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Criminally Inadmissible – Canada’s Strict Entry Requirements


Under normal circumstances, you are not allowed to enter or stay in Canada if you are deemed ‘Criminally Inadmissible’. However, there are some alternatives that may be available to you to allow you to enter Canada and overcome your prior criminal conviction.

What is ‘Criminally Inadmissible’?

Under Canada’s immigration legislation, if you have ever committed a criminal offence and been convicted, you may be declared ‘criminally inadmissible’ and be refused entry.

This includes both serious and minor offences such as, but not limited to:

  • Theft;
  • Fraud;
  • Assault;
  • Dangerous driving or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Possession or trafficking in drugs or controlled substances.

What are my options?

If you have committed any of these offences or others, it is important that you speak to an immigration lawyer or the Canadian Consulate before you book your trip. If you are deemed ‘inadmissible’ you may become admissible again if you:

  • Satisfy immigration that you meet the legal requirements to be deemed rehabilitated;
  • Apply for individual rehabilitation and are approved;
  • Receive a pardon or record suspension; or
  • Are offered a temporary resident permit.

Under normal circumstances if you have ever been convicted of a criminal offence you are ineligible to enter Canada unless issued a permit. A permit has a processing fee of $200 Canadian Dollars.

However, since 2012, a temporary resident permit offers an alternative as long as you:

  • Have served no gaol time; and
  • Have not committed any other acts that would prevent you from entering Canada.

Deemed Rehabilitation

Being deemed rehabilitated depends on the following criteria:

  • The type of crime that you committed;
  • How serious the crime was;
  • How much time has passed since the completion of the sentence of the crime;
    • 10 years for one indictable offence;
    • 5 years for two or more summary convictions;
    • Whether you have committed one or more crimes;
    • If the crime is punishable in Canada by a maximum prison sentence of less than 10 years.

You can be assessed for rehabilitation or admissibility by a Canadian visa office. More information on assessment, immigration, criteria and conditions of entry can be found on the Canadian Government website www.cic.gc.ca. If you require more information about your criminal conviction, would like to appeal a recent conviction or would like a recommendation for a competent immigration lawyer, please contact Armstrong Legal on 02 9261 4555 for an obligation free consultation.

Image Credit – amarosy © 123RF.com

Written by Tyson Brown on January 4, 2018

Tyson has a down to earth, straightforward approach to life and the law, one which is well received by all who meet him. Tyson has the ability to relate to all clients on a personal level, having spent many years prior to his legal career in customer service and hospitality. View Tyson's profile


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