What is a Temporary Resident Permit?

Last updated: 29 November 2023

what is a canada temporary resident permit trp

A temporary resident permit, or TRP for short, is a document that permits anyone that wants to travel to Canada, but is technically inadmissible, to visit legally. 

People can be inadmissible to Canada for a number of reasons, and TRPs cover two types of inadmissibility: criminal inadmissibility, and medical inadmissibility. A TRP can be used in situations where the traveler has a valid reason for entering the country, and the benefits of their entry outweigh any risks to Canadian society. 

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Table of Contents

Is a Temporary Resident Permit the Same as a Visitor Visa?

A visitor visa, also known as a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) is different from a TRP.

A TRV is a document that shows you meet the requirements to enter Canada temporarily, and they can be issued to visitors, students or workers. Most visitors can stay for up to six months with a TRV. On the other hand, a TRP is only used for those that are deemed inadmissible to Canada.

What is Temporary Resident Status?

Temporary resident status is given to those considered “temporary residents.” Temporary residents are defined as any foreign nationals that have legal authority to enter Canada temporarily.

Foreign nationals with temporary resident status meet the requirements to enter Canada as a visitor, student or worker, or they are foreign nationals that have been granted a TRP. You have to be physically in Canada to hold temporary resident status.

Reasons for Being Inadmissible

The most frequent reasons foreign nationals are deemed inadmissible to Canada include:

  • Possessing a criminal record

  • Being diagnosed with a contagious disease

  • Violating the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)

  • Being deemed a security risk

  • Misrepresenting information in order to gain entry to Canada, or to maintain immigration status

  • Being unable to demonstrate that you can financially support yourself and your family during your time in Canada

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 criminally 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). 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.

Theft & Fraud

Fraud is a general category of offences that includes any violation committed with the intent of depriving another party (which could be an individual or a company/organization) of anything of which they are the rightful owner, including the unlawful use of a credit card or knowingly using a bad cheque.

For theft cases, the nature of the theft and the amount stolen will affect how the offence will be considered 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.


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. 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.

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.

Drug Offences

Any charge relating to drug trafficking, such as production, possession, purchase, consumption, or distribution of drugs, can lead to a finding of inadmissibility by government officials. But, the nature and context of the particular offence will impact its seriousness and affect the likelihood of an individual being found inadmissible.

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.

How Do I Get a Temporary Resident Permit in Canada?

To apply for a temporary resident permit, you will need to submit an application with supporting documents explaining the reason for your criminal inadmissibility and why your entry into Canada may be justified.

After you or your immigration lawyer have compiled all the required Canadian immigration documents to apply for a TRP, you must then submit it to the Canadian government for consideration.

American citizens, or persons with permanent resident status in the U.S can submit their TRP application at a Canadian consulate or any port of entry (land, sea or air).

Canadian Consulate Applications

Although applying for TRPs through a Canadian consulate involves significant processing time (3-6 months), it is considered to be the best approach for a foreign national to submit a temporary resident permit application to Canadian immigration authorities.

This is because a decision will be made by an experienced immigration officer who understands the various reasons why your visit could be justified. This is also the best approach because it takes any of the guesswork out of the equation. You will know in advance of your trip if you will be allowed into the country.

If you decide to apply at a port of entry instead, there is a possibility that you may be denied entry, meaning you will have to turn around and go right back where you came from, either by land, sea or air.

Port of Entry Applications

Applications for a temporary resident permit (TRP) can be made at any port of entry. These applications are processed immediately at airports, land crossings or sea entry points - essentially, at any place where a passport would be required to enter the country.

A Canadian immigration visa officer will consider the inadmissible person's need to enter Canada against the health and security risks to the Canadian population. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that their entry into Canada is justified.

The primary advantage of applying at a port of entry is the speed with which a person can acquire a temporary resident permit, which may be granted in a matter of minutes.

The main disadvantage of using a port of entry to apply for a TRP, as discussed above, is the uncertainty. You won’t know whether your application will be approved or denied by the immigration officer that handles your case until it happens.

If denied, you will not be allowed to enter Canada until you have received an approval from a Canadian consulate. While a TRP submitted to a consulate is not guaranteed, it does hold the advantage of receiving an extended review by experienced officers specialized in this domain.

Note: If you are a citizen of a visa-exempt country, you will need to apply for a temporary resident permit based on the guidelines set out by your specific country, as the application form may be different and you may not be eligible to apply at a port of entry.

Government Application Fee

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

Who Needs to Apply for a Temporary Resident Permit?

In the following examples, foreign nationals would be required to apply for temporary resident permits (TRP) in order to enter Canada:

  • Those convicted of a crime outside of Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to an indictable offense punishable by a sentence of less than 10 years.

  • A person that has been convicted outside of Canada of a crime equivalent to a hybrid offense, one punishable by a sentence of less than 10 years.

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

When assessing a criminal record from a foreign country, the most crucial consideration is to understand the equivalent offense in Canada, given the nature and gravity of the offence as per Canada’s Criminal Code. Once an equivalency is made, a pathway to resolving criminal inadmissibility can be identified.

Note: Offenses that occur inside of Canada while on temporary stay, visitor visa or work permit, may lead to a finding of criminal inadmissibility, which can affect your ability to remain a temporary visitor or obtain permanent residence.

If you are currently facing charges or have completed a sentence while in Canada, please fill out our assessment form.

How a Temporary Resident Permit Can Help You Travel to Canada

A temporary resident permit may be issued to individuals who would otherwise be denied entry to Canada because of medical or criminal inadmissibility, permitting them to enter or stay in the country, where justified by compelling circumstances. Temporary resident permits are issued for the length of the stay in Canada, usually six months, and may be extended from inside Canada multiple times up to a total of three years.

A TRP grants legal entry to Canada for a specific period of time, and can be applied for at any point. Unlike criminal rehabilitation, a TRP is a mechanism for entry that is not contingent upon the amount of elapsed time since the completion of your sentence. In other words, an individual can be granted a TRP while still serving a portion of their sentence in certain circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, as a temporary resident permit holder, you are only authorized to enter Canada as a temporary visitor. A work or study permit, or a temporary resident visa (TRV) is not the same as a temporary resident permit.

TRV documents are marked as visas, study or work permits. TRPs are only issued in circumstances where the applicant is inadmissible to Canada and at the discretion of the processing officer reviewing the application.

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 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 temporary resident permit 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.

If you have a significant reason for travelling to Canada but believe you are criminally inadmissible, you may be eligible to apply for a temporary resident permit. A TRP can only be used for valid entry as a foreign student, foreign worker, or as a visitor, but cannot be used for any permanent Canadian immigration processes such as Permanent Residence.

TRP applications are currently processed between 3-6 months at a Canadian Consulate. American citizens can receive immediate processing of a TRP application, done by an immigration officer at a Canadian port of entry.

The Canadian Government charges a $229.77 CAD processing fee, no matter whether it is processed at a Canadian consulate or port of entry.

There are two types of TRP’s, a single-entry and multiple-entry permit. A TRP can be granted from the duration of a single stay up to three years, depending on the reason for entering Canada and the duration of time required within the Country. Applicants who can prove frequent travel into Canada are more likely to receive a permit for a longer duration of time.

Yes, the Canadian Government requires federal and state background checks if you are an American applying for a TRP. You must submit both an FBI background certificate and police certificates from each state where you have resided for six months or more.

The Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) application 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. The purpose of a TRP application is to argue that the individual needs to enter Canada and does not pose a risk to Canadians. An experienced attorney can be of assistance in the preparation of this argument.

Prior to applying, you should make sure that there is enough validity time on your passport to accommodate the length of permit you are requesting in your TRP application, and how long you want to stay in Canada if your application is approved. A TRP can only be granted for the period that coincides with the validity of your Passport.

If your Canadian stay turns out to be longer than first expected and you require to extend your TRP, you may do so by submitting the “Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Visitor or Temporary Resident Permit Holder” form. If your request for an extension has been approved, you will be issued a new/subsequent temporary resident permit.

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.

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