Entry/Exit Initiative: Enhancing border security and the integrity of immigration programs
On December 7, 2011, Prime Minister Harper and President Obama released the Beyond the Border Action Plan for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness. As part of the Action Plan, Canada and the United States (U.S.) committed to establishing a coordinated entry and exit information system, including a system which permits sharing information so that the record of a land entry into one country can be utilized to establish an exit record from the other.
Benefits of the Initiative
Aimed at helping identify threats as early as possible through a common approach to perimeter screening, the Entry/Exit Initiative will allow both countries to:
- identify persons who potentially overstay their lawful period of admission;
- better monitor the departure of persons subject to removal orders;
- verify that applicants are meeting their residency requirements for continued eligibility in immigration programs; and
- better manage the border, including making more focused policy decisions.
When and how this initiative is being implemented
The Entry/Exit Initiative is being phased in gradually:
Phase I – Testing the validity of establishing a coordinated entry/exit information system
During Phase I, which began on September 30, 2012 and continued until January 15, 2013, both countries tested their capacity to exchange and reconcile biographic entry information of third-country nationals (non U.S. or Canadian citizens), permanent residents of Canada who are not U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. who are not Canadian citizens having crossed at four land ports of entry in British Columbia/Washington State and Ontario/New York.
A joint report on the findings of Phase I released on May 13, 2013 validated the initiative's concept: that a traveller's record of entry in one country can serve as a record of exit from the other.
Phase II – Expansion to all automated common land border ports of entry
Phase II, which began on June 30, 2013, builds on the success of Phase I and exchanges entry data on third-country nationals, permanent residents of Canada who are not U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. who are not Canadian citizens, at all automated land border ports of entry (land, ferry and pedestrian), which includes all major land border crossings.
For Phase II, there will be no information shared on Canadian or U.S. citizens, Registered Indians, or protected persons.
Both Canada and the U.S. remain dedicated to the full implementation of the Entry/Exit Initiative, to enhance security through a common approach to perimeter screening.
Phases III and IV of the Entry/Exit Initiative
- For Phase III, Canada and the U.S. have committed to exchange routinely collected biographical information (such as name, date of birth, and nationality/citizenship) on the entry of all travellers at all automated common land border ports of entry, such that a record of entry into one country would be considered a record of exit from the other.
- In Phase IV, Canada has committed to developing a system to establish the collection of exit records in the air mode. This will require airlines to submit passenger manifest information on all travellers on outbound international flights.
Legislative and regulatory changes are required before these phases can be fully implemented in Canada.
The Government of Canada is ensuring the privacy of Canadians. Strict safeguards and agreements are and will be in place to protect Canadians' personal information gathered and shared under the Entry/Exit Initiative.
Protecting the privacy of personal information
Both Canada and the U.S. are committed to safeguarding the privacy of personal information. The process of collecting and sharing personal information has been, and will continue to be done, in accordance with each country's privacy laws and policies. It will also be consistent with the Beyond the Border Action Plan Joint Statement of Privacy Principles.
The CBSA is committed to maintaining an open dialogue with stakeholders and to ensuring that their views and perspectives are considered in the implementation of the Entry/Exit Initiative.
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- Biographic entry information
- Biographic information includes: first name, middle name, last name, date of birth, nationality, gender, document type, document number, and document country of issuance. In addition to the biographic information that Canada and the U.S. currently collect on travellers at ports of entry, the date and time of entry, as well as the port through which the traveller entered, will be exchanged as part of the Entry/Exit Initiative.
- Third-country national
- A third-country national means a person who is not a citizen of Canada or a citizen or national of the United States under each country's respective laws.
- Permanent resident of Canada
- A permanent resident of Canada is a person who has acquired permanent resident status and subsequently has not lost that status under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
- Lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
- A lawful permanent resident of the United States is a person who has been lawfully admitted for permanent residence, as defined in section 101(a)(20) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended.
- Automated common land border port of entry
- An automated common land border port of entry has primary processing capacity to capture traveller (land, ferry and pedestrian) passage as an electronic record. All major land border crossings are automated and would be part of Phase II of the Entry/Exit Initiative. However, large cruise vessels are not included as they are deemed to be undertaking sea crossings under the laws of Canada and the U.S.
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