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Immigration laws‎ > ‎

Admissibility

Determine if you are inadmissible

Note: This information is for guidance and reference only. A decision on your admissibility can only be made when you apply to come to Canada or at a port of entry.

Some people are not allowed to come to Canada. They are known as “inadmissible” under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).

There are a number of reasons you can be found inadmissible, denied a visa or refused entry to Canada under IRPA, such as:

  • security
  • human or international rights violations
  • criminality
  • organized criminality
  • health grounds
  • financial reasons
  • misrepresentation
  • non-compliance with IRPA or
  • having an inadmissible family member

If you have committed or been convicted of a crime, you have a few options.

If you have been convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, you will probably be found criminally inadmissible to Canada.

More detailed explanation of the reasons for inadmissibility.

Normally, if you are inadmissible to Canada, you will not be allowed to enter. If you have a reason to travel to Canada that is justified in the circumstances, you may be issued a temporary resident permit.


Eligibility for Rehabilitation

The table below explains when a person may be deemed rehabilitated and is eligible to apply for parole.

eligibility_for_rehabilitation

For details on how to overcome criminal inadmissibility see the chapter at the bottom of this page.


Why some people cannot enter or remain in Canada

People can be denied a visa, refused admission or removed from Canada for a number of reasons.

A person may not be able to enter or remain in Canada if the CIC, CBSA officer or ID of IRB determines that he or she:

Security
They have engaged in, or there are reasonable grounds to believe they will engage in, spying, subversion or terrorism, or they belong to organizations that have engaged in, or will engage in, these activities.
Human or international rights violations
They have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity. They are or were senior members or officials of a government that has committed acts of terrorism, major human rights violations, genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity.
Serious criminality
They have, or there are reasonable grounds to believe they have, committed a crime punishable by a maximum of 10 years of incarceration.
Other criminality
They have, or there are reasonable grounds to believe they have, committed an indictable crime. They commit an offence such as possessing or importing narcotics, while seeking entry to Canada.
Organized crime
They belong to an organization that is believed to take part in organized criminal activity or to engage in transnational crimes such as people smuggling, trafficking in people or money laundering.
Health
They may be a danger to public health or cause excessive demands on Canada's health or social services.
Financial
They are unable or unwilling to support themselves and their dependants.
Misrepresentation
They provide officers with false information or withhold information that is directly relevant to a decision under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).
Non-compliance
They contravene the requirements of IRPA. Some examples include the following:
  • not having a valid passport or visa;
  • entering as visitors and remaining longer than authorized;
  • trying to re-enter without the written permission of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, after being deported;
  • working or attending school without the appropriate permit; and
  • breaching conditions imposed when they were first admitted to Canada.

Inadmissible family members
They are the family members of someone who is inadmissible.

In addition, permanent residents are in breach of IRPA if they fail to meet the residency obligations set out in the Act. Permanent residents who are inadmissible for this reason may be issued removal orders.

In some cases, the CBSA has the power to issue removal orders directly; that is, to send the person out of Canada, without requesting an admissibility hearing.

When the CBSA requests an admissibility hearing, it also sends the IRB a report. The report explains why it believes the person should not be allowed to enter or remain in Canada.


Admissibility Hearing Process



Admissibility Hearing Process (IAD of IRB)

Visiting Canada: Overcoming criminal inadmissibility

This information is intended for general guidance and reference only. A legal decision on your inadmissibility can only be made at the time you seek entry into Canada either through an application or at a port of entry.

Depending on the nature of the offence, the time elapsed and your behaviour since it was committed or since you were sentenced, you may no longer be considered inadmissible to Canada. You may be permitted to come to Canada if

Deemed rehabilitation

You may be deemed rehabilitated if you meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Depending on the nature of your offence, at least five years and as many as 10 years must have passed since you completed the sentence imposed for your crime. Deemed rehabilitation also depends on whether you have committed one or more offences. In all cases, you may only be deemed rehabilitated if the offence committed would be punishable in Canada by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than 10 years.

You are not required to submit an application to be deemed rehabilitated. However, before arriving at a port of entry, we strongly advise you to contact a Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate outside Canada to see if you qualify.

Individual rehabilitation

Rehabilitation means that you lead a stable life and that you are unlikely to be involved in any further criminal activity.

If you want to come to Canada but you have committed or been convicted of a crime and you are not eligible for “deemed rehabilitation,” you must apply for rehabilitation to enter Canada. To apply for individual rehabilitation, at least five years must have passed since you completed all your criminal sentences. You must submit an application to the Canadian visa office in your area and pay a processing fee.

Please note: Applications for rehabilitation can take over a year to process, so make sure you plan for your visit far enough in advance.

Pardon or discharge

If you have been convicted in Canada and wish to apply for a pardon, see the National Parole Board website. If you received a Canadian pardon for your conviction, you may be allowed to enter Canada.

If you received a pardon or a discharge for your conviction in a country other than Canada, check with the CIC office closest to you for more information.

Temporary resident permit

If less than five years have passed since the end of the criminal sentence, or if justified by compelling circumstances, foreign nationals who are inadmissible to Canada, including people who have a criminal conviction, may be issued temporary resident permits allowing them to enter or remain in Canada.

Note: Temporary resident permits are only issued in exceptional circumstances, if there are reasons of national interest or strong humanitarian or compassionate grounds. A temporary resident permit may be cancelled at any time.

Temporary resident visa or Permanent resident visa

If you are applying for a temporary resident visa or a permanent resident visa, you will have to provide details of your criminal history in your visa application. In cases where you have been declared criminally inadmissible, you may apply for rehabilitation if the required five years have elapsed since your conviction.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on criminal inadmissibility.


Rehabilitation For Persons Who Are Inadmissible to Canada Because of Past Criminal Activity

Under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, temporary residents and applicants for permanent residence in Canada may not be able to come to Canada if they have been involved in criminal activity. This guide explains when people might be considered inadmissible and under what conditions they can apply to overcome the inadmissibility.

Determining inadmissibility

Are you inadmissible because of past criminal activity?

In general, temporary residents and applicants applying for permanent residence are considered to be criminally inadmissible if the person:

  • was convicted of an offence in Canada;
  • was convicted of an offence outside of Canada that is considered a crime in Canada; and/or
  • committed an act outside of Canada that is considered a crime under the laws of the country where it occurred and would be punishable under Canadian law.

Note: In order to determine inadmissibility, foreign convictions and laws are equated to Canadian law as if they had occurred in Canada.


Have you been charged, discharged or pardoned?

If you have been charged, discharged or pardoned, this chart will help you determine if you are inadmissible:

* You must provide an officer with complete details of charges, convictions, court dispositions, pardons, photocopies of applicable sections of foreign law(s), and court proceedings to allow the officer to determine whether or not you are inadmissible to Canada.

Charges Withdrawn or Dismissed

  • Offence Occurred In Canada
    • You are not inadmissible.

  • Offence Occurred Outside Canada
    • You may be inadmissible.*

Absolute or Conditional Discharge

  • Offence Occurred In Canada
    • You are not inadmissible.

  • Offence Occurred Outside Canada
    • You may be inadmissible.*

Pardon Granted

  • Offence Occurred In Canada
    • If pardoned under the Criminal Records Act in Canada, you are not inadmissible.

  • Offence Occurred Outside Canada
    • You may be inadmissible.*


Were you convicted as a juvenile?

In Canada, a young offender is someone who is 12 years of age or older but less than 18 years of age.

You are not inadmissible if:

  • you were convicted in Canada under the Young Offenders Act or the Youth Criminal Justice Act, unless you received an adult sentence,
  • you were treated as a young offender in a country which has special provisions for young offenders, or
  • you were convicted in a country which does not have special provisions for young offenders but the circumstances of your conviction are such that you would not have received an adult sentence in Canada.

You are inadmissible if:

  • you were convicted in adult court in a country that has special provisions for young offenders.
  • you were convicted in a country which does not have special provisions for young offenders but the circumstances of your conviction are such that you would have been treated as an adult in Canada

Overcoming criminal inadmissibility

A. Convictions/offences outside Canada

If you were convicted of or committed a criminal offence outside Canada, you may overcome this criminal inadmissibility

  • by applying for rehabilitation, or
  • you may be deemed to have been rehabilitated if at least ten years have passed since you completed the sentence imposed upon you, or since you committed the offence, if the offence is one that would, in Canada, be an indictable offence punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than ten years.

If the offence is one that would, in Canada, be prosecuted summarily and if you were convicted for two (2) or more such offences, that period is at least five (5) years after the sentences imposed were served or to be served.


B. Convictions/offences in Canada

If you have a criminal conviction in Canada, you must seek a pardon from the National Parole Board of Canada before you will be admissible to Canada. Do not complete the forms from CIC web site. You can request a Pardon Application Guide or additional information from:

Clemency and Pardons Division, National Parole Board
410 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1A 0R1
Telephone:
1-800-874-2652 (Callers in Canada and the United States only)
Fax:
1-613-941-4981
Website:
www.pbc-clcc.gc.ca/prdons/pardon-eng.shtml
(The instructional guide and application forms can be down loaded from the website)

In order to be considered for a pardon under the Criminal Records Act, a specified period of time must pass after the end of the sentence imposed. The sentence may have been payment of a fine, period of probation, or imprisonment. The usual waiting period for offences:

  • if prosecuted by indictment is five (5) years.
  • if punishable on summary conviction is three (3) years.

Once you have a copy of the pardon, send a photocopy to a Canadian visa office or Citizenship and Immigration Centre. If you are travelling to Canada carry a copy of the pardon with you.

If you have had two or more summary convictions in Canada, you may no longer be inadmissible if:

  • at least five (5) years have passed since all sentences imposed were served or to be served,
  • you have had no other convictions.

See the table at the beginning of this page for a summary of the type of offences and length of rehabilitation periods.


C. Convictions in Canada and convictions/offences outside of Canada

If you have convictions in Canada and convictions/offences outside of Canada, both an approval of rehabilitation and a pardon are required to overcome your inadmissibility.

Note: Your request for rehabilitation cannot be made until you have first obtained a pardon, except if you have only one summary conviction in Canada. In such instances, you may submit an application for rehabilitation for any convictions/offences outside Canada if you can provide evidence that you have submitted an application for a pardon to the National Parole Board.


Eligibility for rehabilitation

What is rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation removes the grounds of criminal inadmissibility. Rehabilitation means that you lead a stable lifestyle and that you are unlikely to be involved in any further criminal activity.

Are you eligible to apply for rehabilitation?

You are eligible to apply for rehabilitation if you have:

  • committed an act outside of Canada and five years have elapsed since the act;
  • been convicted outside of Canada and five years have passed since the end of the sentence imposed. As there are different types of sentences, use the following table to calculate the five-year waiting period.

*You are prohibited by the Criminal Court from driving.

Suspended Sentence

Determining the Eligibility Date: Count five years from the date of sentencing.

Suspended Sentence with a fine

Determining the Eligibility Date: Count five years from the date the fine was paid. In the case of varying payment dates, the rehabilitation period starts on the date of the last payment.

Imprisonment without Parole

Determining the Eligibility Date: Count five years from the end of the term of imprisonment.

Imprisonment and Parole

Determining the Eligibility Date: Count five years from the completion of parole.

Probation

Determining the Eligibility Date: Probation is part of the sentence. Therefore, count five years from the end of the probation period.

Driving Prohibition *

Determining the Eligibility Date: Count five years from the end date of the prohibition.

The following are three examples of how to calculate the five years waiting period:

Example 1: I was convicted of a crime on December 13, 2002, and received a jail sentence of three months. When will I be eligible to apply for rehabilitation?

You can apply for rehabilitation five years after the end of the sentence imposed. If your three-month jail sentence ended March 13, 2003, you are eligible to apply for rehabilitation on March 13, 2008, as long as no other terms were imposed on your sentence.

Example 2: On June 3, 2003, I was convicted of driving under the influence and had my driver’s licence taken away from me for three years. When am I eligible to apply for rehabilitation?

The sentence imposed ends on June 3, 2006. Count five years from the end date of the suspension or the date your driver’s licence is reinstated. You will be eligible to apply for rehabilitation on June 3, 2011.

Example 3: I have one conviction for which I was given three years of probation. Do I apply for rehabilitation after my probation is finished?

No. You are not eligible for rehabilitation until five years after the end of the sentence imposed. Since probation forms part of the imposed sentence, you can apply for rehabilitation five years after you complete your probation.

For more examples of how to calculate the five-year waiting period please go to:
www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/faq-inadmissibility.asp


Coming to, or remaining in Canada without approval of rehabilitation

If you need to come to Canada, but cannot apply for rehabilitation because five years have not passed since the end of the sentence imposed or you are not eligible to apply for a pardon for convictions in Canada, you may ask an officer for special permission to enter or remain in Canada.

Complete the Application for Criminal Rehabilitation, but check the box that states, “For Information Only.” Attach the documents outlined in the Document Checklist.

After reviewing the form and looking at the nature of the offences, number of offences, when they happened and your current situation, the officer may:

*There will be processing fees for applications for special permission to come into or remain in Canada. You will be advised of the processing fees at the time, or you can refer to our website for further details.

At Canadian visa offices outside of Canada

  • advise that they do not recommend that you travel to Canada; or,
  • advise that you could apply for special permission (temporary resident’s permit) to enter Canada*.

At Ports of Entry (airport, marine or land)

(Contact your nearest Canadian visa office before travelling to Canada.)

  • advise that you will not be allowed to enter Canada and ask you to return immediately to your country of departure;
  • take enforcement action (arrest, detention and/or removal); or,
  • advise that you could apply for special permission (temporary resident’s permit) to enter Canada*.

In Canada

  • ask that you leave Canada voluntarily;
  • take enforcement action (arrest, detention, and/or removal from Canada); or
  • advise that you could apply for special permission (temporary resident’s permit) to remain in Canada*.



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