I read on https://www.canadaduientrylaw.com/denied-entry-to-canada.php (mirror):

In many situations where a US citizen is refused entry at the Canadian border, the visitor is allowed to request permission from the CBSA to officially withdraw their application for admission to Canada. If this "withdrawal of admission" is granted by border agents, the individual will be permitted to return to the US without having to experience a formal removal proceeding.

In which situations is a US lawful permanent resident and French citizen who was refused entry to Canada allowed to withdraw their application for admission to Canada?

(To avoid some comments: I was not refused entry yet but my last entry was not smooth. I was threatened that I may be denied entry under the reason "Intention to Work Illegally" and interrogated+searched for 1h because of the presence of a computer monitor in my car's back seat, so I'm getting ready for my next entry to Canada as I'm not giving up on my monitors.)

  • Why do you want a computer monitor? And could you ship the monitor separately from you? Jan 25, 2022 at 14:25
  • @DJClayworth just being able to read books on a decently large screen. Not worth shipping since I was staying over the weekend only. Jan 25, 2022 at 14:28
  • I know this isn't your question, but an iPad Pro has a large high resolution screen and is not likely to trigger the "intention to work illegally" response. Of course it's Apple so it's expensive, but it could avoid this sort of trouble in the future. Jan 25, 2022 at 20:11
  • @GregHewgill thanks I have some iPads but they're smaller than a regular monitor and missing basic features eg superuser.com/q/1692900/116475 I use it to read in planes though sometimes. Jan 25, 2022 at 20:46

2 Answers 2


The border agent will allow you to withdraw your request for admission if you request it, unless an inadmissibility report is being prepared or has been prepared.

The agent has certain discretion on whether to prepare a report and may inform you of the options before they do so. They will consider whether the objectives of Canadian immigration law can be best served by a report or voluntary withdrawal, with the following considerations (from ENF 5 - Writing 44(1) Reports)

9.1 Considerations before writing an A44(1) report

Keeping in mind the scope of discretion related to considerations for writing an A44(1) report outlined in section 8 of these guidelines, the following non-exhaustive factors may be considered when exercising the limited discretion under A44(1) with respect to foreign nationals:

  • Has the person been granted protected person status in Canada? What is the nature or category of the inadmissibility?
  • Is the person already the subject of a removal order?
  • Is the person already the subject of a separate inadmissibility report incorporating allegations that will likely result in a removal order?
  • Is the officer satisfied that the person is, or soon will be, leaving Canada on their own volition? And in such a case, is the imposition of a future requirement to obtain an authorization to return warranted?
  • Is there a record of the person having previously contravened immigration legislation?
  • In the case of non-compliance, was it unintentional or excusable for a valid reason?
  • Has the person now been fully counselled on the topic of their inadmissibility? And is the officer satisfied that the person now understands what is required in future to overcome their inadmissibility?
  • Is there any reason to believe that, after having previously been counselled on the topic of their inadmissibility, the person simply chose to ignore that counselling?
  • Has the person been cooperative?
  • Is there any evidence of misrepresentation?
  • Has the person applied for restoration of status, and does the person appear to be eligible?
  • Has a temporary resident permit been authorized?
  • How long has the person been in Canada?
  • In minor criminality cases, is a decision on rehabilitation imminent and likely to be favourable?

However, once a report is being prepared (not necessarily finished), the agent can no longer authorize a withdrawal, only the Minister or their delegate (certain supervisors) then has the discretion whether to use a formal removal proceeding or not with similar considerations based on the report the agent prepared.

The procedure applies to all foreign nationals (i.e. not citizens or permanent residents of Canada).

Withdrawing application

42 (1) Subject to subsection (2), an officer who examines a foreign national who is seeking to enter Canada and who has indicated that they want to withdraw their application to enter Canada shall allow the foreign national to withdraw their application and leave Canada.

Exception — report

(2) If a report is being prepared or has been prepared under subsection 44(1) of the Act in respect of a foreign national who indicates that they want to withdraw their application to enter Canada, the officer shall not allow the foreign national to withdraw their application or leave Canada unless the Minister decides either not to make a removal order or not to refer the report to the Immigration Division for an admissibility hearing.

Obligation to confirm departure

(3) A foreign national who is allowed to withdraw their application to enter Canada must appear without delay before an officer at a port of entry to confirm their departure from Canada.

Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations

  • 1
    What would be interesting to know, is given the previous action of the OP, did the Canadian authorities keep notes on it and will that influence a future entry attempt? It may be that a future attempt to do the same thing could trigger formal proceedings rather than the previously obtained warning.
    – Peter M
    Jan 25, 2022 at 15:35
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    @PeterM Notes should be expected if non-routine interrogation is carried out; then there may be consideration re: "Is there any reason to believe that, after having previously been counselled on the topic of their inadmissibility, the person simply chose to ignore that counselling?"
    – xngtng
    Jan 25, 2022 at 15:46

I don't think this is specific to US citizens. According to this site, it's the same for any foreign citizen.

It also answers your question:

With this amendment, the possibility to withdraw application to enter is conditional on what the Minister decides. Although there is no change to existing policy or practice as this was a technical amendment, the new wording provides more clarity pertaining to withdrawing an application at the Canadian border

  • Great, thanks for the information! I wonder how the Minister makes their decision (tossing a coin vs. some objective criteria and if so, which ones). Jan 25, 2022 at 5:52
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    @FranckDernoncourt I suspect the "Minister" is in fact a delegated authority to some kind of mid-level bureaucrat. In the US that would be a regional CBP district Director, I'm guessing in Canada it would be something similar.
    – littleadv
    Jan 25, 2022 at 5:53
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    @littleadv That’s correct. It’s the immigration supervisor at the border post. You can confirm that by watching an episode of Border Patrol. The Minister doesn’t even hear about it, heck it doesn’t get to even his secretary’s desk. 😁 Jan 25, 2022 at 8:34
  • @AugustineofHippo in border patrol, do they explain how the immigration supervisor makes the decision? Jan 25, 2022 at 11:19
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    @FranckDernoncourt It varies case by case. I’ve seen episodes where the supervisor exercised that discretion because the traveler was very polite, or had great persuasive skills etc. Ultimately it’s largely out of your control and dependent on their mood, previous adherence to immigration rules etc. Jan 25, 2022 at 12:09

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