You may wish to enter Canada for several reasons: work, school, or simply to visit. However, beware that if you have a criminal record, you could be inadmissible, as Canadian border officials have access to the FBI’s criminal database and can conduct a background check before letting you in.
Two Options for Entering Canada
If you have a justifiable reason to enter Canada, two options are available for doing so: You can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation (CR).
Temporary Resident Permit
The TRP allows you to enter the country for a limited amount of time (generally the length of your intended visit) but does not permit you to live there permanently.
When applying for this permit, you must provide substantial reasons for your entry, and your rationale must outweigh any potential safety risks to the country.
One of the following criteria must apply for you to qualify for the TRP:
- It has been less than 5 years since you completed your conviction sentence
- It has been more than 5 years since you completed your conviction sentence, and you have not received a criminal rehabilitation or been deemed rehabilitated
The (CR) option for entering Canada is a permanent solution to inadmissibility. With a CR, you can travel to Canada at any time.
To qualify, the following criteria must apply to your situation:
- You committed a criminal offense outside Canada
- You were convicted
- It has been more than 5 years since you completed your full conviction sentence, which includes paying fines, serving jail time, and completing probation
You must also determine the Canadian equivalency for your criminal offense. This is important because your required criminal rehabilitation is based on the maximum sentence for the offense under Canadian laws.
If you have only one misdemeanor on your record and more than 10 years have passed since you completed your sentence, you may be deemed rehabilitated and will not need to apply for the CR. However, if you have more than one offense on your record or you have one or more felonies, you cannot be deemed rehabilitated regardless of the amount of time that has passed.
Background Check Processes Vary by State
Applying for a either a TRP or a CR is a complex process. It requires that you provide information about your criminal history, including a state background check. Getting the information you need for your application can be difficult, as many states require you to go to different departments and have different processes for obtaining a background check. You can see a full list of the various state procedures here.
The Orr Law Firm Is Ready to Help You
Our attorneys at The Orr Law Firm have extensive knowledge of the legal system and know which departments to contact and which processes to follow for gathering the necessary application documents. We will help you navigate the process to work toward your admissibility into Canada.
For legal representation, call us at (303) 747-4247 or contact us online.