Can I come to Canada on a hunting and fishing trip with a criminal record?

Julia Hornstein
Published: February 17, 2023

Canada is a popular destination for hunting and fishing enthusiasts due to the country’s diverse natural landscape and wide variety of wildlife and terrain. Many thousands of US citizens and residents choose to come to Canada annually for hunting and fishing trips. Individuals with a criminal record – however – can face issues at the border and be denied entry into Canada due to criminal inadmissibility.

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US citizens and residents are most commonly turned away at the border for crimes such as reckless driving, driving under the influence (DUI) and petty theft.

Criminal inadmissibility may sometimes be resolved with the passage of time, which is known as deemed rehabilitation. Despite this, if you have more than one offence or a single more serious offence, inadmissibility cannot be resolved simply because sufficient time has passed.

Overcoming Criminal Inadmissibility

There are three main ways to overcome criminal inadmissible if you are planning a trip to Canada:

  • Submit a Temporary Resident Permit Application
  • Submit a Criminal Rehabilitation Letter
  • Legal Opinion Letter

Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)

A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is an option if you are considered criminally inadmissible to Canada as it grants temporary access to the country for a certain period of time.

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. A TRP allows for one-time entry into Canada, but in some cases, it can permit multiple re-entries. Once in Canada with a TRP, you may apply to extend the duration of the permit.

A TRP is only used in situations where the traveler has a valid reason for entering Canada, such as for business purposes or an emergency. The benefits of their entry must outweigh any risks to Canadian society. Usually, traveling for hunting and fishing is not considered an important reason by immigration officers for entering Canada. For this reason, you should ensure the TRP application is well-prepared and conforms as much as possible to what immigration authorities are looking for in a successful application.

Criminal Rehabilitation Letter

You may submit a criminal rehabilitation application to the Canadian government to permanently clear your past criminal history for the purposes of entering Canada. The criminal rehabilitation application is a one-time solution that, unlike a TRP, does not require renewal. If an individual is granted approval for criminal rehabilitation, they are 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

A legal opinion letter can be drafted by a Canadian immigration lawyer on your behalf explaining the facts of your situation and make a case as to why the immigration authorities should let you enter the country. The letter could identify relevant Canadian law and suggest alternate infractions that would not render you inadmissible to Canada.

An experienced immigration attorney can help you overcome criminal inadmissibility issues. Cohen Immigration Law’s team of lawyers and professionals will work to understand your situation and help you draft and submit the strongest application to Canadian immigration authorities.

Schedule a Free Legal Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

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