So I have spent a good bit of time in Canada, 3 trips of 3 months stay in the last two years. I have had no problems getting into and out of Canada in the past. I plan on going to Calgary again in February of next year and wondering the difficulties I might run into by going without a return ticket to Ireland.

Small big of background on me, I play poker professionally and when entering Canada I always told immigration that I was travelling and meeting friends (which I was) and never really mentioned my poker lifestyle. I plan on going to Vegas in the summer and potentially going back to Calgary again for the remainder of the year. Playing poker as a professional in Ireland means I dont have to pay taxes so im not exactly in the system when it comes to work.

So I guess my question is am I doing anything wrong here? What stumbling blocks if any can I face here? Also will I have some problems getting into Canada without a return flight? Should I mention I am there primarily to play/gamble in poker? I will be bringing a substantial amount of money in cash that I can survive on for my duration of the stay.

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    Seems to me that yes, you are in fact, "doing something wrong here." Playing poker is your source of income, which means playing poker is not recreation, to you, but in fact is your livelihood, your "work". So, using a tourist visa to enter Canada to "visit friends" is a lie, if you are visiting those friends in order to play poker (and thereby earn a living).
    – CGCampbell
    Nov 22, 2015 at 14:25
  • Wait, my reasons for going to canada are to see my friends, to see the country, to see a girl (forgot to mention that) and to survive in that country i play some poker to keep me ticking over. Yes poker is my source of income but i still consider it recreation also, what are my options. At my last trip having gone through vegas an officer asked me if i had won money in vegas to which i replied "yes". He then said "hope it continues for you" to which i replied "me too" Nov 22, 2015 at 15:12
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    If you are in Canada on a tourist visa, or no visa, you are not allowed to work. It doesn't matter if you are going to visit friends as well. If you were just playing poker for fun it would be different. Nov 22, 2015 at 22:35

2 Answers 2


Is there a particular reason for not holding a return ticket for this next trip? Is the length of the trip totally undecided? Have you always held a return ticket on previous trips?

Without wishing to directly contribute to your illegal activities in Canada, is there any impediment to your purchasing a return ticket where you can change the date for little or no cost? Or perhaps even cancel the flight for a full refund?

  • Welcome to Travel! Hopefully you'll remain a bit and answer some more questions.
    – CGCampbell
    Nov 26, 2015 at 0:38

What stumbling blocks if any can I face here?

Repeated stays or any sign that you are working/generating an income or building a relationship might suggest that you are not genuinely visiting Canada and might be tempted to stay there illegally or otherwise squirt the rules. Not being able to demonstrate clear ties to your country of origin (you apparently have no job and no partner in Ireland since both are in Canada…) compound the problem. You could therefore be denied entry and “invited” to apply for a proper immigrant visa/permit as applicable (with no guarantees that this would work either).

Should I mention I am there primarily to play/gamble in poker?

Playing poker (and seeing your lover) certainly sound like material facts. In this context, claiming to be “visiting friends” (or worse, “doing tourism” as other people sometimes do) is deceptive, especially when you are really going to Canada primarily to play poker, per your own admission.

In principle, you should explain what you are really doing in Canada or at least be comfortable doing so, even if you don't volunteer any information without being asked. The fact that you have not been entirely forthcoming in the past suggests that you are (rightly) concerned it could be a problem.

Also will I have some problems getting into Canada without a return flight?

I don't know whether holding a return ticket is a strict requirement in Canada but not having one can often be a problem in other places. It's particularly important for you because you want to avoid extra scrutiny, which could raise questions about your past stays and bring up all the issues I mentioned before. The ticket is not even your most pressing problem, playing fast and loose with it is a very bad idea in your situation.

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    In the TV show Canada Border Security from National Geographic (documentary-style about different real-life scenarios that take place at airports, land and sea borders) custom officials repeatedly use the fact of not having a return ticket as an indication of an intention to remain (illegally) in Canada.
    – yms
    Nov 24, 2015 at 18:22

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