Most people visiting Canada do not realize that past assault charges and convictions can render them criminally inadmissible to Canada.
Non-Canadians are deemed inadmissible to Canada in cases when they have been convicted of a crime for which the equivalent offense under Canadian law is an indictable offense. Regardless of whether the conviction is classified as a misdemeanour or a felony in the applicant’s home country, under Canadian law, assault is classified as a hybrid offense, which can proceed as either an indictable or summary conviction. All hybrid offenses are treated as indictable offenses in criminal admissibility. Thus, an assault conviction would make a foreign national criminally inadmissible to Canada.
Criminal inadmissibility to Canada can be overcome permanently through Criminal Rehabilitation or temporarily by obtaining a Temporary Resident Permit.
In order to be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation, a period of 5 years must have elapsed since the completion of the entire sentence imposed for the assault charge. If a foreign national has more than one assault conviction, or if the assault charge constitutes a serious offense (as in cases where the assault involved bodily injury or a weapon), an application for Criminal Rehabilitation will be required to enter Canada as such an individual cannot be Deemed Rehabilitated by time.
If an individual has only been convicted of a single assault charge which constitutes a non-serious offense, as in cases of simple assault, and a period of 10 years has passed since the completion of the entire sentence, then the individual may have been Deemed Rehabilitated. In cases of deemed rehabilitation, the person becomes admissible to Canada and does not need to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation. It is recommended that individuals who have been deemed rehabilitated present a legal opinion letter to immigration officials upon their entry to Canada in order to confirm their admissibility.
Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)
Temporary Resident Permits are granted to foreign nationals that would otherwise be inadmissible to Canada when there is a specific purpose for their entry. The specific purpose of the visit must be properly explained in their TRP application, and the reason is generally related to work, family, or emergency situations.
Getting a TRP is an option for cases where less than five years have passed since the completion of the sentence, or when a criminal rehabilitation application has not yet been filed or received a positive response. A TRP can be used for entry to Canada as a foreign worker, foreign student or as a visitor but not for any permanent residency processes, and the permit is required until criminal inadmissibility has been removed through criminal rehabilitation.
To find out if you qualify for a Temporary Resident permit or Criminal Rehabilitation, or any other immigration programs, fill out our Assessment Form here.