What happens when you get off your flight at a Canadian airport and arrive in Canada as a foreign national? This involves what immigration authorities call a Port of Entry (POE) which is the airport that you arrive at, and there is a standardized process for:
- Authorizing, or
- Sending on for further inspection, and
- Rejecting, or
- Authorizing after further inspection.
This process also involves avenues of appeal that may involve hearings. Let’s find out how the process works.
Step 1: Primary Inspection Line
This is the first stage of the immigration process at an airport. You are inspected at either:
- A primary inspection kiosk, which is an automated, self-service booth where you:
- Scan your travel document,
- Take your photo,
- Verify your fingerprints,
- Answer a few questions to complete your declaration, and
- Finally take your kiosk receipt to a Border Services Officer.
- OR you are inspected by a Border Services Officer at the primary inspection line.
If you satisfy the primary inspection kiosk or the Border Services Officer that you meet Canada’s admissibility requirements, then you are admitted to Canada. If not, then you are referred for a secondary examination.
Step 2: Secondary Examination
Here the Border Services Officer will ask you questions as well as review your documentation and also review the information on the CBSA (Canadian Border Services Agency) computer systems to see if your information is consistent and valid.
If after this secondary examination, you are determined to be admissible to Canada, the Border Services Officer may:
- Stamp your passport, or
- Issue you the appropriate Temporary Resident document, and/or
- Sometimes request that a deposit be posted in order to ensure you comply with the conditions of your admissibility, or
- Take some other action the officer deems appropriate.
If after the secondary examination, you are determined to be inadmissible to Canada, then the Border Services officer may:
- Write a report that outlines the allegations of inadmissibility against you and file the report with a Minister’s delegate.
- Issue a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) to overcome your inadmissibility and allow to enter Canada temporarily.
- Allow you to withdraw your application to enter Canada and leave Canada if you so choose.
Step 3: Minister’s Delegate Review
In Canada the Cabinet Minister in charge of immigration is called the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship. The current minister is the Honorable Ahmed Hussen, who has been minister since January 10, 2017. A Border Services Official refers your case to a delegate of the minister, by sending the report for the minister’s delegate to review. The minister’s delegate has two main options:
- The minister’s delegate decides that the report is valid. They then can:
- Refer your case to an admissibility hearing, or
- Allow you to leave Canada, or
- Issue a Temporary Resident Permit or TRP, or
- Issue a Removal Order that instructs you to leave Canada.
- The minister delegate decides that the report is not valid. They then can:
- Directly authorize you to enter Canada, or
- Prepare another report with a more accurate description of your inadmissibility.
Length of Stay
In general, a temporary resident may remain for 6 months in Canada. This 6-month period usually begins on the day you enter Canada.
- If you are processed through a primary inspection kiosk then you generally won’t have a stamp in your passport. Your 6-month period begins on the date you entered Canada (the date you arrived at your Port of Entry).
- If a handwritten date is written below your stamp, then that is the date when your temporary resident status expires.
- If there is no date or stamp in your passport, then your temporary resident status is for 6 months starting on the date of entry to Canada.
- If you leave and seek re-entry to Canada and are admitted again, your validity is for 6 months from the new date of re-entry to Canada.
- If you are a Parent or Grandparent with either a Super Visa or a Letter of Introduction, then your period of validity is generally 2 years from the date of entry.
General Conditions of Temporary Residency in Canada
- You may NOT engage in work in Canada without a work permit or other authorization
- You may NOT engage in studies in Canada without a study permit or other authorization.
- You must leave Canada at the end of your authorized period of stay.
However, once you have been admitted to Canada as a Temporary Resident, you can apply to the IRCC in order to:
- Change the conditions of your temporary residence, or
- Change your status from Temporary Resident to another immigration status, or
- Extend your status as a Temporary Resident in Canada.
Remember that it’s always a good idea to know what your options are as a visitor to Canada and to make sure you have all the required permits depending on the nature of your visit. Especially seeing that immigration kiosks are what you increasingly will be processed by, so you have to take the responsibility to learn about the process at a Port of Entry in Canada. And as always, welcome to Canada and enjoy your stay!