I was wondering the chances that I could travel to Canada as a tourist, having been denied entry to America.

I am a sex worker, I live and work in the UK where sex work is a totally legal job. I am taxpayer and work here legally.

3 years ago I tried to enter America and was refused entry and turned around. The reason being that my job at home makes me inadmissible to America - that is inadmissible to visit the US even as a tourist and even with no intention of working there. I had previously travelled to America 7 or so times with no problem. I was not given a ban and I have no criminal record, but America is off the cards and they will not grant me a visa.

I would like to travel to Canada (obviously not right now). Sex work in Canada however, is legal - although again, I just want to travel as a tourist. I have been to Canada before, although this was before this issue with America happened.

What do you think my odds are of being able to travel to Canada? I am sure they will see the refuse entry/deportation, and I intend on being honest about it on my eTA form.

I am in a limbo - the thing I was refused entry to America for, is happening to do a job that is legal in my home country (uk) and legal in Canada.

  • None of us are really able to answer on the odds matter it's beyond our knowledge nad really a matter of judgement that requires more than can be practically shared here. Can you ask a question that might be more in scope? – CMaster Feb 1 at 10:47
  • @CMaster I can't be the only person with a US deportation trying to enter America (I found this forum by googling this issue - others have asked similar things). I just wanted to give context as to the nature of being refused entry - as it is not for breaking the law, overstaying or anything like that. – Pipedreams Feb 1 at 11:07
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    Pipedreams - the issue is you're asking for an opinion that we can't really give (and questions seeking opinion-based answers are not permitted by site-wide rules anyway). We can answer if you are asking if there are any canadian laws or policies specifically stopping or discouraging you from entering Canada. We can't (and sorta aren't allowed to say) how likely you are to do so. – CMaster Feb 1 at 11:19
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    If you do apply, be careful with your wording: being denied entry is much less bad than being actively deported (kicked out for offenses). – lambshaanxy Feb 1 at 11:54
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    Canada has a rather more liberal view of sex work than most of the US. (And US immigration law prevents you even from visiting Nevada as a tourist, where your profession is legal.) If I were you I would look in Canada's immigration law to see whether it has a similar overbroad anti-prostitution prohibition. If it doesn't, you're probably fine to go to Canada. If it does, it still might be interpreted in your favor, but that would take more research to establish before you get on the plane. – phoog Feb 1 at 14:16

You exclusion from entering the USA will NOT, in and of itself, make you inadmissible to Canada. Every country has different criteria and standards for entry, so it is not uncommon for a person to be refused entry to one country whilst being still welcomed into another.

The US has a number of "acts" and "offences" that are deemed to make a person ineligible to obtain a visa to the US (including travel under the Visa Waiver Program), including 212(a)(2)(D)(i) which renders ineligible anyone that "is coming to the United States to engage in prostitution, or has engaged in prostitution within 10 years of the date of application for a visa, admission, or adjustment of status.". The legislation specifically includes prostitution that occurred in a country where it was not illegal.

The fact that you were denied under this provision does not mean that you have committed an offence, nor that you have done anything wrong - it simply means that you are not eligible to enter the USA (at least, not without applying for a specific exemption).

Canada has different criteria for entry, and thus your current profession is not in itself reason for denial of entry.

That said, there are still (at least) 2 potential issues that you may face when attempting to enter Canada. The first is that having being refused entry to the US can be a flag to Canadian immigration officials, and they may decide to pay more attention to you than they would have otherwise - including potentially refusing your eTA application and making you apply for a visa. Given that eTA's last for 2 years and are relatively cheap, it would be worth applying for an eTA before you book travel, in order to give additional time in case you are required to obtain a visa.

The second issue you may face is that the immigration officials may presume that you are coming to Canada to work. This is something that the immigration staff will be concerned with for most travelers, but it is likely they will pay more attention to someone in the sex industry - especially given your previous denial of entry to the US. You've stated you are only travelling to Canada as a tourist, but the burden of proof lies with you to convince them of that, so be prepared to do so.

Your statement that you will be truthful on the eTA is critical. Canada and the USA do share immigration information, and the thing that would jeopardize your entry to Canada more than anything would be to lie on the application.

  • Many thanks for your detailed reply. I will apply for the eta well in advance and see what happens. I think may also be helpful to have an itenary to hand (i usually have many plans booked ahead of time for holidays anyway). – Pipedreams Feb 2 at 10:37

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