If I've Been Deported from the USA, Can I Go to Canada?

Last updated: 29 November 2023

how to enter canada if you have been deported from usa america

Anyone that was deported or ordered removed from the United States typically must remain outside of the country for either a five, ten, or 20-year period. 

A U.S. deportation will negatively impact all Canadian immigration applications, including those to work, study or reside. No matter the case, you will require permanent clearance from a Canadian consulate to ensure future travel into Canada. 

The Cohen Immigration Law Firm can assist in your efforts to enter the country. Simply complete our contact form and one of our experts will reach out to schedule a free consultation with you. 

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Because of the high volume of activity at their borders, both the United States and Canada share information on the criminal history of visitors at their ports of entry.

When a person tries to enter Canada from the United States, Canadian border agents have access to all prior U.S removal or deportation orders. This means that if you have been previously deported from the United States, Canadian officials will know, and you may not be allowed into Canada upon arrival at a port of entry.

Just like their American counterparts, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is responsible for ensuring the safety of all citizens within their borders. As such, they will likely treat individuals that have been deported with great caution.

Fortunately, there are ways to overcome criminal inadmissibility.

Ways to Overcome Criminal Inadmissibility

Traveling to Canada after a deportation from the U.S can be a complex process. However, there are ways for travelers to eventually arrive at their Canadian destination even if they have been deemed criminally inadmissible.

Certain mechanisms, such as a Canadian TRP (temporary resident permit) or a successful application for a certificate of criminal rehabilitation (see below), can get you where you need to go - provided you meet the eligibility criteria. One of the criteria for a criminal rehabilitation is a five year wait post after your original deportation order.

To successfully enter Canada, the Canadian government must also be satisfied that an applicant has shown signs of rehabilitation from the point their original removal order was processed, and furthermore, be satisfied that the applicant poses no risk to the well-being of Canadian society.

Without the assistance of a Canadian immigration lawyer or advice from CanadaVisa, you may have a much more difficult road ahead of you.

Criminal Rehabilitation Certificate

A certificate of criminal rehabilitation granted by the Canadian government is a permanent document that allows indefinite travel in and out of Canada. The Canadian government offers an application for criminal rehabilitation to certain people that would otherwise be inadmissible.

If you have been denied entry to Canada in the past, a CBSA officer may suggest a criminal rehabilitation application as a method to eliminate future denials. Once an applicant is approved for criminal rehabilitation, they no longer require a temporary resident permit.

If the reason you were deported from the U.S. was because of a criminal conviction, and if it has been more than five years since the completion of your sentence, you are likely eligible to apply for criminal rehabilitation in Canada.

How Can I Successfully Apply for a Criminal Rehabilitation Certificate?

The most crucial consideration of the application is establishing the equivalent offence in Canada for the purposes of your criminal rehabilitation. For example, some criminal acts can be considered less severe, whereas other convictions (ones that can be punished in Canada by a prison sentence of 10 years or more) are deemed “serious criminality.”

If a record of a past felony (or felonies) has resulted in a finding of serious criminality, a traveler will be subjected to additional scrutiny, longer waits, and higher processing costs ($1,148.87 CAD) from the Canadian government.

Applying for Criminal Rehabilitation with Serious Criminality

Individuals with a record deemed as “serious criminality” must apply for criminal rehabilitation to obtain access to Canada, no matter how much time has elapsed since completing their sentence.

The decisions of these applications are highly subjective, and they are made at the discretion of Canadian immigration officials. Individuals with serious criminality can never be deemed rehabilitated, but must instead apply for individual rehabilitation.

How Long Will It Take to Process my Criminal Rehabilitation Application?

The typical processing times are 6-12 months from the submission of your application.

Government Application Fee

A fee of $229.77 CAD applies to each criminal rehabilitation application submitted for non-serious criminality. A fee of $1,148.87 CAD applies to each criminal rehabilitation application submitted for serious criminality.

Have You Been Deported from Canada?

In some cases, a foreign national can be asked to leave Canada. Being “asked to leave” can refer to a number of measures the Canadian government takes to ensure a particular foreign national exits the country.

Very often, they need to apply for an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) in order to return legally. This is the formal way to ask the Canadian government for permission to re-enter the country, despite having previously been deported. Depending on the reason someone was asked to leave, an ARC may or may not be required.

In the majority of cases, an ARC is not a stand-alone application, meaning that the applicant cannot just submit an ARC application on its own. Instead, it is almost always associated with another application, and will be processed and reviewed in the context of that application.

Note: The only situation in which this would not be the case is if the applicant did not need a visa to come to Canada, for example if he or she is a citizen of a visa-exempt country. In this scenario, an ARC application can be submitted on its own. But if the applicant requires a visa to visit, study, or work in Canada, he or she does not need to make a separate ARC application, and will only be required to pay the associated fee of $459.55 CAD.

Being Asked to Leave: Various Different Orders

Departure Order

Individuals who receive a departure order must leave Canada within 30 days and verify their departure with an immigration officer. If the individual complies with these conditions, then he or she most likely will not not require an ARC. If the individual does not comply with the departure order from Canada, then the departure order becomes a deportation order (addressed below).

Exclusion Order

Individuals who receive an exclusion order need to wait 12 months from when they leave before they may apply to re-enter Canada; they must have a certificate of departure that confirms this amount of time has passed. If these conditions are satisfied, when the individual applies to re-enter Canada, he or she most likely will not require an ARC either. It is only if the individual seeks entry to Canada before the 12-month period has expired that an ARC would be needed.

Deportation Order

Individuals who receive a deportation order (as well as individuals who were initially issued a departure order that became a deportation order) require an ARC to re-enter Canada legally.

None of the orders mentioned above are to be confused with a Direction to Leave Canada, for which an ARC is not required. 

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