Authorization to return to Canada

Note: This information is for guidance and reference only. A decision on your admissibility can only be made when you apply to come to Canada or at a port of entry.

If you have been the subject of a removal order from Canada you will probably need an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) if you want to return. Whether you need one depends on the type of removal order that was issued. 

Find out about:

Types of removal orders

There are three types of removal orders.

Look at the document you received from Citizenship and Immigration Canada or the Canada Border Services Agency before you left Canada.  The form number will tell you the type of removal order. 

1. Departure Order (form number IMM 5238)

a) If you received a Departure Order and

  • left Canada within the required 30 days and
  • verified your departure with a Canadian immigration officer at the port of exit

you do not need an ARC. You may return to Canada subject to normal examination at the port of entry.

b) If you left the country without verifying your departure, or more than 30 days after the Departure Order was issued, the Departure Order automatically becomes a Deportation Order and you need to apply for an ARC (see point 3 below).

2. Exclusion Order (form number IMM 1214B)

a) If you were issued an Exclusion Order and

  • 12 months have passed since you left Canada and
  • you have a Certificate of Departure (IMM 0056B) showing the date you left Canada

you do not need an ARC. You may return to Canada subject to normal examination at the port of entry.

b) If you wish to return to Canada less than 12 months after the Exclusion Order was issued, or do not have a Certificate of Departure, you need to apply for an ARC.

3. Deportation Order (form number IMM 5238B)

If you have been the subject of a Deportation Order you will need to apply for an ARC.

Note: A Direction to Leave Canada (form number IMM1217B) is not a removal order.  If you have been the subject of a Direction to Leave Canada, you do not need to apply for an ARC.  You may return to Canada subject to normal examination at the port of entry.

Before you apply

Before applying, consider why you were issued an enforcement order, as well as your current situation. For example, if you were deported because you were working illegally in Canada, are not currently employed and cannot prove strong ties to your home country, the officer is unlikely to be satisfied that you would respect the terms and conditions of your stay in Canada.

If the circumstances that led to the removal order being issued have not changed, it is less likely that you will be given permission to return.

Note: if you were deported because of criminal inadmissibility, you will need to apply for criminal rehabilitation first. You may also need a Temporary Resident Permit to be allowed into Canada.

If you are applying to come to Canada for any reason, (visiting, studying, working or immigrating),you should not submit a separate application for an ARC. If your application is approved, the ARC will be dealt within the context of that application. You will simply be asked to submit the fee.

Processing fees are not refundable no matter what the final decision on your application is. If your application is refused and you decide you want to apply again, you will have to pay a new processing fee.

Note: If the Government of Canada spent money to remove you from the country, you will have to repay any costs before an ARC will be issued. If this is the case you will be advised once your application is in process.

How to apply

If you are not applying to come to Canada for any reason (for instance, if you plan to visit Canada but do not need a visa to enter), you should submit a separate application for an ARC.

Some visa offices have their own forms you need to use to apply. Please check the website of the visa office responsible for your region to see their requirements.

If the visa office does not have its own forms, you must include:

  • a Temporary Resident Visa application form, fully completed in 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. The letter must be written in block letters in black ink or typed.
  • the processing fee ($400 CAD).  Check the visa office website for payment instructions.

If your departure order became a deportation order because you did not leave Canada within 30 days of the day the departure order was issued, you must explain the reasons you did not leave Canada in the allotted amount of time.

If you are required to re-pay any costs related to your removal from Canada, you will be told the amount when your application is being processed.

If you must attend an interview or if additional documents are required, you will be notified in writing. You will also be notified in writing of the final decision in your case.

Note: If you send documents in a language other than English or French, you must include a certified translation.

Important information

When an officer assesses your application, they will consider, among other things:

  • 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
  • the reason why you want to enter Canada.

An incomplete or illegible application will be returned without being processed.

There is no guarantee that you will be issued an Authorization to Return to Canada.

Find out if you are eligible

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