Will I be Denied Entry to Canada with a Criminal Record

Denied entry into Canada with an Criminal Record

The Canada Border Service Agency has very strict health and safety regulations when it comes to who can enter Canada. One reason why you may be denied entry is due to ‘criminal inadmissibility’. If you have ever committed or been convicted of a crime, whether it is a minor or serious offence, you could be denied entry into Canada. For many this may come as a shock, especially as your crime may have been a minor offence for which no jail time was sentenced that occurred over 20 years ago; even a situation such as this can render you inadmissible.

Whether you are unsure if you are going to be denied entry, or if you have already been denied entry into Canada because of your criminal history, you may still be able to overcome your criminal inadmissibility, and enter Canada. Understanding what makes you inadmissible, and the options for how to overcome this can help you determine which option is best for you.

Am I criminally inadmissible?

You may be considered criminally inadmissible if:

  • You have been convicted of an offence while in Canada in the past
  • You were convicted of an offence outside of Canada that is considered a crime in Canada
  • You committed an act outside of Canada that is considered a crime in that country, and would also be punishable under Canadian law

If your charges have been withdrawn or dismissed:

  • If the offence happened within Canada you are NOT inadmissible
  • If the offence happened outside Canada, you MIGHT be considered inadmissible

Absolute or conditional discharge:

  • If the offence happened within Canada you are NOT inadmissible
  • If the offence happened outside Canada you MIGHT be inadmissible

You were granted a pardon:

  • If the offence happened within Canada you are NOT inadmissible (if pardoned under the Criminal Records Act)
  • If the offence happened outside Canada you MIGHT be inadmissible

If any of the above cases apply to you as ‘might be inadmissible’, you will have to provide the Officer determining you admissibility with complete details regarding all of your charges, convictions, court documents, pardons, proceedings, etc. so that they can determine if you will be granted entry into Canada.

How do I overcome Criminal inadmissibility if I am denied entry to Canada?

Outside Canada Offences

If you committed or were convicted of crimes that took place outside of Canada, you may be able to overcome criminal inadmissibility through:

Deemed Rehabilitated

if you have committed or were convicted of a crime, that had the offence occurred in Canada would be punishable by a maximum sentence of 10 years or less; and 10 years or more have passed since the completion of your sentence, you could be automatically considered ‘deemed rehabilitated’, and allowed to enter Canada. To be eligible, you cannot have committed any other criminal offences since the completion of your sentence.

Apply for criminal rehabilitation

If you have committed or were convicted of a crime, that had the offence occurred in Canada would be punishable by a maximum sentence of 10 year or less OR 10 years or more; and at least 5 years have passed since the completion of your sentence, you are eligible to apply for criminal rehabilitation. If approved, you will receive a permanent pardon for your previous crimes, and they will no longer be considered when determining your admissibility.

Temporary Resident Permit

If it has been less than 5 years since the end of your sentencing, or if you need to enter Canada unexpectedly; you may be eligible to enter Canada with a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). A Temporary Resident Permit is not a permanent pardon, and the duration will be determined by the Officer processing your TRP; it could grant you entry to Canada from anywhere between 1 day, to 3 years. This means you will be considered ‘admissible’ to Canada for the duration of your TRP, but will have to either reapply for a new TRP once your current one expires, or apply for Criminal Rehabilitation if you are eligible, otherwise you will once again be considered ‘inadmissible’ to Canada

Inside Canada Offences

If you were convicted of a crime while previously in Canada, you will have to apply for a record suspension/pardon from the Parole Board of Canada before you can be considered admissible to Canada. In order to be eligible for a record suspension, a specific time period must pass after the end of your sentence (i.e. fine, probationary period, imprisonment, etc.)

If you have committed or been convicted of crimes both inside Canada and outside Canada, you must be approved for both a Canadian pardon/record suspension and for rehabilitation before you are considered admissible to Canada.

Processing times for rehabilitation and temporary resident permit applications

You may know well in advance that you are planning to travel to Canada (such as a vacation), or it may be very short notice (such as a death in the family); either way there are options that may work for you:

Deemed rehabilitated

This can be determined by the officer directly at the port of entry when you arrive in Canada. The decision is ultimately up to the Officer considering your admissibility; therefore it is important to have any relevant documentation and information on hand.

Application for criminal rehabilitation

This must be applied for well in advance, through your closest Canadian Consulate. The processing time ranges from 6-18 months depending on the severity of your offences.

Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)

This can be applied for in advance through your closest Canadian Consulate (processing time is typically 1-6 months) OR directly at the border ‘same-day’. It is important to remember that if you apply at the port of entry, if your application is rejected, you will immediately have to return to your home country.

What are my chances of being allowed to enter Canada with a criminal history?

If you have a criminal history but would like to enter Canada, your best chances of overcoming you criminal inadmissibility is by presenting the strongest case possible. Having an expertly prepared application and all of the crucial supporting documentation to demonstrate that you have undergone a character change, are remorseful for your previous offences, and that you are under no circumstances going to reoffend while in Canada will give you the best chance possible at receiving an approval.

Contact Akrami and Associates

Akrami & Associates has a wealth of experience in helping our clients overcome their criminal inadmissibility; allowing them entry into Canada to experience all this great country has to offer. Whether you are looking to apply for rehabilitation, a TRP, or you need counseling on how to complete an interview with the Officer upon arrival to Canada, we are here to help. Do not let your past affect your ability to enjoy today, contact us for a consultation regarding your case! With Akrami & Associates there is always a way.

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