When you arrive in Canada, you will pass through a “port-of-entry” (POE), which may be at a land border or an airport (and even by sea). Here you will be examined by a Border Service Officer, who will verify your identity and confirm other details to ensure you meet the requirements to enter Canada. Depending on your status and the purpose of your visit, you may be sent to “secondary inspection”. This can happen to verify information or if your case requires the issuance of documents, for example, if you are entering Canada to obtain permanent residence, a study permit, or work permit. In cases where you have received approval of your application from a visa office, obtaining your documents at the POE should be a mere formality. In other cases, you may be applying for a study or work permit at the POE, if permitted by the regulations. You may be asked questions about whether there have been any changes in circumstances since your application (for example, a change in marital status), and about your intentions in Canada. Your answers should not contradict what was stated on your application or indicate an intent to violate regulations. Applicants sometimes do this inadvertently, either because they are not familiar with immigration laws, or because they find themselves in a stressful situation and become overwhelmed. Note that even visitors who are visiting on an eTA or temporary resident visa may be sent to secondary inspection and denied entry to Canada if the officer suspects you will not leave by the end of your authorized stay or otherwise violate Canada’s immigration laws. You should be prepared to answer questions properly and be aware of your obligations while in Canada.
You should also note that Border Services Officers have fairly wide powers and you have less legal rights to privacy at a POE than inside Canada. Your laptop, cell phone and other devices can be seized and inspected, and you can be requested to provide a password to your device(s). If you are concerned about your rights and obligations when entering Canada, you should consult with us before you travel.