Authorization to Return to Canada with a Criminal Record

Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) after a Removal Order

It is important to note that even if you receive an approved ARC, you can still be denied to Canada at the port of entry. 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 received a removal order from Canada, you will likely need an ARC to return. Whether you need one depends on the type of removal order that was issued. There are three types of removal orders: a Departure Order, an Exclusion Order, and a Deportation Order.

How to Determine if I Need an ARC

If you received a Departure Order and (1) left Canada within the required 30 days and,

(2) verified your departure with a Canadian immigration officer at the port of exit, you do not need an ARC. If you have complied it the above, you can return to Canada subject to normal examination at the port of entry. However, 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.

If you were issued an Exclusion Order and (1) 12 months have passed since you left Canada and, (2) you have a Certificate of Departure showing the date you left Canada, then you do not need an ARC. However, 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.

If you have been the subject of a Deportation Order you will need to apply for an ARC. Before you apply for the ARC, consider that even if you qualify for the ARC, it does not mean you be granted the ARC if you do not have a valid reason to return to Canada. Also, keep in mind that 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. If you were deported because of criminal inadmissibility, you will first need to apply for criminal rehabilitation. Additionally, you may need to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) to be granted entry into Canada.

How to Determine if I am Criminally Inadmissible

Americans need only a valid passport or permanent resident card to enter the country. However, those deemed criminally inadmissible will likely need to secure additional documents well in advance of their intended entry into Canada.

Foreign nationals must first determine if the crime(s) they’ve been convicted of is a federal criminal offense in Canada. For offenses such as underage drinking or possession of drug paraphernalia, which are not federal crimes in Canada, a passport will suffice to permit you into the country. For convicted offenses such as driving under the influence (DUI) or assault, which are seen as Canadian federal crimes, the convicted individual will need additional documentation to enter the country.

How to Travel to Canada if I am Deemed Criminally Inadmissible

One option to ensure you can travel through Canada is to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). Not to be confused with the temporary resident visa, a TRP will allow either single or multiple entry into Canada for those deemed criminally inadmissible. TRP applications are sent to the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles and can take anywhere from 4 – 6 months. The TRP application processing fee is $200 CAD. Alternatively, a TRP application can be brought directly at the Port of Entry if you are travelling by land, air, or sea and the application processing fee will be waived. The choice of location may impact the likelihood of your success, as well the processing time. If you choose to submit a TRP application at a Port of Entry, you can save yourself a great deal of time, as applications can be processed on the spot. For more information about applying for a TRP at the port of entry, see here. While the approval of the application is ultimately at the discretion of the immigration official, retaining the services of a Canadian immigration lawyer or immigration consultant will likely improve your chances of successfully obtaining a TRP.

While TRPs allow temporary entry to Canada, those who have completed the conditions of their sentence at least five years ago are also eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation, which is a more permanent solution to the problems associated with criminal inadmissibility. Criminal rehabilitation is an avenue explored by those seeking to permanently change their criminal status for the purposes of entering Canada. As this is a long-term solution, processing times for criminal rehabilitation can be considerably longer than they are for a TRP and can take over a year to be approved. As such, many clients are advised to also apply for a TRP when entry to Canada is needed in the near or immediate future. Additionally, processing fees for a Criminal Rehabilitation application range from $200 CAD to $1000 CAD depending on the severity of the case.

You should apply for an ARC at the same time you apply for the other necessary documents. If you are planning to enter 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.

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. Usually this happens if you do not have immediate plans to entering Canada.

For more information concerning criminal inadmissibility as well as a plethora of information pertaining to Canadian Immigration, please visit

At FWCanada, we are happy to offer free consultation to promptly provide honest assessment of your case and chances of success. As one of the leading immigration law firms in the country specializing in criminal inadmissibility, we have extensive experience handling a wide range of cases. We prioritize detailed review of each client’s case to optimize application approval.

Please call on our toll-free number: 1.855.316.3555 to ask all your burning questions and remedy confusions, because providing honest and accurate advice is our ethos.

FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration, follow FWCanada on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.