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If I get a 5-year ban am I able to return to Canada?

You may have heard stories of a distant relative or friend that travelled to Canada and was banned from returning for a certain period of time. After hearing these stories, you could be wondering if this a possibility, or how could you avoid this ban?

Today’s post will talk about the 5-year ban, but more specifically, removal orders. We will discuss the types of removal orders and what they mean for someone if they decide they want to travel to Canada again in the future.

Firstly, we need to address what the 5-year ban is. The 5-year ban is one of the possible consequences of misrepresentation. Misrepresentation includes lying or sending false information to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which is an offence under the Immigration Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Under IRPA, there are different reasons that a permanent resident or a foreign national is said to have misrepresented themselves. One of the reasons is by directly or indirectly misrepresenting or withholding material facts that create or could create an error in implementing the Act.

For example, being given a falsified document by a relative would be considered misrepresentation, even if you had no knowledge of this. This means that misrepresentation does not have to be willful or intentional in the case of indirect misrepresentation. Also, misrepresentation isn’t limited to lying or sending false information, it covers withholding information as well. For example, if you have a previous refusal for an immigration application and do not disclose this. This means that not including information that is important to your application can also be considered as misrepresentation.

If you have been found to misrepresent facts, your application can be refused which can result in inadmissibility due to misrepresentation.

In addition, IRCC may:

  • Prevent you from entering Canada for at least 5 years (i.e. the 5-year ban);
  • Give you a permanent record of fraud with the IRCC;
  • Take away your status as a permanent resident or Canadian citizen;
  • Have you charged with a crime; or
  • Remove you from Canada.

If you want to return to Canada before the 5-year ban is up, you will need to apply for an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC). An ARC is a document issued by the IRCC that will give you permission to enter Canada.

However, an ARC is not necessary for everyone. An ARC is not necessary at the port of entry or after they have entered Canada. The requirement of an ARC depends on the type of removal order that was given to you. When a foreign national is found to be inadmissible a removal order may be made. When a removal order is issued, depending on the situation, it may be effective immediately, or after a negative decision if an appeal has been made. Once a removal order takes effect, the individual must leave Canada immediately. If they fail to report for removal, the CBSA will issue a Canada-wide immigration warrant for their arrest and detention.

Types of Removal Orders

The type of removal order made depends on the ground of inadmissibility they are found to have violated. There are three types of removal orders; departure, exclusion, and deportation order.

A departure order must be issued when a permanent resident is found to be inadmissible to Canada because they have failed to comply with their residency obligations or any conditions of permanent residence. It’s generally issued for less serious violations of Canadian immigration law.

A departure order will require an individual to leave Canada within 30 days. At the time of their departure, they will need to notify CBSA officials at the port of entry before leaving and obtain a certificate of departure. If these steps are completed, then they will not require an ARC to return. They will be able to return to Canada in the future as long as they meet the entry requirements.

However, if they have not left Canada within 30 days, or they left but did not obtain a certificate of departure, the departure order will become a deportation order. This will require the individual to obtain an ARC, but we will talk more about deportation orders below.

An exclusion order is different from a departure order in that it prevents a foreign national from returning to Canada for a specific period of time, either for one or five years. A one-year ban is issued for a minor offence, like failing to appear for an examination. However, if the individual is inadmissible due to misrepresentation, they are given an exclusion order for 5 years. An ARC is required if the foreign national wants to return to Canada during the duration of the ban, and as we mentioned earlier, an ARC needs to be applied for. However, if the time period of either one or five years has passed, an ARC is not required.

A deportation order is issued for more serious offences, such as inadmissibility on the basis of serious criminality. As we mentioned earlier, if an individual is given a departure order but fails to leave before the given time period, the departure order will change into a deportation order. A deportation order permanently bars a foreign national from entering Canada in the future unless they obtain written consent. They will need to apply for an ARC. 

Applying for ARC

Before applying for an ARC, examine the reasons as to why you were issued a removal order and your current situation. For example, if you were given an exclusion order for overstaying your visit but are unable to prove strong ties to your home country and a reason for you to return home, the visa officer may not be convinced that you will respect the terms and conditions of your stay. You need to convince the officer that there is merit to your application. If the reasons that led to your removal order have not changed, it is less likely that you will receive permission to return.

If you are applying to come to Canada for reasons such as visitation, studying, working, or immigrating, do not submit a separate application for an ARC. If your application is approved, the ARC will be dealt with within the application, and you will be asked to pay the processing fee. The processing fee is not refundable regardless of the final decision that is made on your application. If your ARC application is refused and you choose to re-apply, you must pay a new processing fee.

While you are applying for a visa or permit to come to Canada, you need to include all the required documents with your application, including:

  • A Temporary Resident Visa application, fully completed online and validated to create the barcode page;
  • Two passport size photographs taken within the last six months;
  • A copy of your passport;
  • A written letter (in English or French) explaining in detail, the reasons you feel you should be allowed to return to Canada; and
  • The processing fee ($400).

The letter should also detail the difference in circumstances from your previous removal, and how they no longer apply to you. In addition, if your departure order became a deportation order because you did not leave Canada within 30 days, you will need to explain the reasons for not leaving within the given time. If you are sending any documents in a language other than English or French, you will also need to attach a certified translation of that document. Another important factor to keep in mind is removal costs. If the Government of Canada, at the time of your removal, paid the costs for the removal, you will not be allowed to return to Canada until these costs are paid back. If you have paid the costs, you will be made aware of this as your application is being processed.

When a visa officer examines your application, they will be looking at:

  • The reasons for the removal order;
  • The possibility that you will repeat the behaviour that caused the order to be issued;
  • The length of time since the order was issued;
  • Your current situation; and
  • The reason you want to enter Canada

It is important to remember that submitting an ARC application does not mean that an ARC will be issued to you. Also, incomplete or illegible applications will be returned without being processed.

A Final Word

We hope that after reading this article, you can see the importance of being truthful in immigration applications, as the consequences for misrepresentation can be very severe. Although it is not impossible to obtain an ARC, it is not easy.

Having a removal order issued means that to return, it will take more effort to convince the visa officer that the previous offence will not be committed again. This can be a burden, especially if you have pressing reasons to enter Canada. The time it will take to gather all the documents and submit your ARC application is an extra step, and preferably one that you would not have to encounter in your future. 

Should you have any questions about removal orders or if you qualify for an ARC, feel free to reach out to us and we will surely help you understand the options that are available to you!

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