You are not alone. A lot of people wishing to enter to Canada are denied entry at the border for reasons of medical issues or criminality. For instance, if you have been convicted of a DUI, DWI, assault charge or another misdemeanour you could be refused at the Canadian border.
If this happens, it is not pleasant, can be embarrassing and costly. Therefore it is important to prepare in advance of your travel plans to Canada if you think you are inadmissible. How to prepare is to first determine if you are in fact inadmissible due to a criminal record. You should consult with an immigration lawyer in order to determine if you will have difficulty.
If you are inadmissible, you may need a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). A TRP is a special document that will allow you to be admitted to Canada even if you have a criminal record. You can apply for a TRP at the Canadian Embassy which can take a few months to process. If you are an American, and you have an urgent need to enter Canada, you can apply for a TRP right at the Canadian border. But doing so could be risky if you are denied. Therefore it is best if you plan ahead.
If you are granted a TRP, you can enter Canada for the validity of the TRP which usually is up to 6 months. But the duration depends on the immigration officer issuing you the TRP. If you need to enter Canada more than once, you may wish to apply for a TRP that allows you to enter Canada multiple times.
If your conviction is more than 5 years and in some cases 10 years, you may be eligible for what is called Criminal Rehabilitation (CR). CR will have the effect of wiping your record off the books for entry purpose and so long as you show your Criminal Rehabilitation Certificate upon entry to Canada, you should be admitted without issue. CR applications should be made at the Canadian Consulate and not at the Canadian border. They can take a number of months to process but if you are eligible, it is worth applying for.
If you have been denied entry at the Canadian Border or think that you may, it is essential to plan ahead.
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