My girlfriend from Japan came to Canada to visit me last summer July 2022 and departed Oct 2022. We decided to meet again this January 20,2023 to celebrate our 1 year and she wanted to spend time with before she starts her job this April 1,2023. She has her ticket already and she will be returning to Japan by March 20, 2023 to attend her job training this March 24.

My question is: Will this raise a concern to the immigration officers? I told her to bring her acceptance letter to convince the officer that she won’t be staying here in Canada indefinitely.

The following was posted as an answer but has been edited into the question as it belongs here:
She decided to stay 2 weeks instead as she needs to go back to Japan for her job training. She changed her mind.

Edit: will this still impose a big problem to the immigration officer since it’s only 2 weeks? I got the job acceptance letter translated and it is stated that she’s starting her job April 1. She also has her return ticket along with it.

  • 5
    How likely is it that the immigration officer or a colleague on duty can read an acceptance letter in Japanese? GF might consider getting a certified document translation to English or French.
    – MTA
    Dec 12, 2022 at 0:00
  • 2
    It wouldn't be called International Airport if there's no translator
    – Latrell
    Dec 12, 2022 at 1:12
  • 21
    @Latrell I believe there may be on site translators (although it will add time if they are needed), but that’s not the definition of an international airport.
    – Tim
    Dec 12, 2022 at 8:44
  • 1
    @Latrell maybe, but there are many languages and no airport can have translators for all of them on site. They'll probably have a means to access off-site resources of course.
    – jwenting
    Dec 12, 2022 at 10:02
  • 7
    @Latrell You need a professional translator for any document that is looked at by officials. Computer translation is not fully accurate and you need to not have errors or misunderstandings here.
    – mmmmmm
    Dec 12, 2022 at 13:19

3 Answers 3


It will count against her that she is visiting her boyfriend (obvious motivation for overstay), and that with the second visit, she'd have spend a lot of time in relatively short period in Canada. The boundaries between "living in Japan and occasionally visiting Canada" and "living in Canada and occasionally visiting Japan" are getting somewhat blurred here.

Having a job lined up in Japan is definitely working in her favour: This is a reason for her to return as planned, and also an indication that the "where is actually the centre of her life"-issue is about to be resolved with "Japan" as answer. The more attractive the job the better. She should definitely have the appropriate documentation on her[1]. It will also count in her favour that she returned home as expected last time.

Overall, there is nothing inherently wrong with her planned visit. On the other hand, the overall situation seems to be amongst the most common settings which leads to refusal of entry for citizens of developed countries.

[1] Showing the job letter in Japanese of course isn't going to help much, unless the border guard was already about to let her pass anyway. I would hope that if she gets into secondary inspection, it would be possible to get someone capable of reading a little Japanese in there, but I wouldn't count on it. Translating it into English and getting someone to stamp it would be prudent.

  • She will be working as a kindergarten teacher in Japan this April 1.
    – Latrell
    Dec 11, 2022 at 6:03
  • 15
    Having a return ticket before that date would also be good. And in generally Japan is not viewed as a high-risk country for overstayers. Dec 11, 2022 at 9:42
  • 2
    @lambshaanxy she has her return ticket booked already. She’s returning to Japan this March 20.
    – Latrell
    Dec 11, 2022 at 17:10
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    @Latrell it helps, but will probably not be needed. With the return ticket and her country of origin a regular translation will LIKELY be enough and if not there will of course be a delay while a Japanese speaker is called in to verify the original.
    – jwenting
    Dec 12, 2022 at 10:06
  • 2
    @Latrell, you might suggest to your GF that she ask the school for an English translation on official school letterhead. AIUI, many (most? all?) Japanese schools teach English, so there should be several fluent English speakers there, and a copy on school letterhead that matches the Japanese letterhead would likely carry additional weight of credibility.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 12, 2022 at 14:15

Japanese citizen here. I visited Canada twice in a very short window of time (like 10 days) in Winter 2017. I flew into Vancouver from Singapore (to make it more complicated I was a Singapore resident with a Japanese passport) first. In Vancouver my Singapore residence card was lost which caused me a problem at the border control.

I crossed the Canadian-USA border to visit Seattle from Vancouver. I had no problem with the USA side. I got into trouble when I tried to cross back into Canada from the USA as my flight back to Singapore was originated in Vancouver.

Unfortunately, the Canadian officer (let's call him A) had a tough day, he tried to detain me. He and his colleague B searched my phone and all my belongings. The A did not believe me saying I was a Singapore resident as my Singapore Id was lost, no way to convince him.

The B was nicer. As soon as he looked into my postcards or tickets to tourist attractions in Seattle/Vancouver he decided to release me. But the B gave me the following warning: always print out my flight ticket to leave Canada.

In your case, I would do the following. In the event your gf got into trouble with the border guard I would flash my return ticket to leave Canada. Plus I would give them your phone number and have them call you. Then you could tell them that she is not visiting Canada indefinitely.

I hope all this makes sense and wish your gf a pleasant stay in Canada.

  • 1
    Thank you, yes I would print out a ticket
    – Latrell
    Dec 12, 2022 at 11:58
  • 9
    I highly doubt that boarder guards would consider the assurances of a boyfriend to be credible evidence that a girl is planning on leaving the country on time. As noted in Arno's answer, the return ticket and a copy of a job acceptance letter (in the original Japanese and a certified translation to English) will carry far more weight.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 12, 2022 at 14:14

Besides the return ticket and the proof of employment, in English if possible, there are other issues to convince a possibly overzealous border office to let her through.

If she's coming to stay 2 months only, be consistent:

  • Restrict the luggage. She probably won't need summer clothes. (Does Canada have summer anyway?). Carrying some is a huge red flag. In the same way, she won't need tonnes of Japanese food.
  • Take care with the messages and other stuff in the smartphone. Canada allows border authorities to search through the phone, even without any concrete trigger. Some searches like 'japanese teaching jobs in Vancouver' might be performed out of curiosity, but are fishy.
  • Mind the answers to the customs officer. He might well ask if she's planning to visit Canada regularly for 2 months from now on. Is saying yes consistent with her job prospect? Is answering no consistent with what her boyfriend would answer?
  • Also make sure that nothing significant has changed since she was granted the eTA.
  • 1
    I’m just really scared because they might deny her from entering Canada for some reason and I’ve been really stress about this. We’re both scared. I have watched people in Border security show that were rejected and heard a lot of stories about it. Plus her English is not as good like elementary English. I’ve doing best teaching her. Sigh
    – Latrell
    Dec 12, 2022 at 18:42
  • 1
    @Latrell You mention that your gf’s proposed second visit is to celebrate your 1 year together. Have you considered visiting your gf in Japan? Immigration officers might like to see reciprocal visits rather than one way
    – Traveller
    Dec 13, 2022 at 1:15
  • I can’t visit yet because I’m in school. I’ll be visiting her next year November. I’m also just waiting for my Canadian Citizenship
    – Latrell
    Dec 13, 2022 at 2:55
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    @Latrell I didn’t say it was necessary, nor that they won’t allow her to visit, I commented only that reciprocal visits can be seen as a positive. “Yes, my boyfriend has visited me in my home country” is a better reply than “no, he has never visited me”.
    – Traveller
    Dec 13, 2022 at 11:40
  • 1
    School I can see as an obstacle to foreign travel, but unless Japan has banned (or otherwise made it extremely difficult to get a visa), I can't see how your current country of citizenship would prevent you from visiting her. Unless, of course, there are restrictions in place on your current visa to CA that would prevent you from doing additional traveling.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 13, 2022 at 14:44

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