Under Canadian law, a person can be considered criminally inadmissible to Canada on the basis of a prior conviction outside of Canada. There are a number of offenses against law enforcement and justice administration which may seem to be inconsequential or minor offenses, but could lead to a person being denied entry to Canada on the basis of criminal inadmissibility.
Inadmissibility is a possibility if the offense a person was convicted of is considered to be an indictable offense or hybrid offense in Canada, regardless of whether the crime is classified as a misdemeanour or felony where it was committed. If a person has been charged with any of the following offenses or their equivalents, it is likely that that person will be considered criminally inadmissible to Canada:
Perjury, also called misleading justice by making a false statement under oath or solemn affirmation, constitutes an indictable offense under Canadian law, and as a result a person with a perjury charge is criminally inadmissible to Canada.
Disobeying an order of the court, including failure to appear charges, are considered to be hybrid offenses in Canada, and a conviction of either one of these charges would make a person unable to travel to Canada.
Obstruction of justice, including attempting to influence a juror, using bribes or threats to dissuade a person from providing evidence, and other attempts to pervert or defeat the course of justice, is considered to be a hybrid offense. A conviction on an obstruction of justice or equivalent charge would lead to criminal inadmissibility to Canada.
Resisting an officer, including obstructing a public or peace officer in the execution of their duty, constitutes a hybrid offense in Canada and will lead to criminal inadmissibility.
Refusal to comply charges, including failure to comply with a probation order or refusing to comply with a demand for alcohol testing without a reasonable excuse, are considered hybrid offenses, and any of these charges will lead to criminal inadmissibility.
Some offenses against law enforcement or justice administration are deemed summary offenses in Canada, and if a person has only been convicted of one summary offense, they remain admissible to Canada. Contempt of court is one example of a summary offense that would not lead to criminal inadmissibility. In cases where an individual has been convicted of two or more one summary offenses, that person will be deemed criminally inadmissible and will need to take additional steps in order to be granted entry into Canada.
If a conviction for a charge against law enforcement or justice has caused criminal inadmissibility, individuals have two main options that could allow them to overcome that inadmissibility and enter Canada.
In cases where more than 5 years have passed since the completion of a person’s sentence, Criminal Rehabilitation is an available option that would erase the person’s criminal inadmissibility to Canada and allow them to travel to Canada freely. To qualify for Criminal Rehabilitation, five years need to have passed since the full sentence imposed for the crime was finished, not just five years since the sentence was imposed. This means that the five year waiting period begins after the last day of the full sentence, such as the end of probation or the day the person’s driver’s license was reinstated.
If more than 10 years have passed since the completion of the entirety of the sentence, then a person may not be required to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation at all. Deemed rehabilitation applies for individuals who have only been charged with one offense, and whose offense is considered “non-serious” because it carries a maximum prison sentence of less than 10 years. Deemed rehabilitation is not a possibility if an individual has been convicted of more than one offense, or if they have been convicted of a serious offense. If a person has been deemed rehabilitated due to the passage of time, the criminal inadmissibility is lifted and they can travel freely to Canada. We recommend that individuals who have been deemed rehabilitated bring a legal opinion letter to immigration officials at the time of entry to Canada to confirm that deemed rehabilitation applies.
Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)
A Temporary Resident Permit, or TRP, is another method for overcoming inadmissibility to Canada that allows criminally inadmissible individuals enter Canada on a temporary basis. It does not resolve inadmissibility permanently, but it will permit travel to Canada for a set period of time for a specific reason.
To be granted a TRP, the application must demonstrate a need to come to Canada for a particular reason, such as work commitments or family emergencies. Generally, foreign nationals use a TRP when less than five years have passed since the entire sentence was completed or in cases where a Criminal Rehabilitation application has already been submitted but the applicant wants to gain entry into Canada before their Criminal Rehabilitation application has been processed.
For more information on entering Canada with a prior conviction, or for any immigration questions, fill out this Free Online Assessment Form.