If you wish to work in or visit Canada, a criminal conviction can pose a barrier to entering the country. In the past, many vacationers have been dismayed to learn that even a single minor conviction from years ago can render them ‘inadmissible’ to Canada on the basis of criminal concerns. Thankfully, steps can be taken to address problems of inadmissibility to Canada.
For many individuals with one or more criminal convictions, a popular way to come to Canada on a temporary basis is to apply for and receive a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). Last year, over 12,000 TRPs were issued to new temporary residents in Canada, including visitors, workers, and students.
What is a TRP?
A TRP is a government document that is issued to a foreign national for a set period of time. During that time period, it allows the holder to enter and reside in Canada temporarily despite their criminal record.
A TRP can be issued for any length of time up to three years, and it can be extended from within Canada. Individuals applying for Canadian Permanent Residency can apply for this document for a short-term stay, but must pursue an application for Criminal Rehabilitation in order to enter Canada permanently.
Who Needs a TRP?
Any individual who wishes to come to Canada temporarily and is considered inadmissible may be eligible for a TRP.
Individuals with both summary and indictable offenses (known as misdemeanors and felonies in the United States) may follow the same application procedure. Of course, individuals with multiple or serious offenses may need to present a stronger case for entering Canada than individuals with a single minor conviction.
Obtaining a TRP
The most common way to obtain a TRP is to apply through a Canadian Visa Office or Canadian Port of Entry. The core of the TRP application is to present an argument that an individual:
- Has a compelling reason to enter Canada, and
- Their reason to enter Canada outweighs possible risks to Canadians
There are a number of ways to achieve these two points, including:
- Providing sources (employers, etc) who attest to an applicant’s good character
- Explaining clearly the reason for entering, whether it be to see family, work, etc
A new rule instituted last year has allowed Canadian Border Services officials to waive the $200 application fee and issue a TRP at the border for individuals with one offense that did not result in jail time. This can be done on a one-time basis only, and helps travelers who arrive at the border unaware of their inadmissible status. Last year almost 2,300 TRPs were issued in this way.
“Individuals from the United States and other countries exempt from the requirement for Temporary Resident Visas have the option to arrive at the Canadian border without first securing a necessary TRP,” said Attorney David Cohen. “However, I caution individuals in need of a TRP to plan ahead if at all possible. The decision to admit you to Canada is at the discretion of the visa officer reviewing your file, and it would be unfortunate to travel all the way to the border only to be turned away.”
A criminal conviction is by no means the end of one’s plans to come to Canada. Like booking airfare or double-checking your passport, obtaining a TRP and/or other necessary documentation is simply another step to take in preparing for your time in the country.
For assistance in applying for a TRP, please contact Campbell Cohen today.