Inadmissible to Canada: Discover Your Options to Visit Canada

Last updated: 29 November 2023


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Are you concerned about admissibility issues? Have you been turned away unexpectedly at the Canadian border?

Many people wishing to enter or immigrate to Canada are surprised to learn that a prior criminal record can result in a Canadian Immigration Officer refusing their entry, or application, on the basis of criminal inadmissibility. If you have been found to be criminally inadmissible to Canada, or think you may be inadmissible, it is important to know that you still have options.

We can help. Cohen Immigration Law is a leading Canadian immigration law firm with over 45 years of experience.

Table of Contents

Why Does Criminal History Affect Travel to Canada?

Canada is one of the most open countries on the planet welcoming millions of tourists, visitors, immigrants, foreign workers, and students each year. At the same time, Canada ensures each foreign national passes its admissibility requirements before they are allowed to enter the country. One of the areas that Canada screens for is your criminal background.

Approximately one million international travelers enter Canada every month.

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) place massive importance on securing the country's borders from those who may pose a risk. For this reason, they are motivated to deny entry to anyone who is likely to commit a crime during a visit to Canada.

If you have a past criminal charge in a foreign country, your admissibility to Canada is calculated based on the equivalency of the foreign criminal offence into Canadian law. If the offense translates to a summary offense, and it is your only criminal conviction, you may be considered admissible to Canada and not require permission to enter. If the translation is to one of an indictable offence, which can be defined as serious criminality, you may be considered criminally inadmissible to Canada. No matter the situation, it is always suggested to consult with a Canadian immigration attorney to understand the law and address any inadmissibility issues prior to traveling.

What is Criminal Inadmissibility in Canada?

Criminal inadmissibility is when an individual is denied entry to Canada on grounds of criminality reasons. If you have committed an act outside Canada that is an offence in both the country in which it took place and in Canada, you could be denied entry.

Here are some of the factors that may make you criminally inadmissible without ever having set foot in Canada:

  • If you were convicted in a foreign country of an act that Canadian law also recognizes as a criminal offence. You could be considered criminally inadmissible if Canada would consider your crime an “indictable offence,” which generally refers to a more serious crime. In the U.S. it is comparable to a felony.

  • If you have two non-indictable offences from separate acts, you may also be inadmissible. As the name suggests, these are less serious than indictable offences, and are generally comparable to misdemeanors in the U.S.

It is important to note that a conviction is not necessary for events that occurred outside of Canada to result in inadmissibility. In certain instances, an arrest or charge may result in questioning from Canadian border authorities.

Although the foreign equivalent of a Canadian Criminal Code infraction is the most common cause of inadmissibility, an offence that equates to a violation of any Canadian federal law can also result in inadmissibility. If you have been determined to have committed an act in a foreign country that is both an offence in that country, and an indictable offence in Canada, you may also be criminally inadmissible. The same applies to two or more crimes that are summary offences in Canada. All that is required is credible evidence that you committed the act. This category is meant to catch individuals with unresolved criminal charges.

Temporary residents and applicants for permanent residency can be deemed criminally inadmissible if they:

  • Were convicted of an offence in Canada;

  • Were convicted of an offence outside of Canada that is a crime according to the laws of both that country and Canada; or

  • Committed a crime according to the laws of another country that would also be punishable in Canada.

Keep in mind: Foreign convictions, acts, and laws are compared to Canadian laws and standards when determining an individual’s criminal inadmissibility.

If you have been found to be criminally inadmissible, or think you may be deemed inadmissible upon arrival, it is important to know that you still have options.

The Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) and Criminal Rehabilitation applications offer short and long-term solutions respectively to those found ineligible to enter due to the grounds of inadmissibility.

How Does Canada Know About your Criminal Record?

Canada and the United States share criminal history information via travel documents to ensure the safety of its inhabitants. No matter the method of which you enter Canada, you are required to show a Passport and any visa in possession to a border agent at the port of entry (land, air, sea). Once the passport has been processed, an immigration officer has access to your federal criminal history report and State police records, which in turn can result in questioning or even a denial of entry. There is no presumption of innocence at the border, so even pending charges can alert an immigration officer to further screen a traveler. Border agents at international airports also receive passenger lists and can conduct a background check on any traveler on a particular flight. If a person on an incoming flight has a criminal record, they would likely be flagged and pulled aside upon landing in Canada. If you are interested in requesting a similar report to one that can be seen at a Canadian border, it is suggested to seek out your own FBI criminal background report.

Canadian Criminal Equivalency – Why is it Important?

The Canadian criminal code is complex and finding the equivalent offense to that of one on your record can often be arduous.

In order to confirm your admissibility to Canada, you must understand the translation of your criminal record into Canadian law. Once a translation has been made, it would become easier to determine if you are able to enter the country or not. There are other barriers of entry that can exclude someone from gaining access to Canada, yet when a criminal record is the issue the translation into Canadian law is most important. If your offence has a similar equivalency to one in Canada, you may be considered inadmissible to the country. Offences such as DUI, theft or reckless driving can typically result in inadmissibility as they are crimes in Canada as well. Finding the Canadian equivalent can be difficult in scenarios where a unique or uncommon crime takes place, as a deep understanding of Canadian law is required. In these situations, it is common to seek out the assistance of a Canadian immigration lawyer.

Can I Enter Canada with an Old Criminal Record?

A common situation arises at Canadian ports of entry, a foreign traveler attempting to enter Canada with old criminal history. It is important to understand that depending on the nature of your crime(s), the time that has elapsed since completing all sentencing and its Canadian law equivalent, time can in certain cases is not a determining factor in establishing admissibility to Canada.

There are certain crimes that an individual can be deemed rehabilitated for, which involves waiting 10 years from the completion of all sentencing. If for example you have a single DUI conviction with no other criminal history, and it has been more than 10 years from completion of all sentencing, you should be considered deemed rehabilitated by the passage of time.

In circumstances where more serious criminal history is on record, for example a felony in the US, time since completing the offense may not be relevant to your admissibility to Canada. In these circumstances, you are required to apply for criminal rehabilitation in order to receive a certificate from the Canadian government which ensures you are admissible to the country.

Who is Affected by Inadmissibility to Canada?

Inadmissibility to Canada may affect a broad range of people. However, individuals in certain situations may be particularly affected from a personal and/or professional point of view. These occupations/individuals include:

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What Makes You Inadmissible to Canada?

What an individual must do in order to overcome inadmissibility and gain entry will depend on the classification of the offence and the length of time that has elapsed since the completion of the sentence. The associated application processing fees may also depend on the offence classification.

Sentences can consist of many possible sanctions - sometimes used in combination - a judge might impose to punish the commission of an offence. These can include:

  • Jail time

  • Probation

  • Fines

  • Licence suspension

  • Deportation

Note: When more than one such measure is imposed, it is the date of completion of the final one that is considered for the purposes of Canadian inadmissibility.

As a general rule, any act that is an offence in the country in which it is performed, as well as an offence in Canada, has the potential to render an individual inadmissible to Canada.

The following is a rundown of the principal offences for which most travelers may be denied entry. If you have been convicted of any of the offences listed below, the temporary resident permit (TRP) and criminal rehabilitation applications can serve as solutions.

United States Driving Offences Involving Alcohol or Drugs

In terms of inadmissibility, the most frequent U.S offences are those pertaining to driving or otherwise operating a vehicle (car, motorcycle, boat, etc.) while intoxicated. Such offences have different designations, depending on the circumstances of the infraction and where the offence was committed.

In the United States, these offences include:

  • DUI (driving under the influence)

  • DWI (driving while impaired/intoxicated)

  • DWAI (driving while ability impaired)

  • DWUI (driving while under the influence)

  • OWI (operating while intoxicated)

  • OUI (operating under the influence)

  • OMVI (operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated)

Learn more about how to get into Canada with a DUI.

Reckless Driving

A conviction for reckless driving in the U.S is often seen as similar to a DUI (or any variation thereof). While the former may be better than the latter, in terms of inadmissibility, they both carry the same effect — potential denial of entry. Dangerous driving is another analogous offence that also results in inadmissibility.

In fact, any serious driving violation has the potential of hindering an individual’s ability to legally enter the country, regardless of whether the individual in question will be driving in Canada.


Fraud is a general category of offences that includes any violation committed with the intent of depriving another party of anything of which they are the rightful owner. This other party can be an individual or a company/organization.

Theft is the most obvious offence that falls under fraud. Depending on the nature of the theft and the amount stolen, the offence will be considered more or less serious by Canadian immigration authorities.

For example, theft under $5,000 is considered a non-serious criminality, while theft over this amount is considered to constitute serious criminality. Moreover, if the theft is performed with the aid of a weapon, violence, or the threat of violence, these elements can be aggravating factors in determining the seriousness of an infraction.

The use of a credit card with the knowledge that it has been revoked or cancelled is another form of fraud that can result in inadmissibility to Canada. Using a method of payment when the individual is aware the other party will not be compensated is also an offence, as it entails deceit. The same reasoning applies to knowingly using a bad cheque, an offence which often carries with it a determination of inadmissibility.


Assault can refer to several different forms of threats and/or physical altercation that might take place between individuals. These can range from menacing words or gestures to spontaneous bar fights to passionate crimes of violence carried out with premeditation and intent. Sexual assault is a very serious kind of assault. Regardless of their place along this spectrum, most incidents of assault result in inadmissibility to Canada.

There can be certain mitigating or aggravating factors that affect the seriousness of the assault. These pertain primarily to whether a weapon was employed in carrying out the assault, and whether bodily harm was inflicted upon the victim of the assault. If a weapon was used and/or injury to the victim resulted from the assault, then this offence would be considered serious criminality.

For the purposes of Canadian inadmissibility, this finding could lead to an individual being assessed as more of a security risk by Canadian immigration authorities, and a determination of inadmissibility is more likely to ensue.

Both serious assault (using a weapon and/or inflicting bodily harm) and non-serious assault (no weapon and no bodily harm) can render an individual inadmissible. Find out more about Common Offences that make you Inadmissible to Canada.

Drug Offences

A charge for the production, possession, purchase, consumption, or distribution of drugs can all have the effect of rendering an individual inadmissible.

The nature and context of the particular offence will impact its seriousness and affect the likelihood of an individual being found inadmissible.

Drugs are classified according to different schedules in the Canada’s Criminal Code. This classification determines the nature and gravity of the offence and the severity of the punishments available to sanction its commission.

For example, possession of cannabis and the possession of cocaine are seen as very different offences. Therefore, the sanction to punish cocaine possession is usually harsher than that which applies to marijuana. 

Another example of differences in classifications is that, the possession of certain drugs under a specified amount might not result in inadmissibility, while the unauthorized distribution of the same drug in the same amount can do so.

Ways to Overcome Criminal Inadmissibility

There are three main methods available for people who wish to come to Canada but must overcome criminal inadmissibility:  

  • Submit a Temporary Resident Permit Application
  • Submit a Criminal Rehabilitation Letter
  • Legal Opinion Letter

1) Submit a Temporary Resident Permit Application

    If you are a foreign national who has been arrested or convicted for DUI or any other criminal offence, you may be considered criminally inadmissible to Canada. A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is a solution that can grant temporary access to someone who is currently inadmissible to Canada.

    A TRP application should only be submitted for significant travel and can be granted from the duration of a stay up to three years, depending on the reasons for entry. The duration of the TRP may be extended from inside Canada.

    A TRP grants legal entry to Canada for a certain period of time. A person can apply for a TRP at any point. Unlike criminal rehabilitation, a TRP is not subject to a certain time frame in relation to the completion of the sentence. In fact, an individual can be granted a TRP while still serving a portion of his or her sentence, in certain circumstances.

    Am I required to apply?

    Yes. The following examples explain when a TRP application is necessary for entry to Canada:

    • A person has been convicted outside of Canada of a crime that, if committed in Canada, is equivalent to an indictable offence punishable by a sentence of less than 10 years.

    • A person has been convicted outside of Canada of a crime that would be equivalent to a hybrid offence punishable by a sentence of less than 10 years. A hybrid offence is one that can be prosecuted in Canada either by summary process or by indictment.

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

    Offences that occur inside of Canada while here on a temporary stay may affect your ability to remain as a temporary visitor or the ability to obtain Permanent Residence (PR).

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    2) Submit a Criminal Rehabilitation Application

      Criminal rehabilitation is an application offered by the Canadian Government to those who are eligible for permanent clearance of past criminal history - for the purposes of entering Canada.

      If an individual receives an approval for criminal rehabilitation, they are no longer considered inadmissible and would not require a TRP for entry. The criminal rehabilitation application is a one-time solution that, unlike a TRP, never requires renewal.

      In order to be eligible for criminal rehabilitation:

      • You must have committed an act outside of Canada that would constitute an offence under the Canadian Criminal Code, and

      • You must have been convicted of, or admitted to, committing the act, and

      • Five years must have passed since the full sentence or sentences were completed. This phase includes jail time, fines, and probation

      The most crucial consideration is understanding the equivalent offence in Canada. What is important is the nature and gravity of the offence, as per Canada’s Criminal Code. Canadian immigration authorities distinguish criminal offences based on serious versus non-serious criminality.

      A foreign national or permanent resident may be criminally inadmissible or face removal proceedings on the grounds of serious criminality. For convictions within Canada, if they have been convicted in Canada:

      • Of an indictable offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years; or

      • Received a prison term of at least six months.

      For convictions outside Canada, if they have been convicted outside Canada of an act that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to:

      • An indictable offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years; or

      • A hybrid offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years.

      Types of Criminal Rehabilitation

      There are two forms of criminal rehabilitation that can resolve inadmissibility to Canada:

      What is the cost to apply for criminal rehabilitation?

      The criminal rehabilitation processing fees are $229.77 CAD for those with non-serious criminality and $1,148.87 CAD for those with serious criminality. A foreign national may be inadmissible for immigration to Canada on the grounds of either non-serious or serious criminality.

      How long will the processing time be for my criminal rehabilitation application?

      The typical processing times are 6-12 months from the submission of your application. If you have more questions concerning processing times or associated costs, please fill out our assessment form to speak to a lawyer at no cost.

      If you have more questions concerning processing times or associated costs, please fill out our assessment form to speak to an inadmissibility expert at no cost.

      3) Legal Opinion Letter

      An individual who has committed or been convicted of a crime can preemptively avoid being found inadmissible to Canada. One manner through which this outcome may be accomplished is a legal opinion letter addressed to the judicial authority hearing the case.

      This letter is a document that is drafted by a Canadian immigration lawyer. In it, he or she refers to the relevant sections of Canadian law to explain the consequences in Canadian immigration law a guilty verdict or finding that a person has committed a criminal act would carry. This information can help the person decide how to respond to charges of a crime and how different outcomes (conviction, sentencing, etc.) would affect that person’s ability to come to Canada.

      Depending on the circumstances, the effects of a conviction - and the resulting inadmissibility - can be severe. For example, someone whose employment entails a recurring need to enter Canada from the U.S can see his or her livelihood threatened by a determination of inadmissibility to Canada.

      Similarly, an individual with family in Canada can be prevented from seeing these family members because that individual has been found inadmissible.

      Other Immigration or Entry Obstacles

      Immigration to Canada can be a long and sometimes complicated process. Many experience one of the problems listed below.

      • Application Refusal

      Was your Canadian immigration application refused? We may be able to challenge it.

      • Medical Inadmissibility

      A medical exam is required for the principal applicant (PA) and all of his or her dependents as part of the immigration process. Learn more about what it means to be medically inadmissible for immigration to Canada and what we can do about it.

      Let our team at Cohen Immigration Law help you with your Canadian immigration application. We will discuss your immigration problem with you to properly assess how our law firm can help you.

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      Frequently Asked Questions

      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.

      A past arrest or conviction for DUI conviction in the United States can render someone inadmissible due to Canada’s strict border crossing laws.

      Depending on the dates of arrest and completion of sentencing, you may require a TRP for temporary access into Canada. The following United States impaired driving offences can impact your ability to enter Canada:

      • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
      • Driving While Under the Influence (DWUI)
      • Driving While Impaired/Intoxicated (DWI)
      • Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)
      • Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)
      • Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated (OMVI)
      • Operating Under the Influence (OUI)

      A past expungement or dismissal may still result in inadmissibility and require either a TRP or criminal rehabilitation. Please contact us for a free consultation.

      A Temporary Resident Permit is required for those who have been convicted of a crime and have yet to be considered rehabilitated by the Canadian Government.

      If it has been less than 5 years since your completion of sentence, your sole option for temporary access to Canada is via a TRP. If you are currently serving a sentence associated with a conviction, it can affect your ability to obtain a TRP.

      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.

      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 $229.77 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 $229.77 CAD. Individuals who have one or more serious offence are required to pay a processing fee of $1,148.87 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.

      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.

      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.

      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.

      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.

      The typical processing times are 6-12 months from the submission of your application. The Canadian government charges $229.77 CAD for non-serious criminality and $1,148.87 CAD for serious criminality.

      During the processing period of your Criminal Rehabilitation application, an individual can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit to enter Canada if the reason for travel is deemed significant.

      Criminal history reports from other countries and states are requirements for the Criminal Rehabilitation application.

      Request a United States federal background report.

      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 any past criminal history. If you submit a request for an eTA with a DUI conviction, you are likely to receive a denial if you have not been considered rehabilitated.

      In order to gain access to Canada, you must apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation. If the TRP has been granted by an immigration officer, your eTA will be automatically included. If you have been granted Criminal Rehabilitation, past criminal history will not affect your ability to enter Canada.

      If you are currently facing a charge of DUI with no prior criminal history, you should not be considered inadmissible to Canada. Canadian immigration officers do have the ability to use discretion in these circumstances, weighing the benefits and risks of granting entry. Canadian law, not U.S. law, applies in these circumstances. Often, a Legal Opinion Letter from a Canadian immigration lawyer can be of benefit in the event you are planning on entering Canada with a pending charge.

      In most cases, an individual who has a past DUI would be considered inadmissible to Canada for 10 years after the completion of the sentence. However, you may be able to apply for Permanent Residency in Canada once you have cleared your inadmissibility to Canada via the Criminal Rehabilitation application. In order to be eligible to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation, it must be at least five years after your completion of sentence.

      If you are exploring permanent residency with a past DUI, we suggest consulting with a Canadian immigration lawyer about your options.

      If you are planning on working in Canada with a past DUI, inadmissibility issues are likely to arise. The Canadian government requires and searches criminal background information when an individual submits a work permit application. In most cases, you must apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) to coincide with a work permit. A more long-term and permanent solution is the Criminal Rehabilitation application, which can ensure no inadmissibility issues if you plan on working in Canada in the future.

      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.

      Current NEXUS card holders are subject to the identical criminal inadmissibility laws as any individual who plans to enter Canada. A recent DUI can affect your ability to retain your NEXUS card, especially in circumstances where an individual is denied entry to Canada. U.S. citizens with a past DUI conviction will often need to get approved for Criminal Rehabilitation before they will be able to join or re-join NEXUS.

      As a Canadian citizen, you have the right to enter Canada at any time even with a DUI from the U.S. If you have questions concerning re-entering the United States, we suggest consulting with a U.S. immigration lawyer.

      Both the Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) and Criminal Rehabilitation applications can be submitted with or without legal representation. However, a Canadian immigration lawyer can be a valuable resource when an individual is exploring entry into Canada with criminal history, and even more so in preparing an application for future entry.

      Applications for a TRP and criminal rehabilitation can be difficult to understand, both for applicants and immigration officers. Sometimes otherwise acceptable applications are often denied if the applicant fails to provide the requested information or explain their situation to the officer.

      The function of a TRP or criminal rehabilitation application is to argue that the individual needs to enter Canada and does not pose a risk to Canadians. An experienced lawyer can be of assistance in the preparation of this argument. The lawyer can advise the client on which evidence to include and help develop and summarize the individual’s argument.

      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.

      People 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.

      While possession and consumption of cannabis in Canada is legal for recreational purposes, you cannot bring marijuana into the country. You must also be aware of potential inadmissibility issues if you have been convicted of a cannabis related offense. Click here to learn more on travel to Canada and marijuana.

      Yes, you can get into Canada with a misdemeanor. The process to overcome your misdemeanor to be allowed entry to Canada depends on the number and type of offences you have committed, the seriousness of the offence, and when you completed the sentence. Your options include applying for a Temporary Resident Permit or applying for Criminal Rehabilitation.

      About Cohen Immigration Law

      Cohen Immigration Law 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.

      Cohen Immigration Law 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. was founded in 1994 as the online presence of Cohen Immigration Law. Since then, CanadaVisa has grown into one of the world's most trusted resources on immigration to Canada. Please connect with us so we can support your inadmissibility needs.

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