How to overcome serious criminality to enter Canada

Julia Hornstein
Published: March 15, 2023

Serious offences may deem someone inadmissible to Canada or subject to a removal order. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) deem offences as serious criminality based on maximum imposable sentences in Canada.

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For convictions within Canada, serious criminality may stem from:

  • A conviction in Canada of an indictable offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years; or
  • A conviction in Canada and received a prison term of at least six months.

For convictions outside Canada,

  • A conviction outside Canada of an act that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to a indictable offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years; or
  • A conviction outside Canada of an act that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to a hybrid offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years.

For criminal acts committed outside Canada,

  • Committing of an act outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to an indictable offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years.

Overcoming Criminality

In order to overcome serious criminality, you must either apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or for criminal rehabilitation. The passage of time does not deem a foreign national to be rehabilitated.

A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is used when an individual is inadmissible to Canada because of health or criminality issues. It grants temporary access to Canada for a certain period of time. A TRP can be granted for up to three years, depending on the purpose of your travel, and does not require the completion of a criminal sentence. A TRP is given in situations where you may have a valid reason for entering Canada and the benefit of your entrance into the country outweighs any risk to Canada society.

Another option for those with serious criminality is an application for criminal rehabilitation, which permanently clears your record for the purpose of entering Canada. In order to be eligible, it must be over five years since the completion of your sentence. Once you have received approval for criminal rehabilitation, you will no longer be considered inadmissible to Canada.

In order be eligible for criminal rehabilitation, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Five years must have passed since your sentence has been completed. This includes jail time, fines, community service or probation.
  • You must have committed an act outside of Canada that would be equivalent to an offence under the Canadian Criminal Code.
  • You must have been convicted of or admitted to committing the act.

Schedule a Free Legal Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

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