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Can you get into Canada with a criminal record?

Foreigners looking to get into Canada may be criminally inadmissible if they have been convicted of a criminal offense. The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) can refuse entry into Canada or the issuance of an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) to someone who has a criminal record. However, three different options are available to overcome inadmissibility. So, can you get into Canada with a criminal record? Yes, but you will need to prepare ahead of time.

What crimes make you inadmissible to enter Canada?

  • DUI (including DWI, DWAI, reckless driving, etc.)
  • Robbery
  • Drug trafficking & drug possession
  • Weapons violations
  • Assault
  • Probation violations
  • Domestic violence
  • Fraud
  • ….

How to enter Canada with a criminal offense?

Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)

A temporary resident permit (TRP) allows individuals with criminal records to enter Canada temporarily for up to three years. When submitting your TRP application, you must provide compelling reasons why you should be allowed into the country. You can either submit your application when crossing the border or get pre-approved by applying directly at the Canadian consulate.

Criminal rehabilitation

The process of criminal rehabilitation is a permanent way to overcome inadmissibility in Canada. Your application must prove that you have been rehabilitated and are no longer prone to committing criminal acts.

Legal opinion letter

This letter provides legal reasons as to why CBSA agents should grant you access to the country. The letter will explain that your offense was an isolated event that occurred a long time ago, or that it has been expunged or dismissed off your record. A legal opinion letter is prepared by a lawyer.