Authorization to Return to Canada

If you have received a removal order from Canada, including deportation, you might not be able to return without approval through an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC).

  1. ARC Application
  2. Who Can Apply?
  3. Application Process

ARC Application

An ARC application is requesting permission from the Government of Canada to re-enter the country. It is not a visa, but rather, it is permission given to people who have previously been given a deportation or exclusion order which is subject to a temporary or permanent ban from Canada. For someone in this position, you will need an ARC.

The ARC application should be submitted with your visa, work permit, study permit or any other immigration application. If you are coming to Canada for a specific reason (to study, visit, work, or immigrate), this application will be considered together with the request for an ARC. The processing officer will consider various factors when making a decision, this will include your reason for requesting a return as well as the reason you were removed in the first place. All of this is very important to your application.

Who Can Apply?

Whether or not an ARC application is applicable to your situation will first depend on the type of removal order you received. If you look at the document that was sent to you informing you of the removal, there is a form number on it. The number will tell you the type of removal you were issued.

Removal Orders

  1. Departure Order (IMM 5238)
    • ARC is only required if you did not leave the country within 30 days after the departure order was issued and/or if you left without verifying your departure with an immigration officer at the airport or border.
  2. Exclusion Order (IMM 1214B)
    • An Exclusion Order comes with either a 1-year or a 5-year ban from Canada. ARC is only required if you wish to return to Canada before the ban-period is completed or if you do not have a certificate of departure which confirms the date that you left Canada.
  3. Deportation Order (IMM 5238B)
  • A Deportation Order permanently bans you from re-entering Canada unless you obtain authorization. ARC application is always necessary.

If you have been given a direction to leave Canada (form IMM 1217B), you do not need to file an ARC. A direction to leave Canada is not a removal order. If you received a departure order and left Canada within the timeline you were given, you do not need to file an ARC.

It is also very important to consider your current life circumstances at the time that you are applying. If the reason you were given a removal order is not resolved, or cannot be proven to have changed, it is not a good sign that you will be approved. For example, if you were removed because you were working without a permit, requesting an ARC with a visitor visa when you don’t have a steady job in your home country will not convince a processing officer that you will not work illegally again or that you will return to your home country.

How to apply ?

When applying for an ARC, submit a fully completed application for temporary residence or permanent residence (for example, visitor visa, work permit, study permit, etc. – the type of application will depend on your reason for travelling), along with all required documents and payments. You must also include a letter explaining the reasons that you believe you should be granted the permission to return to Canada. This letter can include an explanation of the circumstances that led to you getting a removal order in the first place, if applicable.

Application Considerations

  • Why were you initially issued a removal order?
  • What is the possibility that you will repeat these actions?
  • How long has it been since the removal order was issued?
  • Did you leave Canada within the timeframe that you were given?
    • If not, what was the reason for this?
  • What is your current situation in your home country?
  • Why are you attempting to re-enter Canada?
  • How long are you planning on staying in the country?

The letter must be in either English or French. If there were any costs that you must pay related to your removal, you must pay those in addition to the $400 CAD processing fee for the ARC, and all other fees related to your temporary or permanent residence application.


You will also be required to attend an interview at a visa office, if asked. The interviewer will ask you questions related to those in your application. The officer will want to confirm your identity and speak more specifically about your situation, the reasons for the actions that led to your initial removal and consider the likelihood of them happening again.


When a decision is made on your application, you will be notified in writing. If the application or letter do not contain enough information to properly make the decision, you will either be notified and asked for more information or the application will not be processed. If this is the case, you will be notified. Remember, an authorization to return to Canada application is a request made to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, a Canadian government agency, and it is decided by an immigration officer. You are not guaranteed to be granted one, even if you believe you meet all the requirements. You must submit a compelling case that convinces the processing officer that your request for re-entry should be approved. We recommend working with an experienced RCIC or Canadian immigration lawyer to best help you do this. Contact us at Cohen Brosh Law Offices today!


The information available on or from this webpage or article are provided for general informational purposes only. None of the information provided constitutes legal advice. The information provided is not guaranteed to be complete or up-to-date. Immigration law is constantly changing. You should consult an Immigration & Citizenship Consultant or Attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us with your questions or to make use of our forum. Communicating with us does not create an attorney-client relationship so please do not send confidential information until an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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