A Temporary Resident Visa does not guarantee entry into Canada

By Sukhram Ramkissoon

Many persons in Canada  may be surprised to learn that  a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) does not guarantee entry into Canada.

This document, also known as a counterfoil,  contained in a person ‘s passport, allows the person only to board an aircraft, But it is up to an immigration officer at a port of entry to admit that person. One might say that the visa allows you on the plane but it is the officer who opens the door.

Let us examine the procedure at the port of entry in Canada.

A foreign national who arrives at a port of entry. -airport, seaport or land border crossing – is examined at the primary inspection line by a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer.

–         If at the initial examination the officer is satisfied that the visitor meets the admissibility requirements, then the visitor is allowed to enter Canada.

–    If, however, the officer determines that the person requires further    examination, then that person is referred to what is known as a “secondary    examination.”

At the secondary examination, an officer determines if the visitor meets all the requirements to enter Canada.  The initial intake officer may not have been satisfied with the answers given by the visitor or further information may have been required. Students and workers are always requested to attend a secondary examination.

If a visitor is admissible into Canada, then the officer may either, stamp the visitor’s passport or issue a visitor record, with conditions. Such conditions are imposed to ensure that visitors adheres to the period and purpose for which they sought entry.  It is also to make visitors aware of the need for a formal authorization before extending their stay or varying the purpose of their stay. In some cases a security bond may be required  to be posted to ensure that a person complies with the terms and conditions imposed as a visitor.

If the person is inadmissible, having not met the requirements of a visitor, then the officer may (1) write a report under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), outlining the reasons why the person is inadmissible and forward it to the Minister’s delegate; or (2) the officer may allow the person to withdraw his or her application to enter and leave Canada immediately.  The person will be detained by CBSA until his or her release is granted by the Immigration Division.

If the CBSA officer writes a report under the IRPA, the Minister’s delegate will review the report of the inadmissibility. If the delegate upholds the report. a decision will then be made on the disposition of the case.

The  case may then be referred to an admissibility hearing;  the person may be allowed to leave Canada; a temporary resident permit (TRP) may be issued; or  an exclusion order  may be issued, prohibiting the person from re-entering Canada for a period of one year.

If the report is not valid, the delegate overturns the report and admits the person into Canada. The delegate also decides whether continued detention is warranted.

Many visitors are often confused about the time they are allowed to remain in Canada.  For example, some visitors believe they can remain in Canada for five years, if their visa is valid for five years.This is not correct.

If a visitor has received a stamp in his or her passport with no date noted on the stamp, that person is given six months visitor’s status in Canada.  This holds true for persons whose passports were not stamped at the time of their entry.  If a visitor’s passport was stamped or he or she  was given a visitor’s record, that person’s status expires as of the date written on the stamp or the date the visitor’s record expires.

To remain in good standing with Canadian immigration laws,  persons must apply to extend their visitor’s status, if they are not going to leave Canada on or before the expiry date on their travel documents.  Persons should always apply for an extension of their status well in advance of the expiry date.

(SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is a member of ICCRC and specializes in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario. M6A 2A4. Phone 416 789 5756.)