Documents Needed for ARC

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Authorization to Return to Canada ARC

Have you been given a removal order from the government of Canada? Are you outside of Canada and looking to return? In instances of removal orders, there is still a way in which you would be able to return. This is to apply for an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) document. If your application is granted, this document will give you permission to return to Canada.

Types of Removal Orders

Before applying for an ARC, it is important to verify that you should be applying for this particular document. The need for an ARC is dependent on the removal order you received. There are three specific types of removal orders, which include: a departure order, an exclusion order, or a deportation order. Removal orders will be given to you in the form of a document, sent from either Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) or Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). This document will have a form number, which will tell you what type of removal order you received since this number will correspond to one of them.

Departure Order

A Departure Order has a form number of IMM 5238 and gives you a specified date. You are expected to leave Canada within thirty days of this specified date. If you have done so, and verified your departure at the port of exit with the immigration officer, then you will not need to apply for an ARC. Rather, you may re-enter Canada as you please and be subject to normal examination at the port of entry. This does not guarantee that you will be granted entry to Canada; ensure that you have the proper documentation with you as you would with any re-entry to Canada. However, there is a different procedure if you did not comply properly with your thirty-day departure. This could be if you did not verify your departure at the port of exit or if you left after more than the allotted time of thirty days. In this case, your departure order would automatically change to become a deportation order and you would need to apply for an ARC.

Exclusion Order

The second type of removal order is an Exclusion Order, which mandates that the recipient of the order must leave Canada and may not return for one year. This order has a form number of IMM 1214B. If this is the removal order you were given and you complied with the one year exit as well as have a Certificate of Departure with the date you left Canada, you will not need an ARC. Rather, you may re-enter Canada after the one-year period is over and be subject to a normal examination at the port of entry. Again, this does not guarantee entry to Canada; ensure you have adequate documentation specific to your situation. If you need to enter Canada before the one-year period is finished or if you do not have a Certificate of Departure, you will need to apply for an ARC.

Deportation Order

The final kind of removal order is a Deportation Order, which has the form number of IMM 5238B. These orders are issues for serious offences or for individuals who have no status in Canada (eg. Legal status failed). They can also be issued if an individual fails to comply with their departure order. The deportation order has a specified date by which the recipient of the order must leave Canada and may not return. If they do need to return, they must apply for an ARC.

Mistaken Documents and Repeals

One commonly misinterpreted document is the Direction to Leave Canada, with a form number of IMM 1217B. Individuals who receive this form sometimes mistakenly perceive it to be a Removal Order. This is not the case; you may still enter and leave Canada and do not need to apply for an ARC. You will be subject to regular port of entry procedures. If you have received a Removal Order, you may be allowed to repeal it if you are a permanent resident in Canada or a protected person. However, there are various factors that could affect your ability to repeal. For example, you cannot repeal the order if you have immigrated fraudulently, been convicted of a serious crime, violated human rights (international or domestic), have been received a sentence of 2 years or more for criminal reasons, have partaken in organized crime or are otherwise a security threat to Canadian society at large. If you wish to repeal an order, consider seeking the assistance of an immigration law firm to find out if you are eligible and how to proceed.

ARC Not Required

Before applying for an ARC, even if in the context of a removal order, ensure that this is the correct document you will need. There are some situations in which the ARC is not the document you will need. For example, if your reason for inadmissibility to Canada (including the reasons for a removal order) was due to criminal inadmissibility, you may need to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation or a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) instead. If your reason for entry back in to Canada is for study, work, immigration, or visiting purposes, you may need to apply for a study/work permit or immigrate/visiting form instead. In this situation, the application for the permit/relevant form will be dealt with first and you will not need to apply for an ARC separately (however, you may still have to pay the fees for it). The ARC will be considered by the processing center in the context of the form relevant to your specific situation (immigrating, working, etc). If you are concerned about your situation and which document you will need, visit the government website ( or consider contacting an immigration law firm to assist you.

Factors to Consider

An ARC form is, essentially, asking the Canadian Embassy for special permission to enter Canada. They may take months to process. If you want to successfully apply for an ARC, you must provide the government with compelling reason of your need to enter Canada. There are many factors that may affect you obtaining an ARC. One of these is the reason for the removal order; this may affect what additional documentation you will need. For example, in the event of criminal inadmissibility, you will need to demonstrate that you have taken the steps to resolve the inadmissibility (for example, criminal rehabilitation) or have obtained a TRP. This may also affect your ability to obtain an ARC if the officer decides your reason for removal is still in effect and, with regards to the safety and security of Canadian society, you must still remain outside of Canada. Another factor that is considered is the possibility that you will repeat the behavior that initially caused your removal to be issued. Including additional documents that demonstrate that you have made steps to improve your behavior will help reduce this factor from being an issue. A third factor that is considered is the reason why you want to enter Canada. Your reason must be reasonably significant and be able to overcome your reason for removal. If your presence in Canada poses a threat to Canadian society that is stronger than your reason for entering Canada, you may not be issued an ARC. Other general factors that are considered include the length of time since the order was issued and your current situation. For many, the reason of their removal order was because they stayed in Canada longer than they were permitted to. In this case, you should include proof that will demonstrate to the immigration officer that you will not overstay your welcome again. Such proof would demonstrate strong ties to your home country that depict that you want to, as well as have reason to, return to your home country after your stay in Canada. This will make your application stronger.

Applying for an ARC

When applying for an ARC, you will need to include specific documents. This will include a copy of your passport, a written letter (in English or French, written in blank ink or typed) explaining why you need to enter Canada, a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) application form, two passport size photos taken within the last six months, and evidence that you paid the processing fee (which is $400, CAD). You may also be asked to include additional documentation or attend an interview; this will be communicated to you by the application center. Also note that if the Government of Canada had to pay any costs related to your initial removal, you may be asked to re-pay the costs. Ensure that the application is filled correctly. Incomplete, illegible, or inadequate (missing documents) applications will be returned. To ensure that you have a strong and properly filled out application, consider consulting the experienced and dedicated team at Akrami and Associates.

With Akrami and Associates, there is always a way!