Applying for a Canadian Visa? Expect it to be checked in the United States

A new Canadian and United States information sharing agreement that was recently signed will ensure that anyone who applies for a visa to enter Canada will also be checked against immigration database in the United States to make sure they are not blacklisted in the US first.

Millions of Canadian visa applicants will be affected by this new measure, as about 2.2 million people apply for Canadian visas annually. Checking the identities of visa applicants for Canada against immigration databases in the United States has already started, and the United States will also be checking their own visa applicants against Canadian immigration databases and police databases. Canadian Visa Applications

But the information sharing agreement is not without its problems. For example, someone who is on a United States database and is denied a visa does not have an easy way of challenging their visa denial. In addition, many people who are on terrorist watch lists won’t be on immigration lists and violent criminals may only flag in the system if they have already been denied a visa once before.

An applicant who is denied a visa in Canada won’t be told why or whether it was because of an issue with a United States database – and if it is a mistake, it will be difficult for the denied applicant to correct the mistake. There is currently no way for the denied applicant to challenge what is in the United States database about them.

The general counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Nathalie Des Rosiers, told the Globe and Mail that Canadians may have trouble bringing people into the country because their visa application is rejected due to information in a United States database that is incorrect.

What do you think? Will this information sharing cause more problems than it solves? Should there exist a way for applicants to know what information is stored about them in a foreign country’s database when they are denied, and a way to appeal?


Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.

Tags: Canadian visa applications denied entry to Canada Denied Entry to the United States

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

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