online.

Attempting to return to Canada without an ARC (if one is required) can result in being denied entry at the border.

The Application Process for ARC

The application process for an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) is a structured procedure that requires careful attention to detail. Here's an overview covering the steps, documentation, fees, and processing times:

Detailed Steps of the ARC Application Process

  1. Assessing the Need for ARC: Determine if you require an ARC based on your past immigration history and type of removal order.

  2. Gathering Documentation: Collect all necessary documents that support your application. This includes proof of your identity, details of your previous stay in Canada, and the reasons for your removal.

  3. Completing Application Forms: Fill out the required application forms, which may include standard immigration forms depending on your reason for returning (e.g., tourist, student, worker).

  4. Writing a Letter of Explanation: Prepare a detailed letter explaining why you were removed from Canada, the changes in your circumstances since then, and why you should be allowed to return.

  5. Submitting the Application: Submit the application and all accompanying documents to the relevant Canadian visa office or through the online system, if applicable.

  6. Paying Fees: Pay the applicable processing fee for the ARC application.

  7. Awaiting Decision: After submission, your application will be reviewed by immigration officials who will decide on your ARC request.

  8. Providing Additional Information if Requested: Be prepared to provide additional information or attend an interview if requested by the immigration authorities.

  9. Receiving the Decision: You will be notified of the decision. If approved, the ARC will be issued along with any other necessary immigration documents (like a visa).

Required Documentation and Evidence

  • Proof of Identity: Passport or travel documents.

  • Removal Order Documentation: Copies of the original removal order and any related documents.

  • Letter of Explanation: Detailed letter outlining the reasons for the previous removal, changes since then, and the purpose of return.

  • Supporting Documents: Evidence of ties to your home country, proof of employment or education in Canada, etc.

  • Any other documents required by the specific visa or permit application.

Fees Associated with the ARC Application

  • Application Fee: There is a non-refundable processing fee of C$400.00 for the ARC application. This fee is in addition to any other fees required for visa or permit applications.

  • Possible Additional Costs: If you enlist the services of an immigration lawyer or consultant, there will be additional costs.

Processing Times and Expectations

  • Variable Processing Times: The processing time for an ARC application can vary widely depending on the complexity of the case, the workload at the processing office, and the completeness of the application.

  • No Guarantee of Approval: Even if all steps are followed and fees are paid, approval is not guaranteed. Each application is assessed on its own merits.

Criteria Used by Canadian Immigration Officials in Assessing ARC Applications

When assessing Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) applications, Canadian immigration officials consider a range of factors. These decisions are highly individualized and based on the specifics of each case.

1.   Reason for Previous Removal:

Immigration officials closely examine the reasons behind the applicant's previous removal from Canada. The nature and severity of the infraction (e.g., criminal activity, immigration fraud) are key considerations.

2.  Compliance with Past Orders:

How the applicant complied with the terms of their removal (e.g., leaving Canada within the stipulated time) is critically assessed.

3.  Changes Since Removal:

Officials look for significant changes in the applicant's circumstances since their removal that might support their case for re-entry.

4.  Risk Assessment:

The likelihood of the applicant repeating the behaviors that led to their removal is evaluated.

5. Overall Conduct and Character:

General behavior, including any criminal history or community involvement, is considered to assess the character of the applicant.

Importance of the Applicant's Immigration History and Reasons for Previous Removal

  • Use Case Scenario: Consider an individual who was removed for overstaying a visa. If they subsequently demonstrate a history of complying with immigration laws in other countries, this might positively influence the decision. Conversely, a history of repeated immigration violations in different jurisdictions could lead to a negative assessment.

Role of Individual Circumstances

Family Ties in Canada:

  • Strong family connections in Canada, such as a spouse or children, can positively influence the decision.

  • Use Case Scenario: An individual who has children or a spouse who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents may be viewed more favorably, as this establishes a strong personal reason for their return.

Employment or Educational Opportunities:

  • Having a job offer in Canada or being accepted into a Canadian educational institution can be beneficial.

  • Use Case Scenario: A skilled worker with a job offer in a field where there is a shortage of Canadian workers could have a stronger case for an ARC.

Rehabilitation and Personal Development:

  • Evidence of rehabilitation, especially after criminal removals, is crucial. This might include completing a rehabilitation program or community service.

  • Use Case Scenario: An individual removed due to criminal activity who has since undergone rehabilitation and can demonstrate a clean record and community involvement may have a strengthened application.

Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds:

  • Special situations, such as needing medical treatment available only in Canada, can be a factor.

  • Use Case Scenario: An individual needing specialized medical treatment in Canada, unavailable in their home country, might be granted an ARC on compassionate grounds.

Legal and Regulatory Framework

Examination of Relevant Canadian Immigration Laws and Regulations Governing ARC

Basic Understanding:

  • Canada's immigration laws are outlined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). This Act provides the guidelines for who can enter and stay in Canada.

  • The ARC falls under these laws. It's a special permission for people who were previously ordered to leave Canada and now want to return.

Specific Regulations for ARC:

  • Within IRPA, there are specific rules about the ARC. These rules detail who needs an ARC, how to apply, and what Canadian immigration officers look at when deciding on an ARC application.

  • For example, if someone was asked to leave Canada (say, for overstaying their visa), and they want to come back, they need to apply for an ARC.

Potential Impact of Recent Changes in Immigration Policy on ARC Applications

  • Adapting to Changes:

  • Immigration policies can change due to various reasons – political shifts, social needs, or even international relations.

  • These changes can affect how ARC applications are processed. For instance, if Canada decides to become stricter on immigration, getting an ARC might become harder.

Challenges and Considerations

Common Challenges Faced by Applicants

Navigating Complexity:

  • Understanding and following the complex legal requirements can be daunting. Many applicants struggle with the intricacies of the application process.

Gathering Documentation:

  • Collecting the right documents, especially if you're not in Canada, can be challenging. This includes paperwork from your past in Canada, like the details of your removal.

Convincing Immigration Officers:

  • It's not just about filling out forms. You need to convince the officers that you deserve to return, which requires a strong and clear argument.

Strategies to Enhance the Likelihood of Approval

Complete and Accurate Applications:

  • Ensure all your forms are filled out correctly and you've included all necessary documents. Mistakes or missing information can lead to rejection.

Strong Explanation Letter:

  • Write a compelling letter explaining why you were removed, what's changed since then, and why you should be allowed back.

Evidence of Change or Ties to Canada:

  • Provide evidence of any changes since your removal (like rehabilitation, if you were removed for criminal reasons) or strong ties to Canada (like family or job offers).

The Role of Legal Advice or Representation in the Application Process

  • Seeking Professional Help:

  • Immigration lawyers or consultants understand the law and can guide you through the process. They know what information is crucial and how to present your case effectively.

  • They can also keep you updated on any policy changes and how these might affect your application.

Steps Following ARC Approval

  1. Receiving Official Documentation: Once your ARC is approved, you will receive official documentation. This could be a letter, a visa, or a permit, depending on your situation.

  2. Planning Your Return to Canada: You can now plan your travel back to Canada. This should be in line with the purpose of your visit as stated in your application (e.g., work, study, family reunification).

  3. Arriving in Canada: Upon arrival, you will have to go through Canadian customs and immigration. Here, you will need to present your ARC along with any other relevant documents.

  4. Complying with Immigration Requirements: Ensure you comply with the specific terms of your entry. This might include the duration of your stay, the purpose of your visit, and any reporting requirements.

Conditions or Restrictions That Might Be Imposed on Returnees

  1. Limited Duration of Stay: Your stay in Canada might be limited to a certain period, especially if your entry is for a specific purpose like studying or temporary work.

  2. No Further Violations: You will be expected to strictly adhere to Canadian laws and immigration regulations. Any violation could lead to another removal and complicate future attempts to enter Canada.

  3. Reporting Requirements: In some cases, you might be required to report to immigration officials or police, particularly if your removal was due to criminal reasons.

Long-Term Implications of Receiving ARC on Future Immigration Applications or Status in Canada

  1. Impact on Future Applications: Successfully obtaining and complying with an ARC can positively impact your future immigration applications, as it demonstrates adherence to Canadian laws.

  2. Potential Pathways to Permanent Residency: Depending on your circumstances (e.g., employment, family ties), having an ARC and staying in Canada without issues could potentially open pathways to permanent residency.

  3. Record of Removal: It's important to note that the record of your initial removal from Canada will still exist. While an ARC allows re-entry, it doesn't erase history. Future immigration officials may still consider this past when assessing applications.

  4. Building a Positive Immigration History: Following your ARC approval, maintaining a clean immigration record is crucial. Adhering to the terms of your stay and Canadian laws can strengthen your profile for any future immigration endeavors.

In essence, the post-approval phase of an ARC is about maintaining compliance with Canadian immigration laws and leveraging the opportunity to build a positive immigration history. Adherence to any imposed conditions or restrictions is vital, not just for the duration of your current stay, but for any future aspirations you might have in Canada, be it extended stays, repeated entries, or permanent residency.

Difference between TRP and ARC

The Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) and Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) are two distinct entities in Canadian immigration law, each serving a different purpose and catering to different circumstances.

Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)

  1. Purpose: A TRP is issued to individuals who are otherwise inadmissible to Canada for reasons such as health, security, or criminality but have a valid reason to travel to Canada. It's a temporary waiver of inadmissibility.

  2. Use Case: For example, a person with a criminal record (like a DUI conviction) who would normally be barred from entering Canada might be issued a TRP if they need to travel to Canada for a business conference.

  3. Duration and Conditions: TRPs are issued for a specific period, which can range from a single entry for a few days to multiple entries over a few years. The permit outlines the length of stay and any conditions.

  4. Application Process: Applicants need to demonstrate significant reasons to be granted entry into Canada despite their inadmissibility. The decision to issue a TRP is discretionary and based on the assessment of the applicant's need to enter Canada versus the potential risks to Canadian society.

Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC)

  1. Purpose: An ARC is specifically for individuals who have been previously issued a removal order from Canada. It's required if they wish to return to Canada, regardless of whether they are otherwise admissible or inadmissible.

  2. Use Case: If someone was deported from Canada due to overstaying their visa and now has a job offer in Canada, they would need an ARC to return, even if they do not have any other grounds of inadmissibility.

  3. Focused on Past Removal: Unlike the TRP, which is about current inadmissibility, the ARC is focused on past removals. It essentially gives permission to reapply for entry into Canada.

  4. Application Process: The application involves explaining the circumstances of the previous removal, changes since then, and reasons for wishing to return. The decision to issue an ARC considers whether the reasons for the past removal have been addressed.

Key Differences

  • Focus: TRP is about current inadmissibility; ARC is about past removal from Canada.

  • Eligibility: TRP applicants are currently inadmissible for various reasons; ARC applicants have been previously removed from Canada.

  • Objective: TRP allows temporary entry despite inadmissibility; ARC allows re-application for entry after a removal order.

In summary, while both TRP and ARC deal with overcoming barriers to enter Canada, they cater to different types of barriers – TRP for current reasons of inadmissibility and ARC for past instances of removal from Canada.

Navigating Complex Immigration Scenarios

Navigating the complexities of Canadian immigration law, especially concerning ARC, can be challenging. It's crucial to understand how an ARC fits into broader immigration scenarios, such as maintaining legal status in Canada, extending visitor visas, or dealing with criminal inadmissibility issues.

For individuals looking to extend their stay in Canada, understanding the process of visitor visa extension is vital. Similarly, those who need to renew their status or understand the nuances of maintained status in Canada can find valuable information on understanding maintained status in Canada.

In cases where criminal inadmissibility is a concern, exploring options for overcoming this barrier is crucial. The criminal inadmissibility page provides insights and guidance for those facing such challenges.

Additionally, for individuals with a past removal order, understanding the implications and pathways for return is essential. Information on removal orders offers a comprehensive overview of this aspect.

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