A list of some of the common crimes that may make someone criminally inadmissible to Canada, and steps to overcome inadmissibility.
Generally speaking, any act that is illegal both in the country where it took place and in Canada creates the potential for inadmissibility issues. That being said, the Canadian government offers options to allow newcomers to overcome inadmissibility.
Some of the common offenses that may impact a person’s ability to enter Canada include the following:
- driving offenses involving alcohol or drugs;
- reckless driving;
- fraud such as theft or knowingly using bad cheques or a credit card that has been revoked or cancelled;
- assault; and
- drug offenses.
Within these offenses are different degrees of severity. In Canada, crimes that carry a maximum prison sentence of less than 10 years are considered non-serious. These crimes are oftentimes non-violent offenses such as theft or fraud under $5,000. If the maximum prison sentence of an offense is 10 years or more it would fall under serious criminality. These offenses may include DUIs, assault causing bodily harm, or crimes involving a weapon.
Criminal inadmissibility may not spell the end of your Canadian travels. Here are three options for overcoming inadmissibility to consider before you travel to Canada with a criminal history.
Temporary Resident Permits
A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is a temporary option for those seeking entry to Canada. TRPs are oftentimes only valid for the length of the applicant’s visit to Canada.
When submitting your TRP application, you need to explain to the border officials why you intend to come to Canada. The authority reviewing your application will then consider whether the benefits of your visit outweigh the potential risks to Canadian society. Among the things they will consider include the number of offenses you have committed, the nature of the offense, and the duration of time has elapsed since the offense.
Criminal rehabilitation is a permanent solution, unlike the TRP. If at least five years have passed since you completed your sentence, you could be eligible to apply for this option.
Upon a successful application for criminal rehabilitation, your criminal history will no longer be grounds for inadmissibility into Canada as long as you do not commit another crime.
The fees to apply for this option differ depending on the nature of your crime. The Canadian government translates your foreign crime to the Canadian equivalent to determine whether to charge you application fees for non-serious criminality ($200 CAD) or for serious criminality ($1,000 CAD).
After 10 years have passed since you completed your sentence, you may be deemed rehabilitated, provided your crime was non-serious. You may be able to benefit from this if you only have a single non-serious conviction on your record. If you have more than one conviction, you must apply for criminal rehabilitation. Otherwise, you can be automatically deemed rehabilitated and not need to apply for rehabilitation, but in this case a legal opinion letter drafted by a lawyer could be of great benefit to you when you are meeting with border officials.
Legal Opinion Letter
A Legal Opinion Letter from a Canadian immigration lawyer can be combined with any of the above options. These letters can explain to Canadian border officials why you should be allowed to visit Canada. It can also be a beneficial option if you have a pending charge but have not been convicted.
It is important to make adequate preparations in advance of your journey to Canada so you do not get turned away at the border due to your previous conviction. Advice from a Canadian immigration lawyer can help.