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Admissibility hearings

What is an admissibility hearing?

An admissibility hearing can be held to decide if you are allowed to come into or stay in Canada, if you are a permanent resident or foreign national. Admissibility hearings can be started for these reasons:
  • criminal convictions
  • human or international rights violations
  • risk to security in Canada
  • health reasons (in some cases)
  • financial reasons (in some cases)
  • misrepresentation or not being truthful in immigration applications
  • failure to comply with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)
Admissibility hearings are held by the Immigration Division (ID) of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).

Do foreign nationals always get admissibility hearings?

No. If you are a foreign national, you might get a removal order without an admissibility hearing. Get legal help right away if this happens.

Which criminal convictions can lead to an admissibility hearing?

If you are a permanent resident or foreign national, an admissibility hearing may be started against you for serious crimes if:
  • you are sentenced to six months or more in prison
  • your maximum sentence could be 10 years or more, even if you get a shorter sentence
  • you were found to be a member of organized crime, such as gang activity or smuggling
If you are a foreign national, an admissibility hearing may also be started against you for other criminality, including:
  • two convictions of any type of crime
  • any indictable offence, such as theft over $5000, robbery, breaking and entering, trafficking, murder or manslaughter
  • any hybrid offence, such as theft under $5000, drunk driving, assault, and drug possession (except small amounts of marijuana or hashish)
If you are convicted for a crime in another country that would have any of these consequences in Canada, this could also lead to an admissibility hearing.

How does the admissibility hearing process begin?

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will send you and the Immigration Division (ID) a Request for Admissibility Hearing. View a sample at the bottom of this IRB webpage. You will also get a copy of a Report on Inadmissibility arguing why you should not be allowed to enter or stay in Canada. The Immigration Division (ID) will then decide on a date for your admissibility hearing, and send you a Notice to Appear for a Hearing.

Should I get legal help?

You should get help right away. If you lose your admissibility hearing, you could be deported or not admitted to Canada. You can get help from a lawyer, paralegal, notary in Québec or immigration consultant registered with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).

Can I be put in immigration detention until my admissibility hearing?

If the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) believes that you are a risk to society, that you will not show up for your admissibility hearing or deportation, or that you have not established your identity, they can put you in immigration detention. You may also be put in immigration detention, for example if you are considered a risk to society or if you might not show up for a removal.

Can I appeal my admissibility decision?

If you are found inadmissible and get a removal order, you may be able to appeal in some cases to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD). You only have 30 days to start an appeal after you get a removal order. You are not eligible for an appeal if you are sentenced to six months or more in prison. This usually includes time spent in custody before your trial. You are also not eligible for an appeal if you were convicted of a crime in another country that has a sentence of ten years or more in Canada.  If you are inadmissible for security reasons, for committing human rights violations or for organized criminality, you will also not be eligible for an appeal. If you got an inadmissibility report before June 19, 2013, different rules may apply to you, because the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act (Bill C-43) was not yet in force. You will not be eligible if you were sentenced to two or more years in prison for a serious crime, instead of six months. Consult a lawyer if this may apply to you. If you are not eligible for an appeal, you may be able to ask for a judicial review at the Federal Court to have your decision overturned. You only have 15 days to apply. Get legal help to learn your options.