Any person currently charged with or previously convicted of any criminal offence inside or outside of Canada may be prohibited from visiting, working, studying or applying for permanent residence in Canada. Even offences as seemingly minor as some moving traffic violations may render an individual inadmissible to Canada. Examples of convictions that could make a person inadmissible to Canada include: Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving With Ability Impaired (DWAI), Theft, Petty Theft/Larceny (Shoplifting), Assault, Disorderly Conduct, Obstruction of Justice.
There are, however, ways of coming to Canada despite having criminal convictions in the past:
- Criminal Rehabilitation: If an individual was convicted of one or more offences and more than 5 years have elapsed since the completion of the imposed sentence(s), including probation, that person is eligible to submit an Application for Criminal Rehabilitation. This application involves providing information about the conviction(s) and providing proof that the applicant has been rehabilitated and is not likely to re-offend.
- Temporary Resident Permit (TRP): If a person was convicted of an offence and less than 5 years has elapsed since the most recent conviction, the individual is technically criminally inadmissible to Canada. However a Temporary Resident Permit allows a person to be admitted to Canada for a specific purpose. This application involves showing why it is necessary for the applicant to enter Canada and why he or she is not a risk to Canadian society.
- Deemed Rehabilitation: If an individual was only convicted of one offence and the equivalent Canadian offence does not carry a maximum sentence of 10 years or more, the person is deemed to have been rehabilitated. No application is required, but proof of completion of the sentence must be properly provided.
- Non-Convictions: Some sentences such as deferred adjudication or conditional discharges are not considered convictions for the purposes of Canadian immigration. Because sentencing varies from state to state and country to country, each case must be examined on its own merits.
The misdemeanor-felony distinction in U.S. law is not an important distinction for the purposes of Canadian immigration, because even misdemeanor convictions may result in criminal inadmissibility for the purposes of Canadian immigration.
Campbell Cohen has experience dealing with all types of criminality-related immigration issues. Contact us for more information about the preparation of a legal opinion.