Can you return to Canada after committing a crime in Canada?

Daniel Levy
Published: June 20, 2022

People who commit crimes outside Canada become criminally inadmissible as soon as the charge is laid, but this is not the case for offences committed within Canada.

You only become inadmissible for a crime committed in Canada when an actual conviction takes place and not before. This is thanks to phrasing in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act which makes the distinction between "committing an act" that constitutes an offense and a conviction for an offense.

When someone receives a charge outside Canada for committing an act that constitutes an offence, they may become immediately inadmissible.

While a charge is pending you can still travel to Canada, but if convicted then you may not be able to. Fortunately, there are options for people to overcome criminal inadmissibility.

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How to overcome inadmissibility permanently

Although criminal rehabilitation is the application to pursue to resolve inadmissibility for an offence committed outside Canada, a different procedure must be followed when the crime takes place in Canada.

In this case, candidates can apply for a record suspension, a process comparable to criminal rehabilitation as the focus of the application is similar.

In both applications, officials look for how the individual has bettered themselves since the offence. The officials must be convinced the individual is unlikely to re-offend. The eligibility period differs slightly, however, as one may apply for a record suspension five years after completing the sentence for a summary conviction offence, or 10 years after completing the sentence for an indictable offence.

This distinction does not exist with regard to criminal rehabilitation. In all cases, the individual is eligible to apply five years after completion of the sentence.

How to overcome inadmissibility temporarily

A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is available to regardless of whether the offence took place inside or outside of Canada. TRPs allow you to stay or return to Canada before you become eligible for a record suspension.

TRPs are issued for the length of the stay in Canada (up to three years) and may be extended from inside Canada.

In order to get a TRP, you need to demonstrate to the Canadian government that the reason for your stay outweighs the risks of allowing you to stay. An experienced Canadian immigration lawyer can help you put forth a compelling application for a TRP.

Schedule a Free Legal Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

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