Past criminal convictions are the primary cause of denial in Canada. Canada usually does not categorize crimes as misdemeanors and felonies; as a result, even certain apparently minor convictions may render a person unacceptable to Canada. The serious impediment to immigrants or to travel to Canada can be criminal inadmissibility. Therefore, candidates need to be warned about these matters in order to avoid being refused by the government.
What does criminal inadmissibility mean?
According to Canada’s immigration law, if people are “inadmissible”, they may be accepted to immigrate to Canada. Therefore, a Canadian immigration officer will decide if you can enter Canada when you:
- apply for a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or
- when you arrive at a port of entry.
However, there are other reasons that can make you fail to move into Canada, such as security, criminal or medical reasons.
Types of Crimes That May Cause Immigration Issues
Under Canada’s immigration law, if you have committed or been convicted of a crime, you may not be allowed into Canada. In other words, you may be “criminally inadmissible.”
This includes both minor and serious crimes, such as:
- Dangerous driving,
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and
- Possession of or trafficking in drugs or controlled substances.
You can find a list of criminal offenses in the Criminal Code of Canada and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
If you were convicted of a crime when you were under the age of 18, you may still be able to enter Canada.
If you’re inadmissible to Canada
Normally, if you’re inadmissible to Canada, you won’t be allowed to enter the country. However, there are other ways for you to overcome your criminal inadmissibility.
a. Temporary resident permit
If you have a valid reason to travel to Canada that is justified in the circumstances, we may issue you a temporary resident permit. A temporary resident permit lets you enter or stay in Canada if:
- it has been less than five years since the end of your sentence or
- you have valid reasons to be in Canada.
If you have a valid reason to travel to Canada, but you are inadmissible, we may issue you a temporary resident permit. An immigration or border services officer will decide if you need to enter or stay in Canada outweighs the health or safety risks to Canadian society.
Even if the reason you are inadmissible seems minor, you must show that your visit is valid.
b. Other ways to be admissible
If you’ve committed or been convicted of a crime, you have a few options to overcome your criminal inadmissibility.
In case you are inadmissible, you may become admissible again if you:
- satisfy an immigration or border services officer that you meet the legal requirements to be deemed rehabilitated;
- apply for individual rehabilitation and get approved; or
- receive a pardon or record suspension.
Visits considered justified could include family emergencies or business conferences. Pleasure trips are normally not considered justified in the circumstances.
This permit has a processing fee of C$200.
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