What is a Direction to Leave Canada?

Crossing the border is a nerve-racking experience for most people. However, it usually ends up peacefully. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. Sometimes you may receive a Direction to Leave Canada.

Table of contents

Examination at a port of entry

A person who tries to enter Canada is subject to examination. When you reach a port of entry, you automatically enter the Primary Inspection Line (PIL). Of course, this is where a Border Services Officer (BSO) asks for your passport and other documents. Subsequently, if the BSO believes you may enter Canada, they will let you in. However, if the BSO believes you are inadmissible to Canada or your examination could take a long time, they will send you to the secondary exam. Of course, you must not panic at this moment as the next officer could allow you to enter Canada.  Regardless, if they don’t, several scenarios could happen. For example,

Sometimes, they go midway and allow you to enter Canada with a Temporary Resident Permit. While these scenarios are improbable, consider having an immigration professional contact information handy for advice in those situations. However, sometimes officers deny you are having access to a lawyer or an immigration consultant.

What is a Direction to Leave Canada?

Imagine for any reason (e.g. lack of proper documents) the officer is unable to examine you. Consequently, they may decide to issue a Direction to Leave Canada. Of course, this decision stems from subsection 40(1) of the Immigration Regulations. As a result, you must leave Canada and come back later to apply for entry. Of course, you may come back only when you believe you can respond to the previous BSO’s concerns. The officer may not issue a Direction to Leave Canada if you are properly filing for asylum.

If you doubt whether your issue is a Direction to Leave, look at the document, the officer handed over to you. If the document is IMM 1217B (formerly BSF503), you have received a Direction to Leave Canada. Alternatively, you may receive IMM 1282 (Allowed to Leave Canada).

Direction to Return to the US

When you are entering Canada from the United States, a BSO may return you to the United States. Of course, any of the following situations must occur:

  • The BSO cannot complete the examination.
  • There is no high ranking officer to issue a removal order.
  • The Immigration Division cannot hold an inadmissibility hearing.
  • You are in contravention of the Emergencies Act or the Quarantine Act (e.g. while the borders are not open due to COVID-19).

Sometimes, they allow you to enter if they believe you are an exempt family member.

Nonetheless, if they return you to the US, you will receive IMM 1237B (formerly BSF505).

Direction to Leave Canada vs. a removal order

Generally speaking, a Direction to Leave Canada is not a removal order. Therefore, if you receive IMM 1217B or IMM 1237B, you may go back to the port of entry at any time for a re-examination. Consequently, you do not need an Authorization to Return to Canada. However, make sure to address the issues and bring enough documents this time. For example, if you have received IMM 1237B because of the Quarantine Act, you may not go back unless the Act does not apply to you anymore. However, if you show up again, you could receive an Exclusion Order this time.

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    Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.