Travelling to Canada with a Criminal Record
Have you ever planned your trip to Canada, arrived at a Canadian border and Denied at the Port of Entry? Well if this is your situation you are not the only one!! We get dozens of calls every day about individuals being denied entry to Canada and are not exactly sure why they have been turned back at the port of entry. Well, there could be many reasons for being denied entry ranging from minor to major criminal offences that you might have been convicted years ago. If you have admissibility issues, here are some reasons why you could be denied entry into Canada such as:
- Possibly being a security risk to Canadian citizens
- Have committed a human rights violations
- Being involved in some criminal activity
- Being very sick causing to be a health risk to canadian citizens
- Lying in your application
- Having an inadmissible member in the family.
- Having financial problems (not showing enough finances to support yourself during your stay in Canada)
- Having a criminal inadmissibility such as DUI, theft, assault, manslaughter, dangerous driving, possession of drugs etc.
What is a Temporary Resident Permit?
A Temporary Resident Permit, as the name implies is a temporary permit also known as TRP. A Temporary Resident Permit allows travellers to enter Canada for temporary basis and it is good for individuals that need to come to Canada for business meetings or are attending a special occasion immediately or any other reason that might be considered valid. It is recommended to apply for TRP or Criminal Rehabilitation in advance prior to attempting to cross the border. You can apply for criminal rehabilitation to have your criminal offense to be pardoned officially if five years have passed since the end of your sentence. If you think you are leading positive lifestyle, not involved in any other criminal activities than criminal rehabilitation might be for you.
Who can apply to a Temporary Resident Permit?
Any person unable to apply for a regular Canadian visa can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). You may be granted a TRP if you have a valid reason to enter Canada, if it is less than five years since you have been criminally convicted and do not pose a risk to Canadians or Canadian society in any way. If you have been denied entry into Canada due to your previous Criminal Record for a DWI or a DUI or refused entry from a visa exempt country then you may apply for a Temporary Resident Permit on social, economic or humanitarian grounds at any border crossing. You will have to convince the officer at the immigration border of your reasons for entry since he has the discretion to decide whether he will allow entry and for how long.
Duration of the Temporary Resident Permit
The permit is usually issued for a length of period of your stay in Canada, it has an expiry date and you have to apply for a new permit before the current one expires. Once you leave the country before the expiry date you will not be able to re-enter as the permit is now invalid.
Are you Criminally Inadmissible?
Your reasons for being criminally inadmissible could range from minor to major criminal offences that you might have been convicted years ago. Some of which would be: theft, assault, manslaughter, dangerous and reckless driving, drunk driving (under the influence of DUI or DWI) and possession or trafficking drugs or controlled substances.
The officer will have to consider how long ago you committed the crime and your behavior since the crime. You have to convince the immigration officer that you have been deemed rehabilitated, your rehabilitation has been approved or you have been granted a pardon or a record suspension and have a Temporary Resident Permit. There are two ways to be criminally rehabilitated one is by being deemed rehabilitated and the other by individual rehabilitation.
Deemed Rehabilitated versus Individual Rehabilitation
Deemed Rehabilitated means that enough number of years has passed since your conviction and you have finished serving the sentence. The crime committed outside Canada should have a prison term less than 10 years if committed in Canada. You are deemed rehabilitated if it has been at least ten years on completion of the sentence imposed. You are eligible to apply for rehabilitation after five years of the sentence imposed.
Individual Rehabilitated means you have been rehabilitated and you are unlikely to commit new crimes. Also five years have passed since you have completed your criminal sentence.
Record Suspension or Discharge
If you have a past criminal record and have not obtained a pardon you may have to apply for a record suspension or a discharge with the Parole Board of Canada. If you have obtained a Canadian record suspension, you may no longer be inadmissible. If you have a suspension or a discharge in another country then the visa officer of that country can give you information if your discharge is valid in Canada.
How to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit if you are from a visa exempt country?
If you are a citizen of a visa exempt country or an eTA required country and you have been refused for your country and submit your application forms for a TRP, Form IMM 5708 along with your supporting documents explaining your reasons for inadmissibility.
You have to pay a non-refundable fee of C$200 as processing fees for your application for a Temporary Resident Permit.
Can I travel with my spouse to Canada even though I was convicted of DUI but do not intend to drive in Canada?
If you have been convicted of DUI or DWI, you have been convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol then you are facing charges of a misdemeanor or a felony and are criminally inadmissible, and may be denied entry into Canada. It does not matter if you will drive or not in Canada you may still be denied entry.
You could apply for Temporary Resident Permit as a temporary solution. You may be granted a multiple entry, 3 years Temporary permit. A permanent solution is to apply to be criminally rehabilitated. You do not have to worry of it expiring or having to renew again. But to apply for a criminal rehabilitation five years have to have passed since the completion of your sentence.
Can I visit Canada with a Temporary Resident Permit although convicted of DUI long time ago?
Many prospective tourists are surprised to find that a conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, long time ago will be the cause of being held back by the Canada Border Security Agency (CBSA). Whatever may be your reason to enter Canada be it to study, work or to sightsee as a tourist a past conviction can bar your entry into Canada? A Temporary Resident Permit may let you stay in Canada if you’re most recent offence occurred less than five years ago.
Why do I need to apply for a record suspension for a DUI if I plan to visit Canada?
A record suspension is a pardon allowing people who have been convicted of a criminal offence, the ability to keep your criminal conviction from being assessed by having it cleared off your records. If you have a DUI conviction, you would definitely want to have a record suspension, especially if you wish to travel to Canada. In the event you do not obtain a record suspension you could apply for a Temporary Resident Permit.
Contact Akrami & Associates we are here to help!!
If you find yourself in sticky situation and need to come to Canada for temporary or on permanent basis and not sure how to go about doing so, we at Akrami & Associates can help you deal with the process and your entry back into Canada. Obtaining a representative is a viable legal option to counsel you and assist you in your endeavour to succeed in your entry into Canada. At Akrami and Associates we immigration professionals have over 10 years of experience dealing with situations like yours. Akrami & Associates can conduct a criminality assessment to determine your inadmissibility issues or your eligibility into Canada or help you with any other immigration questions. Please feel free to call us at 416-477-2545 and one of our immigration specialists will be glad to assist you with your immigration matter. With Akrami and Associates there is always a way!!