Can Deported Immigrants Return to Canada?

Key Takeaways:

  • With a Deportation Order, an individual is permanently barred from returning to Canada unless they apply for an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC).
  • If deported from Canada, an individual will need to apply for an ARC to legally return.
  • Those deported due to criminal inadmissibility must apply for criminal rehabilitation before applying for an ARC.
  • A deportation from the USA will negatively impact Canadian immigration applications.


Being deported from Canada can seem like a definitive end to one’s time in the country. However, in some cases, it may be possible for previously deported immigrants to legally return to Canada. This article will comprehensively evaluate the options and processes surrounding a deported immigrant’s ability to re-enter Canada.

Specifically, it will analyze the requirements and steps involved in obtaining Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) and criminal rehabilitation. The value of this information is that it provides clarity for deported individuals on whether they may be able to legally return to Canada. It also highlights key considerations surrounding the impact of deportation from the USA on Canadian immigration prospects.

Through an in-depth look at policies, procedures, and expert insights, readers will discover the criteria under which a deported immigrant can regain entry to Canada. This includes essential context on navigating deportation orders and charges of criminal inadmissibility. Ultimately, the article aims to help determine if and how a deported immigrant may be permitted to return to Canada.

Does a Deportation Order Permanently Ban Someone From Canada?

With a Deportation Order, an individual is generally barred from returning to Canada unless they specifically obtain authorization. According to section 52(1) of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), deportation orders come with a permanent admissibility bar on entering Canada.

However, the IRPA does outline a process for deported individuals to apply for special permission to return to Canada, known as Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) [1]. So while a deportation order prevents automatic re-entry, it does not necessarily permanently ban someone when the proper authorization is obtained.

What is an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC)?

An Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) is a special permit that may allow a previously deported individual to lawfully enter and stay in Canada [2]. It temporarily overrides the enforceable removal order against the person.

To be approved for an ARC, the applicant typically needs to demonstrate a compelling reason to enter Canada. This often involves important family-related, humanitarian or employment-related grounds. An ARC application requires providing extensive background details, finger-prints, medical certificates and police certificates of good conduct [3].

If issued, an ARC is generally valid for a limited period ranging from a few days to a few years. The authorization may also place restrictions on what parts of Canada the person can access. Depending on the reasons for deportation, approval rates for ARCs can vary. But overall, ARCs provide a regulated process for certain deported individuals to regain entry for justified purposes.

Can Someone Deported from Canada Return Without an ARC?

If an individual has been the subject of a Deportation Order and was ultimately deported from Canada, they will need to apply for and be approved for an ARC to return legally [4].

Without an ARC, a deported individual risks being denied entry at the border or could face criminal charges for violating their deportation order if they do return to Canada [5]. There are generally no exceptions that allow deported persons to re-enter Canada without authorization.

Some deported individuals have managed to unlawfully return to Canada by entering without inspection from the U.S. or using false documentation. However, this leaves them at perpetual risk of being detected and re-deported. Obtaining an ARC is the only way to formally regain status and legally re-enter Canada after a deportation.

What If Someone Was Deported Due to Criminality?

If an individual was deported from Canada due to criminal inadmissibility, the process for returning becomes more complex. In addition to obtaining an ARC, they must also apply for individual criminal rehabilitation before the authorization can be issued [6].

Criminal rehabilitation is a formal process involving a detailed application to the Canadian government outlining why the person should be considered rehabilitated and no longer inadmissible [7]. Factors like sentence completion, time elapsed since offense, and evidence of good behaviour are considered.

The rehabilitation application process can take over a year in many cases and requires obtaining police records and other supporting documents. Permanent residents and foreign nationals seeking to return to Canada after deportation due to crime must successfully complete criminal rehabilitation before they can be approved for an ARC permitting re-entry.

How Does Deportation from the USA Affect Canadian Immigration?

It’s important to note that deportation or removal from the United States can also severely limit an individual’s admissibility to Canada. This is because Canada shares immigration data with the U.S. and may consider a U.S. deportation as evidence that someone poses risk or is otherwise undesirably [8].

If deported from the U.S., an individual may face extensive difficulties if applying for a Canadian visitor or work visa, attempting to immigrate as a permanent resident, or pursuing any other Canadian immigration pathway [9]. At minimum, applicants will need to explain the reasons for U.S. deportation. But in many cases, U.S. deportation leads to automatic visa denial in Canada.

While a U.S. deportation does not lead to an enforceable removal order from Canada, it can essentially shut down any pending or future Canadian immigration applications. Allowances for rehabilitation after U.S. deportation are much more restricted compared to after a Canadian deportation. For those deported from the U.S., pursuing Canadian immigration options becomes extremely challenging.

Can I Appeal or Fight a Canadian Deportation Order?

Individuals issued a Deportation Order by Canada do have some options to legally appeal or challenge the removal order [10]. This may include:

  • Appealing to the Immigration Appeal Division within 30 days, arguing the deportation was unreasonable or unfair.
  • Applying for judicial review of the deportation decision within 15 days, potentially leading to a stay of the removal order.
  • Requesting pre-removal risk assessment if fearing persecution in country of origin.
  • Seeking a deferral of removal due to medical infirmity or other factors making travel improper.

However, filing an appeal does not always guarantee the deportation order will be reversed. Success rates are generally low. Consulting an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer is advisable when seeking to appeal a deportation.

Overturning a deportation order through an appeal can allow an individual to formally remain in Canada. But if unsuccessful, dealing with the deportation order through ARC or rehabilitation applications would remain necessary to eventually re-enter Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I return to Canada if I voluntarily left after receiving a deportation order?

No, voluntarily leaving Canada after receiving a deportation order does not invalidate the order. Since a deportation order bars re-entry, you would still need to apply for an ARC to legally return even if you left willingly.

What if my deportation order was issued in absentia because I was already outside Canada?

Deportation orders can still be enforceable even if you were not physically present when issued. As long as you were legally notified of your removal proceedings, any resulting deportation order would still require applying for an ARC to return to Canada.

Can I get permanent resident status back if I had it before being deported?

Regaining permanent resident status after deportation is complex and uncertain. In some cases, deported former permanent residents can include applying for permanent residence reinstatement as part of their ARC request. However, approval likelihood tends to be very low.

Is there a minimum time I need to wait after deportation before applying for an ARC?

No set minimum time applies across the board. However, the circumstances and reasons for deportation are considered when assessing ARC eligibility. More time elapsed since deportation can demonstrate evidence of rehabilitation.

Can I visit Canada as a tourist if I have a U.S. deportation?

It is very unlikely you would be approved for tourist status in Canada if previously deported from the U.S. Exceptions may be made in humanitarian cases, but a U.S. deportation generally leads to automatic rejection of Canadian visitor visas.


Deportation from Canada or the United States presents major obstacles to legally regaining entry. For those deported from Canada, obtaining advance authorization provides the only formal path to lawful return. This requires detailed applications, assessments of rehabilitation, and exercising patience through lengthy processing times. While certainly difficult, options like ARCs do offer some deported individuals the possibility of properly entering Canada again for justified reasons. The key is understanding the stringent requirements and procedural steps involved.




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