Do I need a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) to enter Canada?

Matt Hendler
Published: August 23, 2021

Are you planning to come to Canada to immigrate, study, work, or simply visit? 

You may have issues in doing so if you have been charged or convicted of a criminal offence. Even offences such as theftdriving under the influence and  assault can be an issue and result in a person being considered inadmissible to Canada.

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The Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) serves people with criminal inadmissibility issues as a temporary solution to enter Canada. Its purpose is to grant access to travelers who plan to come to Canada for a significant reason. Tourism generally will not count. Canadian immigration officials are more likely to accept worker, study, or family reasons.  

To apply for a TRP you will need to submit an application that both explains your criminal history – and why you deserve to come to Canada. You will have to include supporting documents such as background checks, court documents and proof of your reason for entering Canada. 

American citizens, or people with permanent resident status in the U.S can submit their TRP application at a Canadian consulate or any port of entry (POE) - whether by land, sea or air. Non-Americans must apply at a Canadian consulate to have their TRP application processed. The Canadian Government charges a $200 CAD processing fee for all TRP applications, no matter which way you apply. 

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Although applying for TRPs through a Canadian consulate involves significant processing time (3-6 months), it is considered the best approach for foreign nationals. This is because a decision will be made by an experienced immigration officer who understands the many reasons why your visit could be justified. This is also the best approach because it takes any of the guesswork out of the equation. You will know in advance of your trip if you are allowed into the country. 

Canadian port of entries includes airports, land crossings or sea entry points - essentially, at any place where a passport would be required to enter the country. The advantage of applying at a POE is immediate processing. A Canadian immigration officer will consider and process, right then and there, the application. The officer will balance the person's need to enter Canada against the health and security risks to the Canadian population. Officers often decide on temporary resident permit applications at POEs in a manner of minutes. 

The main disadvantage of applying for a TRP at a port of entry is the uncertainty. You won’t know whether your application will be approved or denied by the immigration officer that reviews your application until the day you try to enter Canada. In many cases, this can lead to some very unexpected and unpleasant situations. 

Both the temporary resident permit (TRP) and criminal rehabilitation applications can be submitted with or without legal representation.  

Applications for a TRP are often difficult to understand. This can be the case both for the person applying and for the officer who is reviewing the application. Often, an application that is potentially acceptable in most cases is denied simply because the applicant did not provide the proper documents and explanations. The function of a TRP application is to argue that you need to enter Canada and do not pose a risk to Canadians. Although not required, an experienced lawyer can be helpful in the preparation of this argument. 

If it has been less than 5 years since completing your sentence or you believe you may be inadmissible and require entering Canada soon, the TRP may be a helpful solution. A Canadian immigration law firm can be a valuable resource when an individual is exploring entry into Canada with criminal history, and even more so in preparing an application for future entry.

Click here to get a free consultation with the Law Firm of Campbell Cohen

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