For anyone who is planning on visiting the Great White North or is finally returning after quite some time abroad, it’s best to expect that the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) will be the very first party to greet you as soon as you arrive.
Before you even get to enter Canada once again, chances are that you’ll have to undergo an examination with the CBSA so that the authorities can take the necessary steps to determine your admissibility. The concept of admissibility, however, is not only limited to who you are and your current status, but it can also include other aspects, such as your digital devices, which each undergo a digital device examination.
What is a digital device examination?
This type of inspection or exam, to put it simply, can be best defined as a dedicated effort taken by CBSA to fulfill its set policies on digital devices at ports of entry. Generally, examinations are conducted on various types of applicable electronics which are capable of storing data that a person entering the country may have on them at any time, such as:
- Cellphones or smartphones
- Computers or laptops
Why is it conducted in the first place?
Similar to any other part of the inspection and border control process at ports of entry, the digital device examination itself is carried out with a significant amount of reason in mind.
In most cases, this inspection or examination is only carried out if a border officer has reason to believe that any device on a person contains forms of evidence that breach border laws. Additionally, officers are more likely to examine your devices if they have any underlying concerns regarding your identity and the goods you carry with you or if you’ve failed to comply with Canadian laws or regulations.
How the process is carried out
Throughout the examination process itself, an authorized CBSA personnel will begin the inspection by asking you a series of essential questions before checking your device.
During the questioning, you will also be asked to provide the password of the device that will be subject to inspection. It is always important to comply with this part of the review because failing to do so will result in having your device seized. When it comes to the actual examination process, the officer in charge must switch your device to airplane mode so that their access is solely limited to data stored on the device.
Once the officer determines that your device does not breach any standards of the country or raise concerns, only then will it be given back to you, and you’ll be free to cross the border! However, if they do have an interest in your device, you can contest the seizure itself and arrange for a return of your device after 30 days once it’s cleared.
Regardless of where you’re coming from, it’s vital to have a set of expectations and a proper understanding of what the digital device examination process entails to ensure that you enter the process with the right expectations. At the same time, make sure that you comply with all the laws of the land so that you can enter with many complications!
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