Crossing the Canadian border when you have criminal convictions on your record could seem like an overwhelming process. The long queues and tiring paperwork required beforehand can make it a challenge for any traveller, especially if you are a parent wanting to see your children and other relatives after a long time; hectic amounts of paperwork and the time required for processing is not always an option. So if you are individual that has inadmissibility issue to Canada such as a DUI, Misdemeanour, Felony, Theft charge, Misrepresentation you may either qualify for the Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation.
Individuals who were convicted of a criminal offence outside Canada are required to obtain a Temporary Resident Permit to allow them to enter the country. The TRP is valid for an authorized time as directed by an immigration officer, however, should you wish to leave the country within the allotted time of your Temporary Resident Permit, you will be required to obtain beforehand approval. If you do not gain this approval, then your TRP will expire and you will have to start the process all over again. To solve the problem, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada offers a Criminal Rehabilitation program to allow individuals with inadmissibility issues (such as those who are required to have a TRP to enter the country) to overcome their inadmissibility given the nature of their offence and if sufficient time has passed since the day of offence and conviction.
Temporary Resident Permit
Allows temporary entry into Canada
Allows permanent entry into Canada
For individuals with inadmissibility issues
Requirements are very extensive
Re-apply after expiration
Usually takes over a year for approval
Regardless of which of either option is applicable to you, you will still require a valid passport that is recognized by the Canadian Government and a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to travel depending on your country of citizenship. An eTA is required for foreigners who are citizens of a country that is exempt from applying for a visa.
A Temporary Resident Permit is required by individuals who wish to enter Canada but have a criminal conviction filed against them for an offence they committed outside Canada, which, however, can be punished by law within Canada. A Temporary Resident Permit could be granted to you if your circumstances prove convincing enough to your immigration officer that you can enter Canada.
Your offence(s), however major or minor they are, play the most vital role in determining your inadmissibility. Offences include; but are not limited to:
Acts of terrorism (major)
Affiliation with an organization or group known for its terrorist activities (major)
Arson and damage to property (major)
Theft and shop-lifting (minor)
Driving under the influence of alcohol (major)
Reckless Driving (major/minor; depends on country of offence and conviction)
Illegal substance abuse (major)
The immigration officer will assess you reason to enter Canada, such as visiting friends and relatives or attending a conference. The immigration officer will also determine whether or not your entry or stay in Canada could be a threat to the security of other Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents.
You will have to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit in order to cross a port of entry. Photocopies of original documents such as your passport and identity cards are required to be sent with your application package along with a proof of payment of $200 CAD government fee. This fee is non-refundable, even if your application is declined.
A Temporary Resident Permit is only valid for a limited amount of time. The time such a permit is valid is at the discretion of immigration officer. Once your Temporary Resident Permit has expired you must leave the country; you are usually required to exit a day before your permit expires. If you do not leave the country voluntarily then enforcement methods such as arrests and detention could be used against you.
A Temporary Resident Permit can be cancelled at any time by an authorized officer depending on your situation.
The Criminal Rehabilitation process allows persons who were criminally convicted of offence(s) to enter the country and remove them from inadmissibility permanently. Criminal Rehabilitation process depends on the nature of the crime committed, where it was committed, whether the crime is punishable under Canadian law, the sentence handed out for the offence, and how much time has passed since the conviction and the since the day the offence was committed.
A minimum time of 5 years is required since the last day of your sentence – including probation and public service – in order for you to be an eligible applicant for Criminal Rehabilitation.
If your application is successful, you will no longer be inadmissible to enter Canada; this way you will now be able to simply apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an eTA, depending on you nationality. TRV are for individuals that come from non-visa exempt countries and have to apply for that prior to their entry, while TRP is only for individuals that have inadmissibility issues. So ensure you don’t confuse these applications, just because you got approved for TRP does not mean you are approved for TRV. So if you come from non-visa exempt country ensure you get the visa prior to booking your flight.
The Criminal Rehabilitation Process is only meant for individuals who committed their offence outside Canada. If you committed theses offence while in Canada, then you must first contact and apply for your records to be pardoned. This application of pardoning must be sent to the Parole Board of Canada for records suspension.
You may choose to hire a legal representative on your behalf. Completing the Criminal Rehabilitation application package is a very difficult task; it is highly recommended you seek the assistance of an immigration firm before sending your package. If you do choose to hire and appoint a representative then you must indicate this by filling in the representative and send it along with your application package and supporting documents. Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Canada Border Service Agency will contact the representative should the need be, not the applicant.
After completing the application package and paying the processing fee, you may submit the application depending on country of stay/residence. If you are in Canada, mail your application to the Canada Immigration Centre for your area. If you are outside Canada, send your application along with any other document to the nearest Visa Application Centre of your locality.
Qualifying for Criminal Rehabilitation is a long process and usually takes well over a year plus the time of shipping the application package. Thus, plan all your activities in Canada and other important dates knowing there is a long waiting period.
If you are a visa office outside Canada
You are advised to not to travel Canada until you receive your permission to do so
If you are at any port of entry such as an airport, sea port, or by land
You are advised to have the TRP package ready prior to attempting to cross
Have all your documents ready should the officer want proof of what your offense was and what was completed for it.
Highly recommended to consult with an immigration expert prior to attempting
If you are in Canada
You will be asked that you leave Canada voluntarily otherwise enforcement action will be taken against you.
If you have a criminal record or a conviction filed against you but wish to travel to Canada, contact us at Akrami and Associates to discuss all your available options well before your journey and travel date in order to ensure a smooth transition through the port of entry.
With Akrami & Associates there is always a way!!