Last Updated On 27 October 2022, 8:10 PM EDT (Toronto Time)
If you have committed or been convicted of a crime, you may not be able to enter Canada or removed from Canada. Under Canadian immigration law, you may be considered “criminally inadmissible.” However, there are certain things you could do to overcome criminal inadmissibility.
This article delves into:
- What is criminal inadmissibility?
- Your options and what you can do
- Being deemed rehabilitation
- Applying for Individual rehabilitation
- Discharged or suspended records
- Entering using a temporary resident permit
What is criminal inadmissibility for Canada?
Being deemed criminally inadmissible may include both serious and minor crimes, such as:
- dangerous driving,
- driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and
- possession of or trafficking drugs or controlled substances.
However, you may still be allowed to enter Canada if you were a minor or under 18 years when you were convicted of a crime. Furthermore, you can apply for a TRP.
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Your options and what you can do
Depending on the crime, when it occurred, and how you have behaved subsequently, you could still be permitted to enter Canada if you:
- Convince the immigration officer that you satisfy the requirements to be considered rehabilitated, or
- requested rehabilitation and received approval, or
- were issued a record suspension, or
- Possess a temporary resident permit.
Being deemed rehabilitation
According to Canadian immigration law, being considered rehabilitated implies that enough time has passed after your conviction, and your crime may no longer prevent you from entering Canada.
You may be deemed as rehabilitated depending on the following:
- The type of crime you committed
- If sufficient time has passed after you completed serving a sentence for the crime, and
- If you have committed more than one crime
Applying for Individual rehabilitation to enter Canada
The term “rehabilitation” indicates that you are less prone to commit new crimes. On that bases, you can apply for individual rehabilitation to enter Canada.
However, the decision to grant entry or not rests with the Minister or their designee. To be eligible, you must:
- Demonstrate that you meet the time frame criteria
- You’ve made progress towards recovery and have been rehabilitated
- It is very unlikely for you to commit new crimes.
In addition, at least five years should have passed since:
- Your criminal sentence, including probation, has ended, and
- The day you committed the act and became inadmissible.
You can submit all your documents at the closest Visa Application Center if you’re applying for criminal rehabilitation and your temporary resident application (visitor visa, student permit, or work permit).
Foreign nationals who require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) must first apply for criminal rehabilitation to receive one. Then, once your rehabilitation has been approved, you can apply for eTA.
If you apply for your eTA before receiving your rehabilitation, your application will be reviewed using the currently available information and might be rejected.
Similarly, suppose you are submitting a separate application for criminal rehabilitation. In that case, you must complete the application and send it by mail or courier to the immigration office in charge of your region.
Additionally, ensure that you pay the processing fees with all your applications.
The processing of these applications may take more than a year. Therefore, ensure that you plan your trip to Canada in advance.
Discharged or suspended records In Canada
Consult the Parole Board of Canada if you have been convicted in Canada and wish to apply for a record suspension, sometimes known as a pardon. If your Canadian record gets suspended, you will no longer be prohibited from entering.
However, if you got a record suspension or discharge due to your conviction in another country, consult the visa office that serves the country or region where you live. You can find out if the pardon is valid in Canada.
Doing this will ensure that a border services officer in Canada has all the information necessary to determine whether you can enter the country when you arrive. However, the officer will still verify if inadmissibility is for any other reason.
Entering Canada using a temporary resident permit
You can enter or stay in Canada on a temporary resident permit, if
- More than five years have passed since the end of your sentence or
- There is a valid reason for you to be in Canada.
If you travel to Canada for a valid reason but are still inadmissible, you may be issued a temporary resident permit. However, immigration or border services would decide if your necessity to enter or remain in Canada weighs against any health or safety of Canadian society.
Additionally, you must demonstrate the validity of your visit even if the reason you are not allowed to enter appears minor.
You can find the list of other criminal offices in the Criminal Code of Canada.
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