Criminal Inadmissibility to Canada FAQ
The following is a list of frequently asked questions and answers about how past criminality may affect admissibility to Canada.
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Someone who is inadmissible is not allowed to enter or stay in Canada because of a criminal record or due to having certain medical conditions.
In general, you cannot travel to Canada if you have a criminal record. However, you may still be admissible to Canada if you are deemed rehabilitated. You may also be allowed to travel to Canada if you apply and are accepted for criminal rehabilitation, or if you apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP).
In general, if you have been charged with an offence, which was then dismissed, you are not considered to be criminally inadmissible to Canada.
Depending on the type and number of convictions, your criminal record may render you inadmissible to Canada. If you criminally inadmissible, you cannot apply for an eTA and instead must apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP).
This question is only applicable to individuals who hold citizenship of a visa-exempt country.
If you have a criminal record and want to apply for Canadian Permanent Residency, you must apply for Criminal Rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation removes the grounds of criminal inadmissibility. In some cases, depending on the type and number of convictions, as well as how much time has passed, you may be automatically deemed rehabilitated, and are considered admissible to Canada despite having a previous criminal record.
You may be deemed rehabilitated if:
- You have been convicted for two or more summary convictions and five years have passed since the sentence was completed; or
- You have been convicted of a non-serious indictable offence (e.g. DUI) and more than 10 years have passed since the sentence was completed; and
- If the crime you committed would be punishable in Canada by a maximum prison term of less than 10 years.
When a conviction has been expunged, it is deemed to have never occurred. As such, it is no longer considered a conviction, and does not render you criminally inadmissible to Canada.
}If your adjudication was withheld or deferred, and you did not violate the terms of your deferral by later committing another criminal offence, then a conviction does not exist. If you have no other criminal offences on your record, you should not be criminally inadmissible to Canada.
In general, UK cautions would not render someone criminally inadmissible to Canada.
A suspended sentence is still considered a conviction for Canadian immigration purposes.
12. I had my record sealed. Do I have to disclose my conviction in a Canadian immigration application?
Yes. Although your record is sealed, you must disclose your prior arrest, charge, or conviction in your immigration application. Depending on the type of offence and when it occurred, you may be considered criminally inadmissible to Canada, even if your record was sealed.
A hybrid offence is a criminal offence that could be prosecuted as an indictable offence or summary conviction. For immigration purposes, hybrid offences are treated as indictable offences.
An indictable offence commonly refers to more serious offences in the Canadian Criminal Code and can result in greater penalties than summary convictions. For example, Operation While Impaired is considered an indictable offence. While nearly all felonies in the United States are equivalent to indictable offences in Canada, many misdemeanor offences are also considered indictable offences in Canada, and a thorough review of the foreign law must be done to determine the equivalent offence under Canadian law.
A summary conviction commonly refers to minor offences in the Canadian Criminal Code. For example, Disturbing the Peace, is considered a summary offence. While most summary offences in Canada are equivalent to misdemeanors in the United States, this is not always the case, and a thorough review of the foreign law must be done to determine the equivalent offence under Canadian law..
A TRP is a document that allows someone who is criminally or medically inadmissible to enter Canada for a temporary period.
Individuals must apply for a TRP through the Canadian consulate responsible for processing applications in the country where they are currently residing. American citizens also have the option of applying for the TRP directly at a Canadian port of entry (land border crossing or airport).
A TRP can be granted for a one-time use (eg. a day trip) or can be granted for multiple entries for up to three years.
Immigration Canada charges $200 CAD for a TRP. Some individuals may be eligible for a one-time fee exemption depending on their offence and sentence imposed.
The processing times for a TRP vary depending on which Canadian consulate the application is submitted to. Most TRP applications take approximately three to six months to process. For American citizens who apply for a TRP at the Canadian port of entry, a decision on the TRP is made immediately by the officer reviewing the application.
If you are criminally inadmissible to Canada, you are not eligible to apply for an eTA. The TRP essentially replaces the eTA and if granted, allows you to travel to Canada.
If you are criminally inadmissible and will or have applied for permanent residence, you must also apply for criminal rehabilitation rather than a TRP. A permanent resident visa will not be approved unless a criminally inadmissible individual has also been approved for criminal rehabilitation.
Criminal rehabilitation is a permanent waiver that removes an individual’s criminal inadmissibility to Canada.
In order for an individual to be eligible to apply for criminal rehabilitation, he/she must demonstrate that more than five years has passed since they completed all aspects of their sentence, including payments of fines, completion of probation, etc.
Individuals must apply for criminal rehabilitation through the Canadian consulate responsible for processing applications in the country where they are currently residing.
Individuals who have one or more non-serious offence are required to pay a processing fee of $200 CAD. Individuals who have one or more serious offence are required to pay a processing fee of $1,000 CAD.
Applications for criminal rehabilitation include numerous documents, such as police clearance certificates, court documents, application forms and identity documents.
The processing times for criminal rehabilitation applications vary depending on which Canadian consulate the application is submitted to. Most criminal rehabilitation applications take approximately 6 to 12 months to process.
If you are not yet eligible for criminal rehabilitation and you need to come to Canada, you may be able to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). A TRP is a document that allows someone who is criminally or medically inadmissible to enter Canada for a temporary period.
30. I submitted an application for criminal rehabilitation, but it has not been approved yet and I need to travel to Canada. What do I do?
If you have a criminal rehabilitation in process and need to come to Canada, you can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). A TRP is a document that allows someone who is criminally or medically inadmissible to enter Canada for a temporary period.
A police clearance certificate (PCC) is also known as a criminal background check or rap sheet. It includes details regarding an individual’s arrests and convictions.
32. I’m applying for a TRP or Criminal Rehabilitation. When do I submit a Police Clearance Certificate?
Individuals applying for a TRP or criminal rehabilitation must include police certificates at the time an application is submitted. Individuals must include police certificates from every country where they have resided for six months or more since their 18th birthday.
Individuals who have lived, or are currently living in the United States, must submit both a federal FBI certificate and police certificates from each individual state where they have resided for six months or more.
Most countries require an individual to provide fingerprints, application forms, and a processing fee for a police clearance certificate. Detailed instructions on how to apply for a police clearance certificate for each country can be found on the government of Canada’s website.
If you cannot obtain a PCC, you should provide a written declaration explaining why you cannot obtain the document and provide evidence of the efforts you have made to get the document. Some countries or states do not provide PCCs for immigration purposes. In that case, you should ask the relevant authorities to provide a written statement confirming they do not issue PCCs.