Inadmissibility to Canada can arise in a number of different situations. Most commonly, criminal inadmissibility arises in the event that an individual who seeks to enter Canada has a prior conviction, such as a DUI. Inadmissibility can also arise in a medical context, where an individual's medical condition can create an inadmissibility issue. As inadmissibility will prevent you from entering Canada, it is best to consult with our office in advance of making plans to enter Canada.
Travelling to Canada with a criminal conviction will not pose a problem as long as you are adequately prepared. Individuals that have a Temporary Resident Permit will be required to present the permit upon their entry to Canada and will only be allowed to travel with the permit as long as it is valid. Individuals that have obtained a finding of Criminal Rehabilitation will not be required to hold a specific permit as the finding permanently removes the inadmissibility issued from their file.
If you are convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated (OMVI), or a similar offence you could be inadmissible to Canada. Whether the conviction was at the misdemeanour or felony level, and regardless of what country worldwide the charge was laid, you could be denied entry to Canada. Determining criminal inadmissibility involves an analysis of the law under which you were convicted, as well as the corresponding Canadian law. This assessment can be done by FWCanada, in order to determine if your conviction will create a criminal inadmissibility issue.
Please see "DWI Canada Entry" for more information.
Getting into Canada with a DUI can be overcome in a number of ways, temporarily by obtaining a Temporary Resident Permit, or permanently by the process of Criminal Rehabilitation. If you have been convicted of a single DUI offence, and a period of 10 years has passed since the completion of the entire sentence, then you may have been Deemed Rehabilitated. In order to be eligible to apply for a finding of Criminal Rehabilitation, a period of 5 years must have elapsed since the completion of the entire sentence imposed for the DUI. Criminal inadmissibility can also be overcome on a temporary basis by applying for and receiving a TRP. TRPs are granted to allow individuals, who would otherwise be denied entry to Canada, to gain admission to Canada for a specific purpose. The specific purpose of the visit must be properly explained in any application for a TRP.
If a person is convicted of an offence where the Canadian federal equivalent is punishable by a maximum sentence of less than ten years AND more than ten years have passed since the completion of the sentence (ie: all fines were paid, jail term is over, probation has ended, any license was reinstated etc.) you may be deemed to be rehabilitated by the simple passage of time. However, we recommend that even if you may be Deemed Rehabilitated that you have a legal opinion letter prepared, to explain the situation to Canadian immigration authorities.
Even with a DWI Canada entry is possible if you meet certain requirements. If you have been deemed rehabilitated, you have obtained a positive decision on a criminal rehabilitation application or you have a significant reason to enter Canada (like working or visiting family) and can obtain a Temporary Resident Permit, you will be able to enter the country.
7. When it comes to the term deemed rehabilitation, how long do I need to wait to gain entry to Canada?
If an individual has only been convicted of a single (non-serious) offence and a period of 10 years has passed since the completion of the entire sentence, the individual may have been Deemed Rehabilitated. For individuals who wish to wait for deemed rehabilitation, entry to Canada as both a visitor or permanent resident is possible.
In order to submit a Criminal Rehabilitation application, a period of 5-years must have elapsed since the completion of the entire sentence imposed for the DWI. If an individual has more than one DWI conviction, a criminal rehabilitation application will be required as such an individual cannot be deemed rehabilitated.
Any conviction under Canadian federal legislation, such as the Criminal Code or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, will cause inadmissibility to Canada. An offence outside of Canada, that is equivalent to any offence under Canadian federal legislation that is punishable by way of indictment, will cause criminal inadmissibility to Canada. The only way to overcome this inadmissibility would be applying for Criminal Rehabilitation or by obtaining a temporary resident permit.
Yes, travelling with a criminal record is possible. Depending on what you have been convicted of, you may need to submit a criminal rehabilitation application, a temporary resident permit application or a legal opinion letter (the latter to explain why you are not criminally inadmissible to Canada). A Canadian immigration lawyer is in the best position to assess what your case will require.
If you do not see the answer to your question here or want more information, let us assist you by filling out the form above for a free assessment.