Are you thinking of immigrating to Canada? Did you know that there are a number of crimes that can cause you to be denied entry to Canada? From violent crimes like manslaughter, to fraud and drunk driving; there is a list of offenses that could stop you from entering Canada.
Being inadmissible to Canada is broadly defined as being unable to enter or stay in Canada. There are various reasons for this including criminal behavior, being considered unfit medically, not having enough finances to support yourself during your stay in Canada, and these are just a few.
Among these reasons for inadmissibility to Canada, criminality or engaging in criminal activity is among the most prominent. So if you’ve made the decision to immigrate, either alone or with your family, we would caution you to be cognizant of the criminal conditions outlined by the Canadian government in its criminal codes to see if your prior relationship with the law might affect your admissibility to Canada.
Types of Crimes that Can Cause You to be Denied Entry to Canada
Canada considers crimes that are punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison. Crimes such as first or second degree murder would be deemed serious crimes and can result in you being unable to enter Canada.
Manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter also lowers your chances of being able to enter Canada. Vehicular homicide, also called vehicular manslaughter, is the killing of another person due to reckless driving. Whether it is voluntary or involuntary, the crime is looked at as serious and can prevent you from getting into Canada.
DUI stands for driving under the influence. This refers to drinking alcohol while driving, or driving after you have consumed alcohol. This is a criminal offence, and if you are arrested for driving under the influence, chances are, you will not be admissible to Canada.
Drinking and driving could result in major injury and even death for the driver and other innocent people on the road. Canada takes the safety of its people seriously and will not allow people to enter who could risk the safety of others.
If you have been charged with theft, this can also bar you from entering Canada. Thieves who are opportunists and kleptomaniacs (people who have a prolonged history of stealing) are perceived as some of the lowest of the low in Canadian society.
Canada prides itself on having a society that values individual effort, private enterprise and earning what is due to you through hard work. Therefore anyone who covets and conspires to acquire other people's possessions is greatly despised by Canadian society. The punitive measures that Canada takes for theft are very severe.
Drug Possession and Drug Trafficking
Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) states that having drugs on you, on your property, or giving it to someone else with the intention of using the drug for your own benefit, is an unlawful act known as drug possession.
Drug trafficking involves the manufacturing and selling of illegal substances. Drug related charges like these are among the top offences that can prevent you from entering Canada for a number of years, before you are given a chance to apply for a visa again.
This refers to a violation of provincial or local laws that prohibit the manufacturing, buying, selling, transportation or use of firearms or any other deadly weapons.
The crimes mentioned can all pose a risk to Canadian citizens and people living in Canada. Therefore, if you are charged with any of the crimes discussed, you will not be allowed to enter Canada. However, there might still be hope for you to travel to Canada, even if you have been charged with a criminal offence.
Ways to Overcome Criminal Inadmissibility
If you have been declared inadmissible to Canada due to previous criminal charges, here’s how you could try and overcome criminal convictions:
- Apply for rehabilitation
- Be deemed to be rehabilitated if 10 years has passed since you committed the offence
You can apply for rehabilitation if 10 years have passed since you have committed the crime. However, the offense needs to be punishable by a maximum of 10 years imprisonment in Canada.
Offences both inside and outside of Canada.
If you have offences both inside and outside of Canada, you may need to take an extra step to be able to enter Canada.
You may need to get a pardon in addition to your approval for rehabilitation, to be able to overcome your inadmissibility. You would need to meet with an immigration lawyer in order to do this.
An immigration lawyer will help you gather sufficient evidence if you need to file an immigration application so you can be granted permission to enter Canada with past convictions or offenses.
Get to Canada Even With Past Convictions
Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)
A temporary resident permit or TRP, is a document that allows those who are technically inadmissible to Canada, to visit the country. A TRP is only issued to someone if their need to come to Canada outweighs the risk to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
Temporary residents can’t leave Canada and re-enter unless they have permission to do so. Family members traveling with temporary residents may also be seen as inadmissible to Canada and will therefore also have to apply for their own individual permits.
How we can Help you Move to Canada With Past Convictions
It may be helpful to enlist the help of a Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) or an immigration lawyer to assist you with the application process, as the application fee is high, it cannot be refunded and it’s something you want to get right the first time around.
If you're unsure of your admissibility, you can always take an eligibility test that will determine if you qualify to enter Canada. If you require more assistance, hiring an RCIC that will guide you is the way to go.
Is a Misdemeanor a Criminal Offense in Canada?
Canadian law does not have misdemeanors and felonies. The system is based on three types of offences:
- Hybrid and
- Summary (Including Super-Summary)
An indictable offense is a crime that is more serious and punishable by high fines or long jail sentences. At most, an indictable offense can be punished by life imprisonment.
Some examples of indictable offenses are:
- theft over $5,000
- breaking and entering
- sexual assault
A hybrid offense is an offense where the prosecutor can choose whether to treat the crime as an indictable or summary offense based on the seriousness of the actions and the harm caused.
Some examples of hybrid offences are:
- Theft under $5000
- Fraud under $5000
- Sexual assault
A summary offense is the least serious crime under Canada’s Criminal Code. It is also known as “petty crime”.
Some examples of a summary offense are:
- Causing a disturbance in a public place
- Disorderly behaviour
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Minor criminal damage to property
What are Common Convictions That Result in Criminal Inadmissibility to Canada?
One of the most common convictions that many foreign nationals have that result in criminal inadmissibility to Canada is drunk driving or driving under the influence, also known as DUIs. Theft and assault are also common convictions that often result in people being declared inadmissible to Canada.
If I am Criminally Inadmissible to Canada, may I Enter as a Visitor?
Unfortunately, you will not be able to enter Canada as a visitor if you’re criminally inadmissible, unless you have been successful in overcoming criminal inadmissibility and have been permitted to enter Canada by Canadian authorities.
Can I Apply for Permanent Residency if I am Inadmissible to Canada?
If you are inadmissible to Canada, you will not be able to apply for permanent residency unless you have been cleared of your inadmissibility to Canada via the Criminal Rehabilitation application.
In order to be eligible to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation, it must be at least five years after you have completed your sentence.
It may look complicated or difficult to overcome convictions so you can visit Canada, but don’t fret. We can take some of the stress away by helping you see if you can get to Canada, step by step.