Can I enter Canada if I work in the airline industry and have a criminal record?

Julia Hornstein
Published: July 3, 2022

If you have a criminal record, it is likely that you will experience issues entering Canada.

If you are a foreign national who has been arrested or convicted of a criminal offence, you may be considered criminally inadmissible to Canada. This can cause problems for workers with criminal records in the airline industry who work routes or itineraries that stopover in Canada.

Fortunately, there are solutions available to you as long as you prepare in advance of your trip.

Schedule a Free Legal Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

There are three main ways for those who work in the airline industry to overcome criminal inadmissibility to Canada:
• Submit a Temporary Resident Permit application
• Submit a Criminal Rehabilitation application
Legal Opinion Letter

Temporary Resident Permit Application

A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is an option for an individual considered criminally inadmissible as it grants temporary access to Canada for a certain period of time. A TRP is used in situations where a traveler has a valid reason for entering into Canada and the benefits of their entry outweigh any risks to Canadian society.

A TRP application can be granted for up to three years, depending on the reason of entry. A person can apply for a TRP at any point and does not require the completion of a criminal sentence.

Criminal Rehabilitation Application

The Canadian Government offers the opportunity to submit a criminal rehabilitation application to permanently clear your past criminal history for the purposes of entering Canada. The criminal rehabilitation application is a one-time solution that does not require renewal. Upon receiving approval for criminal rehabilitation, an individual is no longer considered inadmissible and would not require a TRP for entry into Canada.

In order be eligible for criminal rehabilitation, you must meet the following criteria:
• Must have committed an act outside of Canada that would be equivalent to an offence under the Canadian Criminal Code,
• Must have been convicted of or admitted to committing the act, and
• Five years must have passed since the sentence has been completed. This includes jail time, fines, community service or probation.

The most critical requirement is determining and understanding the equivalent offence in Canada. Per Canada’s Criminal Code, the nature and the gravity of the offense is important, as Canadian immigration authorities characterize offences based on serious versus non-serious criminality.

Legal Opinion Letter

A legal opinion letter can be used to pre-emptively avoid being found inadmissible to Canada. If you have committed or been convicted of a crime, you can address a legal opinion letter to the judicial authority hearing the case.

The letter, which is drafted by a Canadian immigration lawyer, will explain the consequences of a conviction for the Canadian immigration purposes. It will refer to relevant sections of Canadian law to help the person decide how to respond to charges and how different outcomes (conviction, sentencing, etc.) would affect their ability to come to Canada. The letter can even suggest alternate infractions that would not render the individual inadmissible to Canada. The effects of inadmissibility can have severe effects on employment as well as ability to see family members in Canada, so the letter can appeal to a judge’s compassion and be taken into consideration when deciding on an outcome.

If you are in the airline industry and are looking to take the steps to overcome criminal inadmissibility, a Canadian immigration lawyer can guide you. They will sit down with you to identify the past path forward, whether it is through the TRP application process, helping to find a Canadian Criminal Code equivalent for criminal rehabilitation or draft an appropriate legal opinion letter.

Schedule a Free Legal Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

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