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Entering Canada with a Criminal Record

Having a criminal record puts your visa application at a risk for entering Canada with a criminal record. At the US/Canadian border the two countries have been sharing an increased amount of information in order to keep both countries safe from criminals entering and exiting. Attempting to apply for a visa to Canada, crossing the Canadian border, and/or flying into Canada with a criminal record can turn you away without the proper help from an Immigration lawyer.

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How To Get Into Canada with a Criminal Record

When it comes to being refused entry into Canada, it is important you deal with the situation properly. Whether you have a criminal record like a DUI or something even more serious, you may still be admitted into Canada as long as you have the ‘right’ paperwork in order. Permission for criminal entry is granted by a Canadian Temporary Resident Permit or TRP for short, or through a process called Criminal Rehabilitation. A Canada TRP enables a foreign national with a criminal history to cross the border into Canada for a limited amount of time and may be issued for a single entry or many entries over a period of time as long as three years. The Canada Criminal Rehabilitation program allows somebody with a criminal record to clean the slate and forever fix their inadmissibility, but is only available to individuals who have finished their full sentence (payment of all fines, completion of probation, etc.) more than five years prior. If it has been less than five years since you completed your full sentence, your only option for traveling to Canada with a criminal record may be a Temporary Resident Permit. You will most likely need to file a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) application which is a ‘Form IMM 5708’. Form IMM 5708 is the official document issued by a Canadian visa office that is placed in your passport to indicate that you have met the requirements for admission to Canada as a temporary resident (either as a visitor, a student, or a worker).

Reasons for Criminal Inadmissibility to Canada

Code of Removal Under Grounds of

A36 (1) Serious Criminality

Committing a serious crime that would be punishable by a maximum prison term of at least 10 years in Canada

A36 (2) Other Criminality

Having been convincted of an indictable crime, including driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. DUI

A37 Organized Criminality

Being a member of an association that takes part in organized criminal activity, people smuggling, human trafficking or money laundering.

Crimes That Can Stop You From Entering Canada

Anyone arrested or convicted of any of the following crimes may be barred from entering Canada. Arson, accessory, aiding & abetting, animal cruelty, assault or battery, aggravated assault or battery, attempt, break and enter, bribery, burglary, child abandonment, child abuse, child pornography, computer crime, conspiracy, credit card fraud, conspiracy, criminal contempt of court, cyber bullying, debit card fraud, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, domestic violence, drug possession, drug manufacturing and cultivation, drug distribution, drug trafficking, driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), embezzlement, extortion, false imprisonment, forgery, fraud, harassment, hate crimes, hit & run, homicide, identity theft, illegal bookmaking, indecent exposure, insurance fraud, involuntary manslaughter, kidnapping, larceny, money laundering, murder (first degree & second degree), perjury, probation violation, prostitution, pyramid schemes, racketeering or RICO, rape, receipt of stolen goods, robbery, securities fraud, selling alcohol to a minor, sexual assault, shoplifting, solicitation, stalking, statutory rape, tax evasion, tax fraud, telemarketing fraud, theft, trespassing, vandalism, voluntary manslaughter, and wire fraud.

Drug possession of the following illegal drugs can also result in a person being denied entry to Canada: amphetamine, cocaine, flunitrazepam (rohypnol), GHB, heroin, ketamine, LSD, MDMA (ecstasy), mescaline, methamphetamine (meth), opium, PCP, and psilocybin. Selling these drugs can also render a person ineligible for entry to Canada, along with other drugs such as anabolic steroids. A single arrest or conviction of marijuana possession will not necessarily cause a person to be excluded from Canada provided they had less 30 grams of weed on them. Two or more charges of possession of marijuana (including civil violations in states where small amounts are decriminalized) can cause a person to be non-admissible to Canada, however, along with a single charge of possessing more than 30g. Possession of scheduled prescription drugs without a valid prescription can also lead to an American being stopped at the Canadian border due to their criminal record. This includes painkiller drugs such as Oxycodone (Oxy), Demerol, and Dilaudid, as well as ADHD drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine.

Can I Go to Canada with a DUI or DWI?

Many foreign nationals, particularly Americans, are shocked to learn that a single criminal offense as minor as driving drunk can render a person ineligible to visit the country. In general, any foreign national with a criminal record in the last 10 years may be deemed inadmissible to Canada and denied admittance. It is not fun to be denied entry to Canada and can somewhat complicate future trips across the border, so always plan ahead to ensure you are eligible to fly or drive to Canada with a DUI criminal record.

How We Can Help You Enter Canada with a Criminal Record

If you have been denied entry to Canada, it is best to consult with an immigration lawyer before attempting to cross again. If you have a criminal record but want to come to Canada, it is important to consult an experienced immigration lawyer before applying for the best chances for your application to be approved. Book a consultation with our professional, experienced Canadian immigration lawyers!

Call Us Today

The first step towards moving to Canada is to get an assessment of your specific situation. Call us today at 1.877.296.0874 for an assessment to see if you are eligible to move to Canada, or fill out our online assessment form.