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If I’ve committed or been convicted of a crime, will I be denied admission into Canada?

Under certain circumstances, the commission of a criminal offence or a criminal conviction on your record may lead to your denial of admission into Canada. However, there are exceptions as well as ways to overcome criminal inadmissibility, and an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer can help you through the process of rehabilitation or obtaining a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) which will allow you to be admitted into Canada.

Criminal Inadmissibility

In general, if you are a temporary resident or an applicant applying for permanent residence, you will be considered to be criminally inadmissible if you:

  • were convicted of an offence in Canada;
  • were convicted of an offence outside of Canada that is considered a crime in Canada; or
  • committed an act outside of Canada that is considered a crime under the laws of the country where it occurred and would be punishable under Canadian law.

Exceptions for Dismissed Charges and Youth Offences

If Canadian criminal charges against you were dismissed or discharged or if you were pardoned, you will not be denied admission on the basis of criminality. Dismissed, discharged or pardoned offences from a foreign country might not make you inadmissible, but you will need to provide an immigration officer with complete details and a full record of any such charges or proceedings so that they can make a determination as to admissibility.

Additionally, certain convictions under the Young Offenders Act or the Youth Criminal Justice Act (for crimes committed between 12 and 18 years of age) or foreign juvenile convictions won’t necessarily make you inadmissible, though you will be deemed inadmissible if you were convicted in an adult court or received an adult sentence.

Overcoming Criminal Inadmissibility

You may be able to overcome a crime or conviction on your record and gain admission into Canada by applying for rehabilitation or applying for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). As both of these processes can be complicated, it is advisable to have an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer assist you.

  • Rehabilitation – If the offence occurred in Canada, you are not inadmissible if you were pardoned or given a record suspension under the Criminal Records Act in Canada.

    If the offence occurred outside Canada, you may be inadmissible. If you were convicted of or committed a criminal offence outside Canada, you may overcome this criminal inadmissibility in one of two ways:

    • by applying for rehabilitation, or
    • you may be deemed to have been rehabilitated if at least ten years have passed since you completed the sentence imposed upon you, or since you committed the offence, if the offence is one that would, in Canada, be an indictable offence punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than ten years.

    In all other cases, you will require a Temporary Residence Permit (TRP).

  • Temporary Residence Permit – A TRP can be issued permitting an otherwise inadmissible individual to enter Canada if an officer determines, upon application and a demonstration by the applicant, that the need to enter or remain in Canada is compelling and overcomes the risk of further criminal activity. TRP’s may be issued with validity ranging from one day up to three years.

While a criminal offence can sometimes preclude your entry into Canada, you should consult with an experienced immigration lawyer to determine your status and your options.

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