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How to overcome inadmissibility in Canada

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Inadmissibility in Canada: Every year, millions of people come to Canada as tourists, guests, immigrants, foreign workers, and students. No matter why you want to come to Canada, though, you should know that a criminal record can make you ineligible.

If you have been accused of a crime in the past, whether or not you can go to Canada depends on how similar that crime is to a crime in Canada.

If your crime was judged summary, or less serious, you may still be allowed to enter the country without any extra permission or paperwork.

But if you were charged, it could be seen as a more serious crime, and you probably wouldn’t be allowed in Canada. Also, if you have two non-indictable crimes on your record, you might not be allowed in.

Common types of charges that keep someone from entering the country:

  • Driving while drunk
  • Reckless Driving
  • Fraud
  • Assault
  • Drug crimes

How to overcome inadmissibility in Canada

If you think you won’t be able to get into Canada, there are a few things you might be able to do. Temporary Resident Permits (TRP) and Criminal Rehabilitation applications are the two most popular.

Application for a Temporary Resident Permit

With a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), you can stay in Canada legally for a certain amount of time. It is not tied to the end of a sentence and can be used for up to three years, based on the reason for entry (such as work or a family situation). You can ask for an extension from inside Canada if you need one.

You should apply for a TRP if you: 

  • Have been guilty of a crime outside of Canada that, if it were committed in Canada, would be the same as an indictable offence punishable by less than 10 years;
  • Have been found guilty of a crime outside of Canada that is the same as a mixed crime with a sentence of less than 10 years. In Canada, a hybrid crime can be tried either through summary process or by charge.
  • Have been guilty of two or more crimes that, if done in Canada, would be the same as two summary offences.

You can apply for Criminal Rehabilitation if you want a past crime to be taken off your record for good. You only have to fill out an application for Criminal Rehabilitation once, and if it is accepted, you won’t have to fill out any more. To be eligible:

  • You must have done something outside of Canada that would be illegal under the Canadian Criminal Code. 
  • You must have been found guilty of or admitted to doing that thing.
  • It must have been at least five years since the full sentence or words were finished. This stage includes jail time, fines, and probation.

Different Ways of Criminals Rehabilitation

There are two types of Criminal Rehabilitation that can make a person eligible to go to Canada again.

Individual rehabilitation is most common after a person has served their sentence for a less major crime for at least five years. You should be able to show that you have changed for the better and are no longer likely to do something bad.

You can show this by showing that your life is safe, that you have ties to the community, that you have social and job skills, or that the crime was an isolated event.

People who have been convicted of an indictable crime with a sentence of less than ten years and meet the following standards are better off with “deemed rehabilitation.”

  • They have been out of prison for ten years. 
  • They have not been convicted of an indictable or summary crime in Canada in the last ten years, or of more than one summary crime in the ten years before that. 
  • They have not been convicted outside of Canada of a crime that, if committed in Canada, would be an indictable crime in the last ten years, or of more than one summary crime in the ten years before that.

Processing applications for both types of criminal rehabilitation can take from 6 to 12 months and cost between $200 and $1,000, based on how bad the crime was, so it’s best to plan as far ahead as possible.

Legal Opinion Letter

When filing for a TRP or criminal rehabilitation, it can be helpful to send a Legal Opinion Letter to the Canadian government office that will decide whether or not you can come to Canada.

A Canadian immigration lawyer wrote the letter. In the letter, the lawyer shows how the crime is similar to Canadian law and how it could affect Canadian immigration law. This information can help the immigration officer decide how to react to the charges and how your ability to enter Canada would be affected by different outcomes, like being found guilty or getting a sentence.


  1. Serious charges can lead to inadmissibility.
  2. Options to gain legal entry to Canada.
  3. TRP allows legal entry for a specified time.
  4. Criminal Rehabilitation
  5. Legal Opinion Letter.
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