In general, if you were convicted of an offence in Canada or outside of Canada that is considered a crime in Canada, you are considered to be criminally inadmissible to Canada. Offences involving operation of a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs will, with very rare exceptions, render persons criminally inadmissible to Canada.
If you are inadmissible to enter Canada legally for any purpose and length of time, you must apply for one of the following:
Additional information can be found under the Frequently asked questions (FAQ).
As of January 29, 2013, new applications for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), Rehabilitation or Authority to Return to Canada (ARC) made by an applicant who is not also applying for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), study permit, work permit or Permanent Resident application should be submitted to the visa office in New York or Los Angeles.
If an inadmissibility issue is identified by the visa office in New York or Los Angeles in the course of processing a TRV, study permit, work permit or Permanent Resident application, the office will continue to process the application and the TRP, Rehabilitation and ARC as necessary.
A temporary resident permit temporarily overcomes inadmissibility
If you are inadmissible to Canada for criminal, medical or other reasons and there are compelling and urgent reasons to allow you to temporarily enter or remain in Canada, you may apply for a temporary resident permit
A1 There can be no precise answer to this question. Each application is different. There are many variables affecting processing times - including the complexity of your case, the nature of your criminal conviction, your ability to provide us all the relevant documentation and information in a timely manner, whether or not a personal interview is needed, and the degree of urgency for your presence in Canada.
We have an inventory of applications, as we receive many more in any given month than we have the resources to handle. As far as possible and practicable, applications are processed on a first in, first out basis. Most take several months to finalize.
A2 It is at the discretion of officials of the Canadian Border Services Agency whether to accept for processing an application to overcome criminal inadmissibility made at a Canadian port-of-entry. This discretion is rarely exercised positively. In most cases, you will be turned back with advice to apply at a Canadian Consulate.
A3 The law has not changed. You have been inadmissible since your conviction - it is just that your inadmissibility was not detected. Not everyone is asked at the port-of-entry if they have any criminal convictions, and very few volunteer this information.
It is also true that improved technology has significantly increased officers' access to criminal record databases.
A4 Not advised! If your criminal record is again detected at the port-of-entry, you may be declared inadmissible to Canada for up to two years - or even deported. Deportation carries a lifetime ban on entering Canada. You will then be inadmissible to Canada on two grounds - both through your criminal conviction and through the exclusion / deportation order against you.
A5 No. We are unable to make assessments by email, fax or telephone. We will only be able to provide an assessment of your situation if you submit the full application package with the processing fee and all the required documents and information.
A6 Cases are assessed on an individual basis and according to the severity of the offence. In line with Canada’s Federal Tourism Strategy, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency may now make it easier for you to enter Canada. Please see www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/faq/inadmissibility/index.asp for more information.
Please note that you must pay the processing fee at the time of your application. If you are eligible for a waiver of the processing fee, your payment will either be returned to you or refunded..
A7 Standards include the nature of the offence committed, the number of convictions, the amount of time that has passed since the convictions occurred, the efforts that the person has made to rehabilitate him/herself, the stability of the person's current lifestyle, the reasons for going to Canada and the unlikelihood of future offenses.
A8 It is not as complicated as it may first appear. It often does require persistence and patience to obtain the documents the officer needs to review to assess the application. However, most applicants are able to obtain these documents and submit a properly completed application without professional help.
If you do feel you need professional assistance, there are many Canadian law firms and immigration consultants available to represent you.
Officers and staff at the Consulate cannot advise or assist you in preparing an application. We must focus our limited resources on processing successfully completed applications as expeditiously as possible.
A9 You will not be required to submit updated certificates from states where you have resided in the past, but you will have to provide recent (less than 6 months old) certificates from your current state of residence and from the FBI.
A10 Deemed rehabilitation can be determined at a visa office or at a Canadian port of entry. There is no guarantee that the request will be approved. Should you wish to be considered for deemed rehabilitation, the following documents may be brought to a port of entry during regular business hours (Monday - Friday between 8 am and 5 pm):
If you are not certain that you are deemed rehabilitated, or would prefer to know whether you are criminally inadmissible before your planned trip to Canada, you may apply for rehabilitation at a visa office and submit a non-refundable processing fee. If you meet the requirements for deemed rehabilitation, you will be issued a letter to that effect. If you do not, your application will be considered as one for approval of rehabilitation.