How to overcome inadmissibility to Canada
Canada welcomes millions of visitors, tourists, workers, students and immigrants each year. Nevertheless, Canada has admissibility requirements that each foreign national must meet before they are allowed to enter the country. Such requirements include passing a criminal background check and undergoing medical examinations.
If you are a foreign national who has been arrested or convicted of a criminal offence, you may be considered criminally inadmissible to Canada. Foreign convictions and arrests are compared to Canadian laws and standards when determining an individual’s criminal inadmissibility and an equivalent is found under the Criminal Code of Canada.
If your offense is equivalent to a summary offense and it is your only criminal conviction, you may be considered admissible to Canada and will not require permission to enter the country. If the offense is equivalent to an indictable offence, which is defined as serious criminality, you may be considered inadmissible to Canada and will require permission to enter the country.
What an individual must do to overcome inadmissibility will depend on the classification of the offence (serious versus non-serious) and the time that has elapsed since the completion of a sentence (includes probation, fines, etc.).
The three main ways to overcome inadmissibility to Canada are:
- A Temporary Resident Permit application
- A Criminal Rehabilitation application
- A 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.
Legal Opinion Letter
The legal opinion 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 official 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.
Every applicant for a Canadian immigration visa is required to undergo a medical examination. These examinations are usually standard physical exams but may include prior medical records and mental state examinations.
An applicant may be found medically inadmissible if:
- They have a medical condition that may reasonably be expected to endanger the health or safety of the Canadian population, or
- Their admission to Canada may reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on Canada’s public health and social services
The medical officer must consider the nature, severity and probable duration of any health impairment from which the applicant is suffering in order to determine medical inadmissibility.
Upon a finding of medical inadmissibility, it is possible to seek legal remedy by demonstrating that the applicant will not exceed the estimated average costs of medical treatment in Canada, or that there are a humanitarian and compassionate considerations that should warrant an exception in their case.
Similar to criminal inadmissibility, for temporary stays in Canada, an applicant who does not meet the medical admissibility requirements may apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) to overcome medical inadmissibility and enter Canada.
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