If you are a US national who is looking to travel to Canada, not necessarily as a permanent citizen, but temporarily for work or as a tourist or to visit family in Canada and you have a criminal conviction, that will likely impact your chances of being able to enter Canada.
Under Canada’s immigration laws, having a criminal conviction in most cases would render you inadmissible. In other words, it means you would automatically not be admitted into Canada because of certain criminal convictions. However, there are options that may be available for you in such circumstances.
Circumstances When Entry Into Canada Can Be Allowed
If you are wanting to travel to Canada but you are concerned about a previous criminal conviction record, there are three options available for you to explore. The options that are available depend on the type of offence, when you were convicted of the offence and whether you have served a sentence or paid the fine associated with the offence among other factors. The application processes and supporting documentation also differs depending on the option you choose.
- Deemed Rehabilitation
If you have a relatively minor criminal conviction from the US such as a DUI, and the conviction occurred more than 10 years ago, it is likely that you may be able to apply for deemed rehabilitation.
An application for deemed rehabilitation entails pretty much informing the Canadian immigration officer when you arrive at a Canadian port of entry, that your conviction occurred more than 10 years ago.
You would need to provide documentation to prove that the offence was, for instance, a single offence or a minor offence and that it happened more than 10 years ago. Once you provide the documentation, you would then be eligible for deemed rehabilitation.
- Full Rehabilitation
The second option available to you is applying for full rehabilitation. You can apply for full rehabilitation if 5 years have passed since you were convicted of an offence and you have since completed whatever sentencing or fines that would have been associated with that conviction.
An application for full rehabilitation is a much more thorough process. It would have to be made through a consular office. It also takes a long time to process since the government would have to evaluate the pros and cons of granting full rehabilitation.
Should you meet the eligibility requirements and be able to secure full rehabilitation, it would render the criminal conviction not an issue that should prevent you from entering Canada.
- Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)
The third option available and perhaps the quickest of the three is applying for a temporary resident permit (TRP). A temporary resident permit is different and separate from a work permit. Even if you were successful with getting a TRP, you would still need a work permit if you intend to immigrate to Canada for work.
In essence, a temporary resident permit allows a person, who is otherwise inadmissible to enter Canada. The TRP allows you entry for specific periods of time. It is issued after the immigration officer makes a determination that granting you entry into Canada will not pose significant harm, danger or risk to Canada.
The TRP is also issued once it has been determined that the purpose of your visit to Canada warrants you being allowed entry. Typically, it is issued to persons moving to Canada to perform job duties that are critical for instance; if a person has been sent by an employer to do some important work in Canada.
The immigration officer will do an assessment of whether or not the nature of the conviction that you have had in the past is significant enough to pose danger or detriment to the Canadian society. You can apply for the TRP at the port of entry. You do not have to wait for however long it otherwise would take for you to get it if the application was not made at the port of entry.
Let Us Help
If you are a US national with a previous criminal record and are wanting to travel to Canada, we are happy and available to help you navigate any immigration issues that may arise and assist you with the necessary applications to allow you entry into Canada.
Please feel free to reach out to us in case you have further questions or need any clarifications. Book a call with us today!