Canada Border Interview Process

If you are planning to visit Canada, this is the article for you! It is important to be ready and know what to expect when you arrive. This can help you better prepare!

  1. What to expect
  2. First Interview
  3. Second Interview

What to Expect 

When travelling to Canada, especially as a foreign national. It is important to know what to expect. The entry process, especially at a large port of entry, like an airport, can be stressful for some. Knowing the process, and what to expect in your entry interview, can help you manage the process better.

Remember, even though a visa is permission to enter Canada, you are not actually entitled to enter the country until you have been screened and approved by a Border Services Officer from Canada Border Services Agency. This is very important because even with all the proper travel documents and a visa, a Border Services Officer can still use their discretion to send you back if they feel that you do not meet the requirements to enter the country. If they have any reason to believe that you do not meet the requirements, or are dangerous in any way, your visa can become useless.

It is important to note that having a visa is not always enough. You should be prepared for your screening interview at the port-of-entry that you are planning to travel through and also have all documents in order.

First Interview

Your first interview will be focused on your documentation. In this interview, you will be asked to show all of your travel documents to the Border Services Officer as well as the documents of the family members that you are travelling with. Depending on your country of origin, you may be required to provide more documentation.

Travel documents required:

  • Passport
  • Visas, permits, and travel documents
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Proof of identity (ex. driver’s license)
  • Any other documents required for the status you are requesting in Canada (ex. Proof of finances, letter of invitation, letter of employment, etc.)

In this first interview you will be asked many questions about your health, the duration of your trip, your criminal history, who you are travelling with, why you are travelling, where are you travelling from, if you have ever visited Canada before, etc. You may be asked many questions which seem like the answer will be obvious or shown in your documents, it is important that you answer them regardless. Most of the questions asked of you in the interview will be questions that were on the application form you filled out when applying for your visa – this is okay. The Border Services Officer is simply confirming that the information you provide in person matches what you said in your papers. It is important that you are honest in your application and are equally honest in the interview. The officer may ask for proof of some of your answers at the port-of-entry.

Second Interview

The second interview at the border will be about the items that you are bringing with you. The purpose of this second interview is to ensure that you do not enter Canada with any prohibited items. This may be with the same officer or a different one. This interview will involve asking you about what is in your luggage, what you have packed etc. You will be given a form to declare the goods that you have with you. You must be completely honest when declaring your goods. Your bags can easily be checked. You will also be asked to list the goods that you have sent that will be arriving at another time.

Questions of goods you bring:

  • What are you bringing with you to Canada?
  • Do you have any live animals or plants with you?
  • Do you have any firearms, ammunition or fireworks with you?
  • Do you have any meat or dairy products with you?
  • Do you have any fresh fruits or vegetables with you?
  • Do you have any items from endangered species?

This interview is typically very short. Depending on the answers that are on your list, the officer may ask you more questions.

Conclusion

Canada Border Services Agency is responsible for managing the transit of people through Canadian ports-of-entry. They are responsible for safety and security in this way. For this reason, they carefully screen all those entering the country. Foreign nationals must be spoken to and screened by a Border Services Officer.  Despite having a visa, eTA or permit already, the border officer must approve you to enter the country according to their discretion, with reference to the Immigration and Refugees Protection Act. Having all your documents in order and being truthful in your screening interviews is the best way to help the process go smoothly.

DISCLAIMER

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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