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Inadmissibility to Canada: What Causes It and How to Overcome It

Overcoming inadmissibility and gaining entry to Canada depends on the nature of the offence and the time that has elapsed since the completion of the sentence. Additionally, the application processing fees may vary based on the offence classification. Various sanctions, which may sometimes be combined, are employed to penalize individuals for committing offences; these sanctions include imprisonment, probation, fines, license suspension, and deportation. It is important to note that when multiple sanctions are imposed, the completion date of the final one is considered for Canadian inadmissibility purposes.


As a general principle, any act considered an offence in both the country where it occurred and in Canada has the potential to render an individual inadmissible.


Overcoming Criminal Inadmissibility in Canada:

To enter Canada, individuals with a history of criminal convictions face criminal inadmissibility. There are three primary methods to overcome this hurdle:


1. Temporary Resident Permit Application:

If you’ve been arrested or convicted for a criminal offence, such as DUI, you might be considered criminally inadmissible to Canada. A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) can provide temporary access to those inadmissible. TRPs are suitable for significant travel and can be granted for stays of up to three years and be extended while in Canada. Unlike criminal rehabilitation, TRPs have no specific time frame in relation to sentence completion. You can apply for a TRP at any time, even while serving a sentence.


When is a TRP Application Necessary?
  • If you have been convicted of a crime outside Canada, it is equivalent to an indictable offence with a sentence of fewer than 10 years;
  • If you have been convicted outside Canada of a crime equivalent to a hybrid offence with a sentence of less than 10 years;
  • If you have been convicted of two or more crimes equivalent to two summary offences, should they occur in Canada;
  • Offences committed within Canada during a temporary stay can impact your visitor status or Permanent Residence eligibility.
2. Criminal Rehabilitation Application:

Criminal rehabilitation offers a permanent solution for individuals with a criminal history seeking to enter Canada. Once approved, you are no longer considered inadmissible and won’t need a TRP for entry. This application doesn’t require renewal, unlike TRPs.


Eligibility for Criminal Rehabilitation:
  • You must have committed an offence outside Canada that would constitute an offence under the Canadian Criminal Code.
  • You must have been convicted or admitted to committing the act.
  • At least five years must have passed since completing your full sentence, which includes jail time, fines, and probation.


Determining Serious Criminality in Canada:
  • The nature and gravity of the offence are crucial, based on Canada’s Criminal Code.
  • Canadian immigration authorities differentiate between serious and non-serious criminality.
  • Serious criminality can result in inadmissibility or removal proceedings.


In Canada, serious criminality includes:
  •  A conviction for an indictable offence with a maximum sentence of at least ten years.
  • Receiving a prison term of at least six months.
  • Outside Canada, a conviction for an act is equivalent to an indictable offence with a
    maximum sentence of at least ten years or a hybrid offence with a similar sentence.


Types of Criminal Rehabilitation:
  • There are two forms of criminal rehabilitation: Individual Rehabilitation and Deemed


3. Legal Opinion Letter

If someone has a criminal record or has been convicted of a crime and wants to avoid being refused entry to Canada, they can get a legal opinion letter. This letter, created by a Canadian immigration lawyer, explains how Canadian law affects immigration for people with criminal records. It helps them understand what might happen if they face criminal charges and how it could impact their ability to enter Canada.


Depending on the situation, a criminal record could have serious consequences, like losing a job that requires travelling to Canada from the U.S. or being unable to visit family members in Canada.

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