When it Comes to Visas to Enter a Country, Never Assume!

When top-seeded professional tennis player Novak Djokovic was denied entry into Australia so he could defend his Australian Open title, many tennis fans around the world cried “foul.”


Djokovic’s supporters wondered what the issue was. Australia’s Department of Immigration had granted a visa. The problem though was Djokovic had not been vaccinated against COVID-19. Like other countries around the world , Australia requires proof of vaccination in order for foreigners to be allowed in, unless a valid medical exemption can be shown. Djokovic had assumed he was vaccine exempt because although he had tested positive for COVID on December 16, 2021, he was asymptomatic at the time he flew to Australia, and so had assumed he could get into the country. However, after a few uncertain days that included a stay in an immigration detention centre and a court appearance, Australia’s immigration minister cancelled Djokovic’s visa on public policy grounds citing a risk to the health of Australians.


What is the purpose of a visa? Many people assume that a visa is a document that a host country grants to a foreign national which carries the right to enter the country for the purpose it was issued, be it to enter as a tourist, businessperson, student, or other purposes. However, that is not the case. All that a visa grants is the right to board a plane or other means of transportation to a point of entry of that country. Immigration and Customs officials retain the right to refuse entry for any number of grounds, which can include as in Djokovic’s case public health and safety concerns.


Because of its reputation as an advanced country which rates high on the United Nations’ Human Development Index, Canada is a highly desirable place to visit, study, work, and emigrate to. There are different types of visas that can be applied for at a Canadian embassy or consulate in an applicant’s country:· Visitor visa· Student visa· Work visa· Permanent Resident visa· Business Immigrant visa· Express Entry Program visa.


It is incumbent on applicants who wish to enter Canada for whatever purpose to fully inform themselves of the requirements and to comply with them. For more information, visit https://visaguide.world/canada-visa/. Unlike the tennis star who found himself escorted by Australian immigration officers to a plane out of the country, do not assume that the rules – in this case, vaccination requirements in response to the largest global pandemic in decades – do not apply to you.

By Brian Seaman, LL.B.

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