Frequently asked questions about inadmissibility to Canada

Posted Aug 14, 2022 8:00 a.m. EDT

Before entering Canada, the country has admissibility requirements that every foreign national must meet. These requirements include passing a criminal background check and medical exams.

If you are a foreign national who has been arrested or convicted of a criminal offence, you may be considered inadmissible to Canada. Foreign convictions and arrests are compared to Canadian laws and standards to determine a person’s criminal inadmissibility.

What a person must do to overcome inadmissibility will depend on whether the offense has been classified (serious or non-serious) and the time that has elapsed since serving a sentence (including probation, fines, etc).

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Below are answers to frequently asked questions about being inadmissible to Canada.

1) What does inadmissible mean?

When a person is found to be inadmissible, they are not allowed to enter or stay in Canada because of a criminal record or because they have certain medical conditions.

2) Can I travel to Canada with a criminal record?

The general rule is that you cannot travel to Canada with a criminal record. However, you may become admissible to Canada if you are deemed rehabilitated. You may also be allowed to travel to Canada if you apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or if you apply and are accepted for criminal rehabilitation.

3) What does it mean to be considered pardoned and how do I qualify?

Rehabilitation removes the grounds for criminal inadmissibility. Depending on the type and number of convictions, as well as the time that has passed since the conviction, you may automatically be considered pardoned and considered admissible to Canada even with a prior criminal record.

4) What is a temporary residence permit (TSP)?

A TRP is a document that allows a criminally or medically inadmissible person to enter Canada for a temporary period. A TRP is granted in situations where a traveler has a valid reason to enter Canada and the benefits of entry outweigh the risks to Canadian society.

It is important to note that a TRP can be granted for a maximum of three years, depending on the reasons for entry, and does not require the fulfillment of a criminal sentence.

5) I have a charge dismissed and no convictions. Can I travel to Canada?

Generally, if you have been charged with an offense that was later dismissed, you are not considered inadmissible to Canada.

6) What is a criminal act?

An indictable offense generally refers to more serious offenses in the Canadian Criminal Code and carries heavier penalties than summary offences. While most crimes in the United States are equivalent to indictable offenses in Canada, many misdemeanors are also considered indictable in Canada. A thorough examination of the foreign law must be made to determine the equivalent offense under Canadian law.

7) What is a summary offence?

A summary offense generally refers to minor offenses in the Canadian Criminal Code. Although most summary misdemeanors in Canada are equivalent to misdemeanors in the United States, this is not always the case. A thorough examination of the foreign law must be made to determine the equivalent offense under Canadian law.

8) What is a mixed offence?

A hybrid offense is a criminal offense that can be prosecuted as an indictable offense or a summary conviction. Hybrid offenses are treated as indictable offenses for immigration purposes.

9) Does my impaired driving offense in the United States require me to obtain a TRP to enter Canada?

Canada has strict border crossing laws. An arrest or past conviction for impaired driving in the United States may render a person inadmissible. Depending on the time of the arrest and the end of the sentence, you may need a TRP for temporary admission to Canada.

10) Can I move/work in Canada with a DUI?

In most cases, someone who has a DUI would be considered inadmissible to Canada for 10 years after serving their sentence. However, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada once you clear your inadmissibility through the criminal pardon application. You can apply for penal rehabilitation once at least five years have passed since the end of your sentence.

If you want to work in Canada with a DUI, you may also face inadmissibility issues. When applying for a work permit, you must also apply for a TRP. If you want a longer-term solution, you can apply for a criminal pardon, which permanently removes your inadmissibility to Canada.

11) Can I apply for permanent residence in Canada if I have a criminal record?

If you have a criminal record and wish to apply for permanent residence in Canada, you must apply for a criminal pardon.

12) What is criminal rehabilitation? Who can apply for a criminal pardon?

A criminal pardon is a permanent waiver that will remove a person’s criminal inadmissibility to Canada. You may be eligible for a criminal pardon if you can show that more than five years have passed since you served all aspects of your sentence, including paying fines, completing probation, etc.

13) Can I travel to Canada with cannabis?

Even though the possession and use of cannabis for recreational purposes is legal in Canada, you cannot enter the country with it.

14) Can I enter Canada with a cannabis conviction?

A previous overseas cannabis conviction may make you inadmissible to Canada. The key to understanding a foreign conviction is to determine if there is an equivalent and what that equivalent is under Canadian law. Cannabis convictions abroad that are no longer illegal in Canada should not be a problem.

Some of the most common charges that will make you inadmissible to Canada are:

  • possession of more than 30 grams of dried cannabis (or equivalent in other forms);
  • driving under the influence of cannabis; Where
  • the illegal sale and distribution of cannabis,

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