Inadmissibility to Canada: Cross-Border Trade With the United States

Last updated: 1 July 2021

Cross-border trade is an important part of both the American and the Canadian economies.

In today’s interconnected world, this trade is significantly easier as innovations in communications technology have allowed business dealings to be effectively conducted over long distances without needing the parties involved to be physically present. Despite this being the case, and no matter how advanced technology gets, some situations in the working world might require physical participation or call for face-to-face interaction. 

For American citizens and residents with charges on their record, inadmissibility to Canada can pose problems when such situations necessitate travel north of 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. 


Those in the U.S. with a criminal record looking to travel to Canada usually experience challenges in one of two contexts:

Cross-Border Business Relationships

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.

While most of this business is unaffected by its cross-border nature, this is unfortunately often not the case for those Americans who have been arrested and/or charged with an offence. Such individuals might have serious difficulty when attempting to enter Canada, and can encounter heavy scrutiny from Canadian immigration authorities.

Many Americans may be surprised that even a seemingly minor incident on one’s record can affect their ability to carry out their work in Canada. Because most work-related trips to Canada are of a short duration and are often beneficial to the Canadian economy, individuals may not expect to be met with resistance when crossing the Canadian border. However, in many cases, no matter how significant a benefit Canada might derive from an individual being able to conduct his or her business in Canada, he or she is denied entry to the country.

If determined to be inadmissible, individuals can be refused entry to Canada. The repercussions of this can be wide ranging and have the potential to extend beyond the one particular trip not taking place. The Canadian business relationship can be jeopardized, and the individual’s employment might even be put at risk. If someone is in danger of being denied entry, there are steps he or she can to minimize the chances that their livelihood will be effected by mistakes from their past.

Conferences, Conventions, and Trade Shows

Canada is often the setting for events that are geared towards specific industries or that cater to certain groups of people with shared interests. In addition to serving as an opportunity to socialize and network with like-minded individuals and colleagues, these events often play a pivotal role in marketing a particular company’s product or service. They can also lead to collaboration and innovation within an industry, and can be revealing as to its general direction and trends.

For these reasons it is often important that Americans be able to attend these events. They may need to do so for any number of reasons and in different capacities. Some could be compelled to attend simply out of interest, others can do so for the purposes of market research, while others might be active participants or even organizers of the events. In many cases Americans are either directly or indirectly financially vested in the event, such that their inability to attend will negatively impact their bottom line.

In these situations being found inadmissible to Canada can and does cause an issue for many Americans with blemishes on their criminal record. In many situations, such individuals are turned away from the border and denied entry to Canada for the same reasons and in the same manner as described above. Criminal inadmissibility is taken seriously by Canadian immigration authorities.

Are you a Businessperson and Believe you may be Criminally Inadmissible to Canada? Find out How to Prepare Yourself Before Attempting to Enter the Country:

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.

A criminal rehabilitation application approved by the Canadian government is a permanent solution that allows indefinite travel to Canada If you have been denied entry to Canada, a Canadian immigration officer may suggest criminal rehabilitation as a method to eliminate future denials. Once an applicant is approved, they no longer require a TRP for entry to the country.

An individual who has committed or been convicted of a crime can preemptively avoid being found inadmissible to Canada. One method through which this outcome may be achieved is a legal opinion letter addressed to the judicial authority hearing the case. This letter is a document that is prepared by a Canadian immigration lawyer. In it, he or she refers to the relevant sections of Canadian law to explain the consequences a guilty verdict or finding that a person has committed a criminal act would carry for the purposes of entering Canada.

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.

CanadaVisa.com was founded in 1994 as the online presence of Campbell Cohen. 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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