Entering Canada with a Felony on My Record
If you have been convicted of a felony in the United States, or have been convicted of a serious offense in another part of the world, you are probably aware this results in various restrictions on what you, as an individual can and cannot do. In terms of travelling to Canada, you may be aware that you are inadmissible to Canada on grounds of criminality, and must deal with this issue before you will be permitted to enter Canada. There are various ways you could go about dealing with your inadmissibility, though, if you have been convicted of a serious offense, this is something that must be taken into consideration when determining how you will go about overcoming your inadmissibility. Throughout this article, we will explain the ways individuals convicted of one or more felonies can go about travelling to Canada lawfully.
The Temporary Solution: A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)
Virtually anyone can apply for a temporary resident permit, provided they have a good reason to come to Canada, and can prove they do not pose a risk to Canadian society. Though, the application for a temporary resident permit is one in which complete discretion is left to a Canadian immigration officer to determine whether or not you will be allowed to enter the country. This being the case, it is important to be aware that the officer will essentially balance the applicants need to enter the country, against the risk they pose to Canadian society as a convicted felon. If the officer is convinced the applicant has a compelling need to enter the country, and there is little to no reason to deny them this privilege, they will be permitted to enter Canada. Though, if an applicant does not have a compelling reason to enter Canada, there is little reason for an officer to grant a temporary resident permit, and you chances may be slim unfortunately.
It is important to understand the alternate application processes, and why each have their own advantages and disadvantages. You can either apply for a TRP at a Canadian consulate, or, at a port of entry upon attempting to enter Canada. You can increase your chances of obtaining a temporary resident permit by applying to the Canadian consulate for a TRP well in advance of your trip. Processing times are between 12-18 months, so going through this lengthy application process shows you are very serious about overcoming your criminality, and simply wish to have the privilege of travelling Canada. This is especially something to consider if you are ineligible for criminal rehabilitation. On the other hand, if you do have a compelling and urgent reason to enter Canada, such as a business trip which could not have been known about 12-18 months in advance, you could have a good chance of obtaining a temporary resident permit at a Canadian Port of Entry.
A Permanent Solution: Criminal Rehabilitation
Individuals who are eligible can apply for criminal rehabilitation. Though, if you have one or more felonies on your record, it is important to understand when you are eligible, to avoid submitting an application prematurely, which ultimately will be refused. If you have been convicted of one or more felonies, the eligibility requirements are as follows:
- Committed or were convicted of 1 serious offense – you are eligible to apply for rehabilitation once five years has passed since the applicant has entirely completed all conditions of the sentence imposed.
- Unfortunately, as there is a serious offense on your record, you cannot be deemed rehabilitated, you must apply for individual rehabilitation, and prove your situation has changed since you were involved in criminal activity.
- If you have committed more than one non-serious offense, you are still eligible to apply for criminal rehabilitation once five years has passed since the applicant has entirely completed all conditions of the sentence imposed, and you will never be eligible to apply for deemed rehabilitation.
- It is important to know, you may be eligible for deemed rehabilitation if you were only convicted of one non-serious offense and more than ten years has passed since the applicant has entirely completed all conditions of the sentence imposed.
How do I Apply for Criminal Rehabilitation?
Well, this is much like the process of applying for a temporary resident permit, and the decision is ultimately at the discretion of an immigration officer. The applicant must prove, as mentioned, that there situation is different than it was when they were involved in criminal activity. Furthermore, it is more important than anything that within the application, the applicant clearly show with official court documents when each and every condition imposed on them during sentencing, was completed. Failure to prove this will result in delays in the application, as this is one of the main requirements of applying for criminal rehabilitation. Ultimately, it is important to be aware that because the final decision is at the discretion of the immigration officer reviewing the application, applicant must submit complete and true applications which have been prepared thoroughly to prove the applicant deserved the be awarded criminal rehabilitation. Again, it important to demonstrate a change in situation, and show that the applicant is an upstanding, contributing member of society.
A Third Option: Record Suspension
If you believe you could successfully apply for a record suspension in your country or state of origin, then it may be worth doing this. If you can successfully apply for a record suspension, or a “pardon” as they may be known, you can then go about having this equated to a Canadian pardon, to restore your status as admissible to the country. Generally, it should be the case that American pardons are accepted by the Canadian courts, however, this is not always the case, and the process is by no means automatic. Once you have a valid record suspension from your country or state however, you can present this as proof of a clean record to Canadian immigration authorities, and they will determine whether or not they object to the fact that you would have also been pardoned in Canada. If they do not object, you will also be granted a Canadian record suspension, and be permitted to enter Canada freely again.
Contact Akrami & Associates
It is essential that you have taken all of the aforementioned requirements and documentation into consideration before you attempt to apply for any of the applications to resolve your criminal inadmissibility. These applications are difficult applications to pursue on your own and it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to submit the application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients that have criminal inadmissibility apply for these applications to resolve their criminal inadmissibility. If you believe that you may be eligible, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advice.
With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!