The Criminal Code of Canada breaks down criminal offences into 2 classes.
Summary criminal offences, which are “less serious” and indictable offences “more serious” offences.
Many criminal offences are like impaired driving, drive over 80 and dangerous driving are considered dual offences, meaning the crown attorney can decide whether to proceed summarily or by indictment.
Whatever the offence, a minor or serious a criminal record may prevent entry to Canada.
Temporary Resident Permits are a time limited permit to enter and stay in Canada.
The permit allows a normally inadmissible person to travel to Canada. The temporary resident permit are available for criminal inadmissibility and medical inadmissibility.
To be eligible for a temporary resident permit, your need to enter or stay in Canada must outweigh the health or safety risks to Canadian society, as determined by an immigration or a border services officer.
Even if the reason you’re inadmissible seems minor, you must demonstrate that your visit is justified. The border official will review the number of offences, the nature and consider how much time has past since the offence(s) occurred.
There is a fee for the application and there is no guarantee that you’ll be issued a temporary resident permit.
A Canadian immigration officer will decide if you can enter Canada when you apply for a visa, an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), or when you arrive at a port of entry.
Under Canada’s immigration law, if you have committed or been convicted of a crime, you may not be allowed into Canada. In other words, you may be “criminally inadmissible.”
This includes both minor and serious crimes, such as:
- dangerous driving,
- driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and
- possession of or trafficking in drugs or controlled substances.
You can find a list of criminal offences in the Criminal Code of Canada and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Persons convicted of a crime when they were under the age of 18, may still be able to enter Canada.
Depending on the crime, how long ago it was and how you have behaved since, you may still be allowed to come to Canada, if you:
- convince an immigration officer that you meet the legal terms to be deemed rehabilitated, or
- applied for rehabilitation and were approved, or
- were granted a record suspension or
- have a temporary resident permit
Deemed rehabilitation, means that enough time has passed since you were convicted that your crime may no longer bar you from entering Canada.
You may be deemed rehabilitated depending on:
- the crime,
- if enough time has passed since you finished serving the sentence for the crime and
- if you have committed more than one crime.
Deemed rehabilitated and not criminally inadmissible means that the crime committed outside Canada has a maximum prison term of less than 10 years if committed in Canada.
Rehabilitation means that you are not likely to commit new crimes.
You can apply for individual rehabilitation to enter Canada. The Minister, or their delegate, may decide to grant it or not. To apply, you must:
- show that you meet the criteria,
- have been rehabilitated and
- highly unlikely to take part in further crimes
Also, at least five years must have passed since:
- the end of your criminal sentence (including probation), and
- the day you committed the act that made you criminally inadmissible
If you are applying for criminal rehabilitation along with your temporary resident (visitor visa, study permit or work permit) application, you can submit everything together and apply at the nearest Visa Application Centre.
If you are a foreign national who needs an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), you have to submit a separate application for criminal rehabilitation before you apply for your eTA. You can do so by following the procedures below. Once you have received confirmation of your rehabilitation, you may apply for an eTA. If you apply for your eTA before you receive your rehabilitation, your application will be assessed based on the information currently available, and may result in the refusal of your application.
If you are submitting a separate application for criminal rehabilitation you must complete the application and submit it directly to the visa office responsible for your region by mail or courier only. You must also pay a processing fee. These applications can take over a year to process.