Celebrities like the Fugees denied entry to Canada: The importance of applying to overcome inadmissibility

Daniel Levy
Published: November 1, 2023

The Fugees

Canada has strict entry laws for any foreign national looking to come to Canada. Each individual must pass admissibility requirements before they are allowed to enter the country.

Schedule a Free Legal Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

Many people are surprised to learn that a prior criminal record can result in a Canadian Immigration Officer refusing their entry, or application, on the basis of criminal inadmissibility.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) place massive importance on securing the country’s borders from those who may pose a risk. Because of this, they can deny entry to a foreign national who they believe is likely to commit a crime during their visit to Canada.

IRCC and CBSA does not discriminate based on fame or wealth. Criminal inadmissibility laws apply to everyone, including famous artists, musicians, and actors. Many celebrities face this issue since a charge like a D.U.I. (driving under the influence) is enough to be barred entry.

The Fugees had to cancel their 25th anniversary tour of The Score due to Pras Michel’s federal charges of conspiracy and falsifying records.

Rapper G-Eazy also had to cancel his show in Alberta because he was denied entry to the country due to his criminal record. The rapper was arrested in Sweden for cocaine possession when he also attacked security guards at a nightclub.

Overcoming criminal inadmissibility

There are a few options that will allow you to overcome a criminal record and ultimately be allowed entry to Canada.

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

This letter is a document drafted by a Canadian immigration lawyer and refers to relevant sections of Canadian law. It outlines the consequences of a guilty verdict for Canadian immigration purposes. The contents of the letter would help the deciding authority of the case determine how to respond to various charges and how different convictions and sentencing would affect a person’s ability to enter Canada.

If your situation does not allow for pre-emptive action, you can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or for criminal rehabilitation.

A TRP grants access to Canada for up to three years, depending on the reason of entry. A TRP is usually used when a foreign national has a valid reason for entering Canada and the benefits of their entry outweigh any risks to Canadian society. A person can apply for a TRP at any point and does not require the completion of a criminal sentence.

A criminal rehabilitation application permanently clears past criminal history from your record for the purposes of entering the country. The benefit of this application is that is a one-time solution that does not require renewal. Once you receive approval for criminal rehabilitation, you are no longer considered inadmissible to Canada.

Fortunately, you can always overcome criminal inadmissibility, provided you have competent legal counsel and act in advance to allow enough time before your visit or immigration to Canada.

Contact Cohen Immigration Law for assistance

If you want to immigrate to Canada or you are planning a visit, you are welcome to contact me, Daniel Levy, Senior Attorney at Cohen Immigration Law. I have worked at Cohen Immigration for over 10 years and specializes many areas, including criminal inadmissibility.

I have experience working with celebrities such as actors and musicians in the United States and abroad. I travel regularly between the US and Canada to service Cohen Immigration Law clients.

Schedule a Free Legal Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

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