If you are an American looking to enter Canada on a temporary basis, whether it be for a quick trip to Toronto to attend a sporting event, or a visit spanning several months; make sure your entry to Canada is a smooth one. Although the US is a visa exempt country (meaning not every American needs to apply for a Visa before entering Canada), the Customs Officer at the border may still decide to deny entry to an American trying to enter Canada.
Americans are not guaranteed entry to Canada, and in many ways your approval to enter is at the discretion of the Customs Officer reviewing your admissibility at the port of entry. Therefore, it is a good idea to know in advance what officers are looking for, in order to make sure you aren’t turned away.
Anything from a serious offence to a Driving Under the Influence charge (DUI) could render you inadmissible to Canada; even a criminal charge that happened 20+ years ago. If you are an American Citizen with a criminal record, you may be able to enter Canada with a Criminal Rehabilitation document, or with a Temporary Resident Permit, more details on this are below.
You might be asked by the Customs Officer how you plan to support yourself (and your family) financially while you are in Canada, as you are not able to work in Canada without a valid work permit. An American could be denied entry to Canada if the Officer determines that you are not financially able to cover the living expenses required for you and your family during your visit to Canada, as well as your return travel to the US.
A major health condition that the Customs Officer feels could be a danger to the public could be grounds for Canadian entry being denied to an American.
If you have lived or travelled in a ‘designated country’ for 6 months of the previous year before trying to enter Canada, you may be required to complete a medical exam before entering Canada, even if you are from America, which is a visa exempt country.
An American could be denied entry to Canada for providing false information, or withholding information either in documentation, or while speaking with the Customs Officer at the border/ port of entry. This is a serious offence, which could not only lead to you being refused entry to Canada at the time of the misrepresentation, but could also lead to Americans being denied entry to Canada in future attempts as well.
If you are questioning your admissibility it is recommended that you seek the advise of Immigration professionals such as Akrami & Associates in order to determine the best strategy for you to enter Canada, with the highest chances of approval.
If you have a criminal history, you may still be granted entry to Canada either through Criminal rehabilitation or with a Temporary Resident Permit depending on your situation.
If it has been 5 years or more since the completion of your sentence, you may be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation, which means Canada will permanently pardon your criminal history from being considered when trying to enter Canada. This option is a more convenient solution for Americans with a criminal history who are interested in travelling to Canada on more than one occasion, or on a regular basis. Criminal Rehabilitation applications must be submitted well in advance, as non-serious crimes take approximately 6-12 months to process, and serious crimes take approximately 12-18 months to process; so plan ahead!
If it has been less than 5 years since the end of your sentencing, or if you need to enter Canada unexpectedly; you may be eligible to enter Canada with a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). A Temporary Resident Permit is not a permanent pardon, and the duration will be determined by the Officer processing your TRP; it could grant you entry to Canada from anywhere between 1 day, to 3 years. This application can be applied for in advance if you have preplanned your trip to Canada, or at the border if you have to make an unexpected trip (such as a business meeting, attend a funeral, etc.).
Whether you are an American who would like to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation or a Temporary Resident Permit, Akrami & Associates can help. Having a correctly completed application with all of the necessary supporting documentation can not only increase the chances of your application being approved, but can also cut down on processing times, stress for the applicant, and ensure misrepresentation isn’t an issue. Akrami & Associates has handled hundreds of cases regarding inadmissibility, with a proven track record of success. If you would like to speak with one of our qualified Immigration professionals, please call or email us for a consultation regarding your case. There is always a way!
Akrami & Associates would like to offer some additional tips in order to help Americans cross the Canadian border as easily as possible:
Have all Passports and required documentation ready to be presented to the Officer at the border/port of entry.
If travelling with pets, make sure your pets have all of the required documentation for entry to Canada.
Make sure your vehicle is as organized as possible in case of inspection by the Customs Officer. This is also recommended to make sure you aren’t accidentally carrying any items that are inadmissible to Canada, or carrying any work items that may give the impression you intend to work illegally in Canada.
Be prepared to answer questions asked by the officer in order to determine your eligibility. Examples of typical questions could be:
What is the purpose of your trip to Canada?
Where will you be staying during your visit?
What is your relationship with the person you will be staying with?
How long do you plan to stay in Canada?
Do you have any alcohol or tobacco?
Do you have any firearms or prohibited items?
Where are you employed?
How much in funds do you have to support yourself during your stay?
Be familiar with what items you need to disclose at the time of entry (i.e. plants, meat, cheese, firearms, alcohol, tobacco, etc.), and what items are prohibited (i.e. drugs, certain firearms, fireworks, ammunition, consumer goods, etc.)
If you like to travel to Canada but anticipate that you might be denied entry for inadmissibility issue then please contact our firm at 416-477-2545 and let us determine how you can overcome your inadmissibility and options available to you.
With Akrami and Associates there is always a way!!