Visiting Canada in summer 2022? What you can do if you have a criminal record

Daniel Levy
Published: April 17, 2022

If you are thinking of coming to Canada this summer but a past criminal record is slowing you down, you might want to examine your options to overcome criminal inadmissibility.

Although it is true that committing even minor crimes can render you inadmissible, it does not necessarily mean you will never be able to come to Canada.

Depending on the crime, how long ago it happened, and how you have behaved since, you may still be allowed to travel to Canada. However, you need to demonstrate that you are not a threat to the Canadian public, or you meet the criteria to be considered rehabilitated. Here are some of the ways you can come to Canada with a criminal record.

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Temporary Resident Permit

A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), as the name suggests, is a temporary solution that may enable you to enter Canada. If you have a valid reason to travel to Canada, but you are inadmissible, you may be able to get a TRP. An immigration or border officer will decide if your reason for entering Canada outweighs the risks to Canadians.

You may be able to get a TRP if it has been less than five years since the end of your sentence, or you have a valid reason to be in Canada. Applicants who wish to enter Canada for business or compassionate reasons are more likely to gain a TRP than those wanting to come to Canada for tourism.

If you want to come to Canada as a tourist, you might want to apply for another option instead.


Criminal Rehabilitation, is a permanent solution to inadmissibility. If your application is successful, your criminal history will no longer be grounds for denying you entry into Canada as long as you do not commit another crime. You become eligible for rehabilitation five years after you complete your sentence. Fees to pay for the application will differ depending on the nature of your crime. The application fee is $200 CAD for non-serious criminality and $1,000 CAD for serious criminality.

Under Canadian law, you may be deemed rehabilitated if at least 10 years have passed since you were convicted of a non-serious crime. You can be automatically deemed rehabilitated and not need to apply for criminal rehabilitation, but you may wish to consult a Canadian immigration lawyer in advance to get a legal opinion letter.

Legal Opinion Letter

In a legal opinion letter, a Canadian immigration lawyer provides a legal opinion on why you should not be considered inadmissible to Canada. It can also complement one of the previously-mentioned options since you can bring the letter with you to the border as additional proof you should be allowed into Canada. A legal opinion letter can be beneficial in a number of individuals, including but not limited to the following:

1) people who may be deemed rehabilitated;

2) people who have been charged but not convicted of a crime, such as those who received a deferral of adjudication or a Nolle Prosequi; and

3) individuals who have been convicted of an offence which does not have an equivalent in Canada.

Schedule a Free Legal Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

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