What is a voluntary departure or voluntarily withdrawing the application to enter Canada?

Sometimes when you try to enter Canada, the officer decides you are inadmissible. In such situations, you could receive a Voluntary Departure form. This article explores voluntary departure or, rather, voluntarily withdrawing the application to enter 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.

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What is the Voluntary Departure?

Imagine for any reason the officer believes you are inadmissible to Canada. In such situations, they normally initiate the process of a removal order. However, they could alternatively decide to allow you to withdraw your application to enter Canada and leave the country peacefully. Of course, this decision stems from section 42 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.

If you doubt whether your issue is a Voluntary Departure look at the document, the officer handed over to you. If the document is IMM 5021B, you have signed the Voluntary Departure form.

Voluntary Departure vs. a removal order

Generally speaking, a Voluntary Departure is not a removal order. Consequently, if you receive IMM 5021B, 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. For example, if you have received IMM 5021B because the officer believed you intended to work in Canada without authorization, you must bring enough documents next time to prove otherwise. However, if you show up again, you could receive an Exclusion Order this time.

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Fighting the Voluntary Departure

Let’s say a BSO believes you are inadmissible. However, they allow you to withdraw your application to enter Canada. Consequently, you sign the Voluntary Departure form and leave Canada. Sometimes, despite the officer’s apparent generosity, you believe their decision is incorrect, and you are not inadmissible. Unfortunately, if you don’t take their offer, you will most likely end up receiving a removal order or, worse, a detention order. Nonetheless, an alternative option is to ask the officer to allow you to contact your counsel. If they allow you to do so, then you may explore your options before signing the form.

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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.