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CBSA - what information do they collect and how long do they keep it in their database

CBSA - what information do they collect and how long do they keep it in their database

The information can be divided into two types – entry data and exit data.

If you fly into Canada, the airport border service collects the following data: entry data, exit data, all the information you declared on the arrival declaration form on the plane, your surname, first name, passport details, flight ticket details, and flight details.

This information is stored in the general border service database for three years. After this period, it is transferred to another backup server, where all information, including your picture, is retained for 15 years.

The same data is collected and stored if you enter Canada through the United States.

Exit data:

All data regarding your departures have been collected by the CBSA directly from airline carries since June 25, 2020.

Canadian border officers have been collecting data on foreign residents leaving Canada through the United States since June 30, 2013. This information is collected by U.S. border officers and immediately entered into a shared Canada-U.S. database.

Since July 11, 2019, Canadian border officers have been collecting and storing exit data for all Canadian residents, including citizens and those with PR status. This information is stored for 15 years.

And the most interesting part, which Ministries the Canada Border Services Agency shares its data with:

  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)
  • Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC – Service Canada)
  • The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

I would like to draw your attention to the last cooperation.

Example: when you fly into Canada and declare 80,000 dollars, and then apply for social assistance, this information becomes known to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) after a year or two (as you will be filing a tax return), and the CRA's records will show the money you declared at the airport. The following occurs: the CRA sends you a request and an audit asking for an explanation of your situation. If you are caught in fraud, the CRA will eventually share the fact that you brought in 80,000 dollars with the Immigration Department. This can lead to a case being opened and charges for financial fraud.

This is a very basic example, and I can provide hundreds of such examples.

Be consistent and keep in mind that sometimes, hiding facts from one Ministry can negatively affect your immigration status.

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