Inadmissible to Canada: Discover Your Options to Visit Canada
Are you concerned about admissibility issues? Have you been turned away unexpectedly at the Canadian border?
Many people wishing to enter or immigrate to Canada are surprised to learn that a prior criminal record can result in a Canadian Immigration Officer refusing their entry, or application, based on criminal inadmissibility. If you have been found to be criminally inadmissible to Canada, or think you may be inadmissible, it is important to know that you still have options.
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An inadmissibility or non-compliance
Inadmissibility: means there is a medical condition, recent or past criminal conviction(s), financial concern(s), you misrepresented information in your application or there are serious criminal concerns that cause you to be inadmissible under the Act and prevent you from entering or remaining in Canada without a TRP.
Non-compliance: means you directly or indirectly failed to satisfy the requirements of the Act or Regulations.
What does criminally inadmissible mean?
This term describes people who are not allowed to enter or stay in Canada because they have committed or been convicted of a crime. That crime may have occurred in or outside Canada.
- If you were convicted in a foreign country of an act that Canadian law also recognizes as a criminal offence. You could be considered criminally inadmissible if Canada would consider your crime an “indictable offence,” which generally refers to a more serious crime. In the U.S. it is comparable to a felony.
- If you have two non-indictable offences from separate acts, you may also be inadmissible. As the name suggests, these are less serious than indictable offences, and are generally comparable to misdemeanors in the U.S.
In Canada’s Criminal Code, there are three types of offenses: summary conviction offenses, indictable offenses, and “hybrid offenses” that the Crown can choose to proceed with either by summary conviction or by indictment.
Hybrid offenses are sometimes called “Crown-electable offenses.”
Simply put, summary conviction offenses are less serious than indictable offenses. That’s the main difference between the two.
The main categories of criminal offences in Canada are summary conviction offences and indictable offences. Summary offences are less serious than indictable offences.
A judge hears summary conviction cases in provincial court. A person charged with a summary conviction offence is usually not arrested unless the accused is found committing the offence. They are often given a notice to appear in court at a certain date and time.
A person charged with a summary conviction offence does not have to appear in court. A lawyer or an agent may appear in court on that person’s behalf, unless the judge asks the person charged to appear.
An indictable offence is more serious. There are different procedures for indictable offences. The procedure that applies depends on how serious the offence is and choices made by the prosecutor and the accused person. A person charged with an indictable offence will be arrested where the police have reasonable grounds to believe that the person has committed an indictable offence or is about to commit an indictable offence. A person charged with an indictable offence must show up in court. He or she may represent him or herself or be represented by a lawyer.
You may also hear about a hybrid offence. A hybrid offence is an offence where the prosecutor can choose, based on factors such as the seriousness of the accused’s actions and the harm caused, to proceed with the offence as either a summary conviction offence or as an indictable offence.
Ways to Overcome Criminal Inadmissibility
There are three main methods available for people who wish to come to Canada but must overcome criminal inadmissibility:
- Temporary Resident Permit.
- Criminal Rehabilitation.
- Record suspension or discharge.
If you have a valid reason to travel to Canada
If you’re otherwise inadmissible but have a reason to travel to Canada that is justified in the circumstances, you may be issued a temporary resident permit.
To be eligible for a temporary resident permit, your need to enter or stay in Canada must outweigh the health or safety risks to Canadian society, as determined by an immigration or a border services officer. Even if the reason you’re inadmissible seems minor, you must demonstrate that your visit is justified.
A TRP is a document that authorizes a person who is inadmissible or does not meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act or Regulations either as a temporary resident or as a permanent resident to enter or remain in Canada.
A work or study permit, or a Temporary Resident visa is not a Temporary Resident Permit. These documents are clearly marked as visas or work and study permits. You are not a temporary resident permit holder unless you are inadmissible and you have been issued a document specifically identified as a Temporary Resident Permit. TRPs are only issued in exceptional circumstance and at the discretion of the processing officer. A TRP may be cancelled at any time.
Obligations of a permit holder
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has permitted your entry to Canada despite an inadmissibility and has suspended enforcement action for the duration of your TRP. As a permit holder you are expected to:
- abide by the laws of Canada;
- to take any action required to resolve your inadmissibility; and
- to leave or request another TRP before the expiry of your initial TRP.
Note: The nature or seriousness of your inadmissibility will determine whether you can take action to resolve your situation from inside Canada, or whether your situation can only be resolved by exiting Canada.
There is no guarantee that you’ll be issued a temporary resident permit.
How long you can stay in Canada?
Under section 63 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), an initial or subsequent temporary resident permit (TRP) may be valid from 1 day to 3 years. TRPs may be issued for a single entry or for multiple entries, depending on the circumstances. A temporary resident permit is usually issued for the length of your visit to Canada—for example, 1 week to attend a conference. You must leave Canada by the expiry date of the permit, or get a new permit before your current one expires.
This permit may be cancelled by an officer at any time.
The permit is no longer valid once you leave Canada, unless you have specifically been authorized to leave and re-enter.
You must pay a fee (CAN$200) to cover the cost of processing your application for a temporary resident permit. The fee will not be refunded if the permit is refused.
Rehabilitation means that you are not likely to commit new crimes.
Deemed rehabilitation, under Canada’s immigration law, means that enough time has passed since you were convicted that your crime may no longer bar you from entering Canada.
You may be deemed rehabilitated depending on:
- the crime,
- if enough time has passed since you finished serving the sentence for the crime and
- if you have committed more than one crime.
In all cases, you may only be deemed rehabilitated if the crime committed outside Canada has a maximum prison term of less than 10 years if committed in Canada.
You can apply for individual rehabilitation to enter Canada. The Minister, or their delegate, may decide to grant it or not. To apply, you must:
- show that you meet the criteria,
- have been rehabilitated and
- be highly unlikely to take part in further crimes.
Also, at least five years must have passed since:
- the end of your criminal sentence (this includes probation) and
- the day you committed the act that made you inadmissible.
If you are applying for criminal rehabilitation along with your temporary resident (visitor visa, study permit or work permit) application, you can submit everything together and apply at the nearest Visa Application Centre.
If you are a foreign national who needs an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), you have to submit a separate application for criminal rehabilitation before you apply for your eTA. You can do so by following the procedures below. Once you have received confirmation of your rehabilitation, you may apply for an eTA. If you apply for your eTA before you receive your rehabilitation, your application will be assessed based on the information currently available, and may result in the refusal of your application.
Record suspension or discharge.
If you have been convicted in Canada and want to apply for a record suspension (formerly known as a pardon), check with the Parole Board of Canada. If you get a Canadian record suspension, you will no longer be inadmissible.
If you received a record suspension or a discharge for your conviction in another country, check with the visa office that serves the country or region where you live. It will tell you if the pardon is valid in Canada.
This will help make sure that when you arrive in Canada, a border services officer has enough information to decide if you can enter Canada. The officer will still check to make sure you are not inadmissible for other reasons.
Let our team at Canadian Visa Immigration Consultancy help you with your Canadian immigration application. Please call us for a Immigration Consultation with our RCIC. We will discuss your immigration problem with you to properly assess how our Immigration Consultancy can help you.
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