Entry/Exit Program

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

The Entry/Exit Program is a joint initiative, from the Beyond the Border Action Plan, between Canada and the United States (U.S.).

Entry/Exit 101 – A guide (PDF, 1.66 MB)

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Purpose

IRCC will obtain accurate and objective entry and exit information from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to support the administration of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), the Citizenship Act and the Canadian Passport Order.

IRCC will be able to query the CBSA’s Entry/Exit Information System via the Global Case Management System (GCMS) to

  • verify residency requirements to process an ongoing application by objectively verifying information provided by the client, such as in applications for grants of citizenship (CIT) or permanent resident cards
  • verify if a temporary residence applicant may have previously overstayed their allowable period of admission in Canada
  • assist in an investigation of an individual’s entitlement to a Canadian travel document

In addition, IRCC will be able to use entry and exit information to

  • verify that sponsors are residing in Canada
  • verify the residency of spouses and partners under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class
  • verify whether or not a refugee claimant entered Canada using their travel documents
  • support investigations of possible fraud in relation to immigration, citizenship, and passport and travel document programs

What information is available

The CBSA is responsible for collecting this information, and it is available to be queried in GCMS.

Data includes:
Name, date of birth, country of citizenship, passport details, date of entry/exit, and whatever data is displayed in GCMS
Available data:
Land crossing entry/exit information (data available consistently from July 11, 2019)
Air arrivals (data available from July 11, 2019)
Data coming soon:
Air exit data (CBSA began the 1-year process of onboarding air carriers on June 25, 2020)
Data not available:
Marine entries and exits
Rail entries and exits

Who can access entry and exit information

IRCC officers are not authorized to disclose entry and exit information unless the disclosure is necessary for the administration of the IRPA and is covered under existing MOUs or similar information-sharing agreements. Any disclosure that is not explicitly covered under an existing agreement must be governed by CBSA as the owner of the data.

Access will be given to all authorized CBSA employees, including

  • border services officers and superintendents
  • criminal investigations officers and analysts
  • document analysts
  • hearings officers and hearings advisors
  • inland enforcement officers and enforcement case officers
  • intelligence officers and intelligence analysts
  • National Border Operations Centre (NBOC) officers
  • National Security Screening Division officers and analysts
  • National Targeting Centre (NTC) targeting officers
  • NTC targeting operations intelligence
  • trusted traveller officers

Entry and exit data use by line of business (LOB)

The entry and exit information will be used exclusively for the following application types across all LOBs at IRCC.

Immigration

Temporary residence

The following temporary residence application types can use entry and exit data:

  • temporary resident visas
  • temporary resident permits
  • visitor records
  • work permits and work permit extensions
  • study permits and study permit extensions
  • electronic travel authorizations (eTAs)

Entry and exit data can be used to identify if a foreign national has previously exceeded their authorized period of stay in Canada.

Once air carriers are onboarded (2020–2021), overstay indicators will begin appearing within the Entry/Exit search results for temporary residents who have overstayed their allowable time in Canada. This will prompt IRCC officers to make an informed determination on select temporary residence applications.

Permanent residence

The following permanent residence application types can use entry and exit data:

  • permanent resident cards
  • permanent resident travel documents
  • overseas refugees
  • family class sponsorships

Entry and exit data can be used to outline the periods of time spent in and outside Canada for people applying for permanent residence. This will provide a full picture of whether or not residence has been maintained.

Permanent resident residency requirements: An applicant must be physically present in Canada for at least 730 days in every 5-year period.

For sponsorship applications, entry and exit data can be used to determine if a sponsor is residing in Canada.

Refugee claims (inland)

Applications for in-Canada asylum can also use entry and exit data to verify information presented by the claimant.

Entry and exit data can be used as a more thorough and robust travel history of claimants, which may give rise to concerns related to program integrity, credibility and exclusions under Article 1(E) of the United Nations Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. Records could demonstrate inconsistencies with the claimant’s basis of claim narrative, and this could prompt further investigations.

Citizenship

Exit and entry data can be used to

  • verify compliance with physical presence requirements for grants of citizenship under subsection 5(1) of the Citizenship Act
  • assist in the verification of other requirements, such as
    • flagging of potential loss of permanent resident status
    • the need for applicants to submit foreign police certificates
    • misrepresentation
  • verify compliance with physical presence requirements for resumption of citizenship under subsection 11(1) of the Citizenship Act (physical presence in Canada for at least 365 days during the 2 years immediately preceding the date of application)
  • assist in cases of revocation of Canadian citizenship under section 10 or 10.1 of the Citizenship Act

Investigations

Citizenship revocation investigations

Entry and exit data can be used to support administrative investigations into an individual’s acquisition of citizenship. Specifically, data will be used to confirm whether or not the client misrepresented their residence in Canada for the purpose of acquiring citizenship.

Passport investigations

Entry and exit data can be used to support administrative investigations into an individual’s entitlement to Canadian passport services. For example, data can be used to validate a travel document bearer’s travel history and use of a Canadian travel document to determine whether grounds exist to pursue refusal or revocation under the Canadian Passport Order in cases of passport misuse, passport fraud and identity fraud.

Port of entry verifications and permanent residence determination (CBSA users)

Once fully implemented, entry and exit information will give the CBSA the ability to

  • identify individuals who are potentially overstaying their lawful period of stay
  • better monitor the departure of individuals who are subject to removal orders and warrants
  • verify that residency requirements are being met by permanent residents and applicants for continued eligibility for immigration and citizenship programs

This will allow the CBSA to determine who is in Canada and who has left the country.

Data protection, privacy and rules for onward disclosure

IRCC retains only traveller passage information applicable to the client associated with an application.

Access to information and privacy (ATIP) requests and requests for corrections

Travellers have the right to request a copy of their personal travel history through the Privacy Act, and they may ask that a correction be included if any of the information is incorrect. More information on corrections of personal information can be found on the CBSA website. If a traveller has requested a correction to their passage information, IRCC officers are notified of this correction and are able to re-query the CBSA’s database to obtain the most up-to-date information.

Onward disclosure

IRCC officers are not authorized to disclose entry and exit information unless the disclosure is necessary for the administration of the IRPA and is covered under existing MOUs or similar information-sharing agreements. Any disclosure that is not explicitly covered under an existing agreement must be governed by CBSA as the owner of the data.

Background

The program’s purpose was to establish a coordinated Entry/Exit Information System to facilitate the exchange of travellers’ biographic information (such as their name and date of birth) collected upon entry at the common land border, so a record of entry into one country can be considered a record of exit from the other.

In addition to the exchange of data with the U.S. at the land border, regulations for the air mode came into force June 25, 2020, allowing the CBSA to begin collecting pre-departure exit information and exit records directly from commercial air carriers.

With the passing of Bill C 21, An Act to amend the Customs Act, data on all travellers (including Canadian and U. S. citizens) has begun to accumulate as of July 11, 2019 for travel by land. On June 25, 2020, the CBSA began collecting pre-departure exit information and exit records directly from commercial air carriers. From this date, commercial air carriers will have exactly 1 year to comply.

Collection and access to traveller data

The Customs Act currently allows the CBSA to collect land entry and exit data and air entry data on all travellers. Regulatory amendments for exits by air came into force in June 2020. Under the IRCC–CBSA MOU, information sharing between both departments for the administration and enforcement of IRPA is considered consistent use, as per paragraph 8(2)(a) of the Privacy Act.

Where entry and exit information has been deemed relevant to an IRCC officer’s decision in relation to a specific program (outlined in this document), access is granted by way of system user roles; only roles that allow a user to render a decision on an application in GCMS have access to the “Entry/Exit” tab.

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