Authorizations to Return to Canada (ARC)

If an individual has been the subject of a removal order from Canada, he or she will probably need an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) in order to re-enter the country. Whether an individual needs one depends on the type of removal order that was issued.

Types of removal orders:

1. Departure Order (form number IMM 5238)

a) If a Departure Order was issued and  an individual has

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

an ARC is not needed. Return to Canada is possible, subject to normal examination at the port of entry.

b) If an individual has left the country without verifying his/her departure, or more than 30 days after the Departure Order was issued, the Departure Order automatically becomes a Deportation Order and ARC becomes necessary (see point 3 below).

2. Exclusion Order (form number IMM 1214B)

a) If an Exclusion Order was issued and

  • 12 months have passed since an individual has left Canada and
  • Certificate of Departure (IMM 0056B) showing the date an individual left Canada has been obtained

an ARC is not needed. Return to Canada is possible, subject to normal examination at the port of entry.

b) If an individual wishes to return to Canada less than 12 months after the Exclusion Order was issued, or does not have a Certificate of Departure, he or she will need to apply for an ARC.

3. Deportation Order (form number IMM 5238B)

If an individual has been the subject of a Deportation Order, he or she will need to apply for an ARC.

Note: A Direction to Leave Canada (form number IMM1217B) is not a removal order.  If an individual has been the subject of a Direction to Leave Canada, he or she does not need to apply for an ARC.  Return to Canada is possible, subject to normal examination at the port of entry.

Issuance of an ARC is a highly subjective and discretionary decision that takes into account a number of assessment criteria, including (among other factors): history of compliance with prior CIC or CBSA directives; reasons for refusals on prior applications made inside Canada (especially for failed refugee claimants) as well as the nature of the need to return. It is important that detailed and persuasive submissions addressing all of these, and a number of other, factors are prepared (along with corroborative evidence). An advice of an experienced immigration lawyer is strongly recommended in all cases involving such ARC requests.