How to Enter Canada if you have a Criminal Record

Some people are denied entry to Canada because of a criminal record. In the past, people have been denied entry to Canada for criminal offenses they never thought would catch up with them – such as an arrest for marijuana possession decades ago or a DUI conviction. Rest assured, a criminal record of any kind can result in your being denied entry to Canada. How to Enter Canada With A Criminal Record

Admission to Canada with a criminal record

Even if you have a criminal record and have been denied entry to Canada, you can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit, also called a visitor’s visa. An application for a Temporary Resident Permit can often be made at the Canadian border if you are a US citizen, otherwise they can be applied for at your local Canadian Embassy or consulate.

Other ways to enter Canada with a criminal record

Aside from applying for a Temporary Resident Permit to enter Canada, there are other options for people with criminal records. For example, one could apply for a criminal pardon or criminal rehabilitation, which would eliminate your criminal inadmissibility.

Which option is best for me?

How you can enter Canada with a criminal record depends on your individual situation, your desired timeframe when visiting Canada as well as your original criminal offence. These factors combined need to be considered when determining which option is best for you.

For more information on applying for a Temporary Resident Permit or how to enter Canada with a criminal record, contact us at the form on the right.


Criminal Pardons denied entry to Canada Enter Canada with a Criminal Record Temporary Resident Permit Visitor Visa Canada

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

29 Responses to “How to Enter Canada if you have a Criminal Record”

  1. Jane says:

    Hi, I have a question. My fiance has a DUI conviction that happened 13 years ago. What are the chances that he will be denied entry to Canada? Also, will that DUI affect his chances on ever getting a good job here in Canada?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Jane
      Since your fiance DUI happened more than 10 years ago, he will likely be “deemed” rehabilitated and there is admissible to Canada. However. it is important that he have copies of his record to prove when this happened. I do not think that he will be denied entry to Canada given how long ago he had a DUI. If his offence was less than 5 years ago, he may beed a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) to qualify to enter Canada. In terms of his DUI effecting him getting a job in Canada, you would have to consult with his prospective employer for that.

  2. Raymond says:

    I went to the Canadian Border by to Detroit, to get my TRP and because i had a retail theft 10 years ago and DUI 6 years ago they denied me and they where very mean about it, I need trp to sail as a merchant marine in canadain waters, I dont even step foot in canda, but i cant get a job without it, what do i do?

    • Hello Raymond
      That is unfortunate. You may have to apply for a TRP at the Canadian Embassy. We can take a look at your case and see what we can do to help with this one.

  3. Dear sir says:

    Hello sir , just want to ask you a question about my husband criminal record my husband lives in UK and he came to canada tow times the first time which he came that we got married and after that he came again for a visit , but when he return to UK he drove his car with out insurance he had a insurance but by the time he went back from canada he didn’t realized his insurance was expired and he was on the way to work the pice stopped him and that time his case was on proses ,but unfortunately cuz of that they refused his case and I have to go to court in 120 days to apele his case in canada . I’m just wondering if he can come to canada just for a visit would you please help ? If you could give me the right answer I appreciate it sir. Thank you

    • Hello

      Depending on your nationality he be able to visit Canada without a visa eg. If he is from the UK. But if he has a deportation order, he will have to apply for an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) which can take a number of months to process. If he has a criminal record but he was not deported then he may have to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). So there are options for him. We would require more information to be sure.

  4. Gary says:

    Hello I will be travelling to Canada for three months with my girlfriend next February and I have a criminal record which involves theft from a shop in 2002 and criminal damage under the value of £500 in 2012 and again in 2012 I had to go court and I paid a fine both times and the matter was dealt with. What will happen when I get into Canada?

    • Hello Gary
      You may need a TRP to qualify to enter Canada given your record. You should consider applying for this or preparing the paperwork as soon as possible or you could be prevented from entering Canada. You must always disclose your record to Canada customs when coming in.

  5. Hi All. Just to let you know that we are now accepting online appointment bookings. This means that you if wish to speak with us about your case, you can book an appointment securely online.

    Just go to

    Michael Niren

  6. sherese says:

    oh and also we have mail every thing they ask for.

  7. sherese says:

    my husband have record 12 years ago for weed. we have went for an interview and they stated that all they need is the record and the receipt of payment because he get a fine. how they wrote me just to confirm my and his address so they going to mail us a letter.

    also we have a child together. Is it possible to be denied, so nerve racking.

    • Hello Sherese

      Thank you for the question. Yes, there is a possibility they can refuse his entry to Canada. He may need a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) to be admitted to Canada. Were you told when they would give you an answer?
      Michael Niren

  8. Shane Ranauro says:

    Ive been done for drink driving twice once over the limit of 0.080% I want to get a working visa in Canada just wondering the best way to go about it?

  9. Max says:

    I’ve got a gun violation that happened four or five years ago, and I’ve been to the boarder and they denied me access, they said I’ve got to wait the five years. So I was wondering if there’s any chance Ill be able to come into Canada, and my wife’s a Canadian citizen. So idk what I’m suppose to do to get in. Any advice?

    • Hello Max

      Thank you for your message. You may be eligible for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)
      Here is some information on TRPs If you wife is Canadian, she may be able sponsor you but your case must be looked at in more detail.
      Hope this helps

  10. Nate says:

    I have a reckless on my record. What do I need to do to enter Canada from buffalo driving to Toronto. I go there regularly to visit friends and family. So is there something to do to permanently not have a issue. It had been 1 year since my conviction of reckless.

    • Hello Nate
      There is something that could be done depending on when your reckless driving recorded occurred. If you apply for Criminal Rehabilitation your record with Canada immigration could be removed for entry purposes, otherwise you can apply for a TRP.

      Hope that helps

  11. Lisa says:

    Thanks Michael!!!! :-)

  12. Lisa says:

    Hello! I want to VISIT Canada, but I have a criminal record…more specifically, I have a felony assault conviction on a corrections officer, a misdemeanor DUI, and a misdemeanor assault..all related to the DUI (I know it sounds bad but I pled guilty only to avoid any chance of going to prison)…I completed all of my probation requirements in June of 2011, I’ve researched online and looks like Canada will reject me, but is there any way around this, just to vacation there???? THANKS!!!!

  13. Heather says:

    I am considering getting married in Victoria. However my fiancé was convicted of a DUI over 10 years ago. He also has friends with criminal records over 10 yrs. what are my odds? Will we have a lot of hoops to jump through?


  14. Sean Walsh says:

    Can you please tell me your fees for applying for a temporary work permit into Canada if I already have a job offer on writing

  15. Nicki says:

    Wondering what the chances of extending visitors visa are, even with 2 drink driving charges, both from longer than 5 years ago!
    If there’s a chance of it working are you able to help and submit all forms for us?

    • Hello Nicki
      Having 2 DUIs may impact the application for TRV extensions. It really depends on the case. It is good that they took place 5 years ago. You must disclose this information when applying. In some cases, a TRP may be required.

  16. Ashley burbeary says:

    Hey I just would like to know if I can get my record clean in u.k iam wanting to work in Canada for 12 months but I got a DUI in the u.k back in 2009 just wanted to know if I need to see a law firm???

    • Hello Ashley

      Thank you for your question. If you have a DUI you may be inadmissible to Canada so you would need a TRP to be admitted. We would need more information about your case to perform an assessment as to your eligibility for a TRP. You can certainly contact us at to set up a consultation. Regards Michael Niren

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