Canada Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)

Last updated: 12 July 2021

How to Get a Canada Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) to travel to Canada and visit

Have you been arrested or convicted of a criminal offense, such as driving under the influence (DUI)? If so, you may be considered criminally inadmissible and denied entry to Canada.

A temporary resident permit (TRP) could be the solution. It is designed for use by individuals who are inadmissible to Canada, and it allows them to enter the country for a certain period, if they can demonstrate that their entry to the country is justified. 

If you are determined to be inadmissible to Canada, you will likely encounter difficulties the next time you try to cross the border.

The Campbell Cohen Immigration Law Firm can assist in your efforts to enter Canada. Simply complete our contact form and one of our experts will reach out to schedule a free consultation with you. 


Table of Contents


What is a Temporary Resident Permit?

A temporary resident permit may be issued to individuals who would otherwise be inadmissible to Canada because of health or criminality issues, permitting them to enter or stay in the country, where justified by compelling circumstances.

A temporary resident permit (TRP) grants legal entry to Canada for a certain period of time and can be applied for at any point. Unlike criminal rehabilitation, a TRP is not subject to a certain time frame in relation to the completion of the sentence, meaning that an individual can be granted a TRP while still serving a portion of his or her sentence, in certain circumstances.

TRPs are issued for the length of the stay in Canada (up to three years) and may be extended from inside Canada.

Do I Need a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)?

Once a US citizen or permanent resident is charged or convicted of a criminal offense, such as a DUI or theft, the details surrounding the offense are added to the FBI criminal history database. An agreement between the United States and Canada allows border agents at ports of entry on both sides to have access to these databases to screen travelers as they attempt to enter.

A temporary resident permit can be a helpful temporary solution to individuals who are currently criminally inadmissible to Canada. If you have been denied entry in the past, believe you are inadmissible or currently ineligible to apply for criminal rehabilitation, a TRP may be convenient for an upcoming trip. The permit can be valid from a stay up to three years, depending on the significance of your travel. The application process can be somewhat complex, as the Canadian government must ensure the safety of its citizens. Individuals who plan to enter for leisure purposes are often denied due to the lack of justification that a reason for entry should override inadmissibility. As a result, there are strict submission guidelines an applicant must follow to ensure the application is as appealing as possible.

Should I Apply for a TRP with a DUI?

The US and Canadian governments share criminal history information with each other in order to protect their citizens from any potential threats. When attempting to enter Canada with a DUI, it is important to know that a border agent can easily retrieve criminal history information by way of a Passport.

After the Cannabis Act was implemented in 2018, driving under the influence (DUI) offenses became serious criminality in Canada with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The Canadian government has concerns about individuals consuming cannabis and driving which resulted in harsher penalties for offenders.

As a result, any US Citizen or permanent resident attempting to enter Canada with a DUI on record may be considered criminally inadmissible and denied access to the country. In order to overcome inadmissibility, many individuals will apply for a Temporary Resident Permit to temporarily enter Canada for a significant reason. If you are travelling for work purposes, an emergency or even a vacation, a TRP may be a temporary solution to your inadmissibility issues. The permit can be granted from a single stay up to three years, depending on the frequency of your entries and reason for travel. Individuals not yet eligible for criminal rehabilitation may find a temporary resident permit a helpful solution to DUI inadmissibility.

Why Does Canada Deny Travelers Who Have a DUI?

In order to protect the safety and well-being of Canada and its citizens, travelers with a past charge or conviction may be considered criminally inadmissible to the country. In the case of US travelers, even minor offenses in some States such as a driving under the influence can create an admissibility issue at the Canadian border.

As of 2018, driving under the influence can now be prosecuted by up to 10 years in prison, which equates to a serious crime in Canada. Criminal inadmissibility is judged solely on the equivalency of a foreign criminal offense to that of one in Canadian law. Understanding how a DUI or any criminal offense committed in the United States would translate under Canadian law is essential. Considering DUI’s are now considered serious criminality in Canada, any individual with a past offense should be cautious and address their potential admissibility issues prior to traveling.

Reasons for Being Inadmissible

The most frequent reasons foreign nationals are deemed inadmissible to Canada include:

  • Possessing a criminal record

  • Being diagnosed with a contagious disease

  • Violating the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)

  • Being deemed a security risk

  • Misrepresenting information in order to gain entry to Canada, or to maintain immigration status

  • Being unable to demonstrate that you can financially support yourself and your family during your time in Canada

Who Needs to Apply for a Temporary Resident Permit?

In the following examples, foreign nationals would be required to apply for temporary resident permits in order to enter Canada:

  • Those convicted of a crime outside of Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to an indictable offense punishable by a sentence of less than 10 years.

  • A person that has been convicted outside of Canada of a crime equivalent to a hybrid offense, one punishable by a sentence of less than 10 years.

  • A person who has been convicted of two or more crimes that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to two summary offenses.

Offenses that occur inside of Canada while on temporary stay, visitor visa or work permit, may lead to a finding of criminal inadmissibility, which can affect your ability to remain a temporary visitor or obtain permanent residence.

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Applying for a Canadian Temporary Resident Permit

After you or your immigration lawyer have compiled all the required Canadian immigration documents to complete a TRP application, you must then submit it to the Canadian government for consideration.

If you are an American citizen or have permanent resident status in the United States, there are two places you can submit your temporary resident permit application:

  • At a Canadian consulate

  • At a port of entry to Canada (land, air or sea)

Canadian Consulate Applications

Although applying for TRPs through a Canadian consulate involves significant processing time (3-6 months), it is considered to be the best approach to submitting temporary resident permit applications to Canadian immigration authorities.

This is because a decision will be made by an experienced immigration officer who understands the various reasons why your entry could be justified.

To apply for a TRP, you will need to submit an application with supporting documents explaining the reason for your criminal inadmissibility and why your entry into Canada may be justified.

Port of Entry Applications

Applications for a temporary resident permit at a port of entry are available to foreign nationals with criminal inadmissibility issues who are making last-minute travel plans. Port of entry applications are processed immediately at airports, land crossings or sea entry points, anywhere a passport would be required to enter the country.

A Canadian immigration visa officer will consider the inadmissible person's need to enter Canada against the health and security risks to the Canadian population. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that their entry into Canada is justified.

The primary advantage of applying in this manner is the speed with which a person can acquire a TRP, which may be granted in a matter of minutes.

The main disadvantage of a port of entry application is the uncertainty; you don’t know whether your application will be approved or denied by the immigration officer that handles your case. If denied, you will not be allowed to enter Canada until you have received an approval from a Canadian consulate.

If you are a citizen of a visa-exempt country, you will need to apply for a temporary resident permit based on the guidelines set out by your specific country, as the application form may be different.

Government Application Fee

A fee of $200 CAD applies for each temporary resident permit application submitted.

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Frequently Asked Questions

A past arrest or conviction for DUI can render someone inadmissible due to Canada’s strict border crossing regulations.

Depending on the dates of arrest and completion of sentencing, you may be required to submit a temporary resident permit application for access into Canada.

The following US drunk driving offenses can impact your ability to enter Canada:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI)

  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI)

  • Driving while impaired (DWI)

  • Driving while ability impaired (DWAI)

  • Operating while intoxicated (OWI)

  • Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OMVI)

  • Reckless driving

The decision to grant a temporary resident permit to circumvent a drunk driving or other conviction rests with Canada border services at either a consulate or port of entry. Individuals not yet eligible for criminal rehabilitation may find a temporary resident permit a helpful solution to DUI inadmissibility.

Yes, in all likelihood they will experience issues at the Canadian border, however, the temporary resident permit may be a solution for those not eligible for criminal rehabilitation.

Canada is an important hub for the airline industry, both in terms of travel destinations and connections to other countries. This heavy volume entails the need for many airline employees in various occupations to travel freely in and out of Canada. It is important that pilots, flight deck crew, and cabin crew not be restricted in terms of their ability to enter the country legally.

In addition to current airline personnel, criminal inadmissibility can affect those aspiring to join the airline industry as well. Most airlines require a detailed background check for potential employees, and many airlines will not employ somebody who has a criminal record.

For this reason, it is important to investigate how to resolve your criminal inadmissibility even before applying to jobs in this industry.

Learn more about airlines and inadmissibility

Cross-border trade is an important part of both the American and the Canadian economies. A temporary resident permit can allow temporary travel into Canada for justified reasons.

Many Americans have work-related ties in Canada, the nature and importance of which vary widely depending on the circumstances. Whether going to see a client, an employer, a supplier or a distributor, the need to travel to Canada is not uncommon for certain Americans who have dealings with Canadian companies or residents.

Unfortunately, Americans who have been arrested and/or charged with an offence might have serious difficulty when attempting to enter Canada and can encounter heavy scrutiny from the Canadian immigration officers.

Due to its unique geographical location in relation to the rest of the United States, the state of Alaska is often at the center of many Canadian inadmissibility issues. A Temporary Resident Permit can be a short-term solution to a brief stay in Canada.

For those looking to travel by car from Alaska to the “lower 48”, or vice versa, a drive through Canada is a necessary leg of the journey. Because of this, an individual who is inadmissible to Canada and who has not taken the appropriate steps to resolve his inadmissibility will most likely have difficulty completing the trip unless they are granted a temporary resident permit.

Those who are taking part in an Alaskan cruise, may too require entry to Canada as a port location for a particular leg of a journey. It is important to note that no matter how long an individual is in Canada as part of an Alaskan cruise, even if they don’t get off the boat, they can be determined to be criminally inadmissible and require a temporary resident permit.

No, as a temporary resident permit holder, you are only authorized to enter Canada as a temporary visitor. A work or study permit, or a temporary resident visa (TRV) is not the same as a temporary resident permit.

These documents are marked as visas, study or work permits. TRPs are only issued in circumstances where the applicant is inadmissible to Canada and at the discretion of the processing officer reviewing the application.

Yes, all performers and artists, regardless of their celebrity and the length of time they will be spending in Canada, should be mindful of any potential criminal inadmissibility problems they might face.

Yes, even with a medical issue, you could be granted entry. In certain circumstances, for temporary stays in Canada, an individual who does not meet the Canadian medical requirements may be granted a temporary resident permit (TRP) to enter Canada.

Individuals requiring an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) in order to visit Canada are asked to fill out some personal information and answer a few basic questions relating to criminality or medical issues. If you submit a request for an eTA with a criminal record, your application is likely to be denied.

In order to gain access to Canada, you must submit an application for a temporary resident permit. If the permit has been granted by an immigration officer, your estimated time of arrival (ETA) will be automatically included.


About Campbell Cohen

Campbell Cohen is one of Canada's leading immigration law firms. We have over 45 years of experience and feature a team of over 60 Canadian immigration attorneys, paralegals, and other dedicated professionals.

Campbell Cohen uses its expertise to help clients overcome inadmissibility issues. Our team of inadmissibility lawyers and professionals will work to understand your situation and then submit the strongest possible application to Canadian immigration authorities.

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