Inadmissibility to Canada: Performing Artists

Last updated: 29 November 2023

No matter how high profile a performing artist might be, anybody who has charges on their record is at risk of refusal when attempting to enter Canada.

The 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. 

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Many Canadian cities, including Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, have a vibrant live music and performing arts scene. Although there is no shortage of local talent, much of the live entertainment that takes place in these cities comes from foreign nationals who are in Canada temporarily. Because they must cross over the Canadian border to perform, inadmissibility issues can arise and artists can be denied entry, resulting in last minute show cancellations and disappointed audiences.

While an individual’s notoriety might lend some importance to their reason for travel, fame and fortune by no means guarantees that this individual will be permitted to enter Canada. Several “A-list” celebrities have been refused entry or told they could not enter Canada in recent years. These include singers, actors, DJs, dancers, comedians, celebrity speakers, and any members of their supporting crew. The short amount of time these individuals will be in the country also does not mean they will be allowed to enter. Even people who are merely transiting through Canada with a connecting flight must usually address any inadmissibility issue.

Are you a performing artist and believe you may be criminally inadmissible to Canada? Find out how to prepare yourself before attempting to enter the country:

Depending on the nature of your crime(s) and the duration of time since your most recent offense, there are potential temporary and permanent solutions to address criminal inadmissibility. No matter the reason for travel, any individual with a criminal record is subject to the strict entry requirements and Canadian equivalencies that correspond with their criminal history.

Submit a Temporary Resident Permit Application

If you are a performing artist who has been arrested or convicted of a criminal offense, 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 grants legal entry to Canada for a certain amount of time for any individual deemed criminally inadmissible.

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. Once you or your legal representative have included all the required documents for your TRP application, it must then be submitted to the Canadian government for processing. If you are a US citizen or have permanent resident status, you have two options regarding submission of the application:

  • Canadian consulate
  • Canadian port of entry (POE) for immediate processing

Government Application Fee

A fee of $229.77 CAD applies for each temporary resident permit application submitted.

Apply for Criminal Rehabilitation

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

The most important consideration of the application is establishing the equivalent offence in Canadian law for the purposes of your application. Individuals with serious criminality on record are subject to more scrutiny during the review process of an application and can also be charged increased processing fees.

Government Application Fee and Processing Times

The typical processing times are 6-12 months from the submission of your application.

For non-serious criminality, the Canadian Government charges a $229.77 CAD processing fee. For serious criminality, the Canadian Government charges a $1,148.87 CAD processing fee.

Get a Legal Opinion Letter

An experienced Canadian immigration lawyer can write a legal opinion letter on your behalf to support your entry into Canada. While the letter will not override your inadmissibility, it can be used to supplement your TRP or rehabilitation application to the Canadian government. In addition, if you are facing a charge but have not been convicted, you can use the letter to demonstrate to Canadian authorities why you should not be denied entry. In the letter, the lawyer will outline the relevant facts of your situation and explain why there is a basis for you to be allowed to enter Canada.

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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