If you have a criminal record, including driving while intoxicated, you may not acquire your residency permit. Generally, if you are over 18 and with a criminal record, Canadian law enforcement officers will prevent you from entering the country for any reason. However, if you are criminally inadmissible to Canada, there are two remedies you can explore—a permanent and temporary solution.
Permanent Solution to criminal inadmissibility
You can apply for criminal rehabilitation where you’ll plead with Canadian immigration to forgive your transgressions and provide you a clean slate.
In case your application for the criminal rehabilitation process is successful, your previous criminal record will no longer be a reason for Canadian entry denial in the future.
However, you can only qualify for criminal rehabilitation if five years have elapsed from completing all probationary periods, fines, or sentences.
Nonetheless, you may pursue the option of TRP (Temporary Resident Permit) if you really need to enter Canada before the elapsing or the five years.
Temporary Solution to criminal inadmissibility—Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)
A TRP can allow you entry to Canada even with a criminal record. However, such favors are only extended to applicants with a compelling reason to enter the country. Moreover, it’s valid for up to three years, depending on the merits of each case.
No set period must pass before a person may apply for a TRP. However, it helps to be strategic in your application for a Temporary Resident Permit. IRCC maintains a record of application that can potentially affect a future petition.
When IRCC suspects you of being criminally inadmissible to Canada, they’ll:
- Prior to making an official verdict, intercept you at the point of entry—border crossing, seaport, airport, or border—and call you for an interview. It provides you an opportunity to explain yourself and allow the concerned immigration official to collect statements from you. However, be careful because the information you give can potentially be used against you.
- Otherwise, offer you an opportunity to respond to your criminal record allegations in writing.
Serious and non-serious criminality
Serious and non-serious criminality are two separate labels that IRCC uses when evaluating an immigrant’s criminal record. It’s immaterial how severe your country treats the offense—Canada will treat the crime in relation to an equivalent offense as per Canada’s laws.
If you committed a single offense and ten years have passed since serving your sentence, or retirement of probationary periods or fines, Canada will deem you rehabilitated.
However, if the criminal record shows you committed multiple crimes and ten years have elapsed, you aren’t Deemed Rehabilitated even if you’ve served your sentence or adhered to any other court orders pertaining to your cases.
Nonetheless, if at least five years have elapsed since the retirement of your probationary periods, sentences, or fines, you can submit your application for Criminal Rehabilitation for approval. However, you can’t access such favors if five years haven’t lapsed.
The main factor that IRCC uses to define serious criminality is comparing the foreign offense with a possible punishment for its Canadian equivalent. Immigration officials don’t apply “Deemed Rehabilitation” in cases of serious crime.
If at least five years are gone since your sentence’s retirement, probationary periods, and fines, you meet the eligibility criteria for applying for serious Criminal Rehabilitation.
However, if, since the retirement of your fines, sentences, or probationary periods, five years haven’t lapsed, you aren’t fit for serious Criminal Rehabilitation.
TRP (Temporary Resident Permit) could be a good option if you have persuasive reasons to request entry to Canada.
The no-serious Criminal Rehabilitation request process is similar to a serious one. The distinguishing factor of the two is the way immigration officials treat the two. The application processing time for non-serious Criminal Rehabilitation is characteristically shorter than those involving serious criminality. The processing fee is also higher for serious Criminal Rehabilitation than non-serious.