Business travel is one of the most popular reasons for Americans with a criminal record to seek special permission to enter Canada. Millions of people travel to Canada every year for business. Whether stopping over for just one hour or one week, it happens daily. Business tourism is an essential part of the Canadian economy. This sector includes road, rail, air, and sea travel services. The U.S. is the most popular country for travelling in and out of Canada, with nearly 15 million people crossing the border and airports for business each year. Unfortunately, people make mistakes in their life, especially when they are young, and sometimes a poor decision can lead to a criminal conviction. A Criminal Record will come back years later and affect your future travel or work plans.

What can happen if you try to enter Canada with a Criminal Record?

Anyone entering Canada must know that a criminal record can make them inadmissible. You may be denied, turned away, or even given a ban that could last for five or ten years. But the good news is … you can still enter Canada if you prepare in advance. You will need a Canadian Entry Waiver.


What application do I need to enter Canada?

There are two types of applications that may work for you – a Temporary Resident Permit or Criminal Rehabilitation Applcation. First, you would check to see if you are eligible and then decide which application is best suited. Suppose you try to travel to Canada via land border or airport. In that case, the immigration officers have the right to refuse you and they will turn you away. Immigration officers have the right to deny anyone entry if they feel they could be a possible threat to the country. Even if the crime happened thirty or forty years ago, the immigration officer could still turn you away. Crimes you committed as a young teenager are just as at risk as crimes that have only recently criminal charges. For crimes such as a DUI, you must wait five years to be eligible for the waiver.

The main difference between TRP (Temporary Resident Permit) and Criminal Rehabilitation is the waiting period. If you have completed your sentence you can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit at any time. The recentness of your conviction might affect your ability to be approved, but there is no official waiting period before you can apply.

On the other hand, in order to apply for Criminal Inadmissibility, you must wait five years from the end of your sentence. A sentence can include things like fine payments and probation. Find out more about the difference between Temporary Resident Permit and Criminal Rehabilitation applications.


The good news is that work travel (business meetings, industry conferences, etc) is typically considered by Canadian border authorities to be a valid reason for requesting entry into Canada. Even though business is one of the most justified reasons for travelling to the United States with a criminal record, it is still crucial that a business traveller complete their US Entry Waiver application form precisely correct as even a tiny error can result in an application being denied.


I already have a pardon with the U.S.; I can use the same pardon for entering Canada, right?

Canada does not recognize pardons from the U.S.; therefore, you may get a shock at the border or airport when the officer denies you entry.

Also, America does not recognize pardons from Canada. If you want to travel to the U.S know that border agents have full access to both the U.S and Canadian criminal database. An individual with any criminal history, whether a DUI, Theft, Possession of a weapon, or assault, can be flagged when coming through immigration customs. But don’t let these incidents cast a shadow over your future business plans. All you have to do is apply for a separate pardon for Canada. You will be granted a waiver if you are fully eligible, allowing you lifetime entry into Canada. Suppose you do not qualify for lifetime entry. In that case, you may be granted the Temporary Resident Permit, which allows you entrance into Canada for up to three years.


What types of business activities qualify for business travel?

Activities you may conduct as a business visitor include:

  • buying Canadian goods or services for a foreign business or government
  • taking orders for goods or services
  • going to meetings, conferences, conventions or trade fairs
  • giving after-sales service as part of a warranty or sales agreement
  • being trained by a Canadian parent company that you work for outside Canada
  • training employees of a Canadian branch of a foreign company
  • being trained by a Canadian company that has sold you equipment or services

Under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, a U.S. or Mexican national may also take part in other activities, such as research, marketing and general services. For more information, see theĀ Global Affairs Canada website.


My crimes are over 30 years old; why do I need a waiver to get into Canada?

Suppose you were convicted in a court in Canada or the U.S. In that case, your convictions stay on your record for life. You would have never imagined that something you did as a teenager would affect you from travelling or working abroad. Even if the charges happened 30 or more years ago, it would still make you inadmissible to Canada as Canada and the U.S. share their criminal databases. Therefore if you have any criminal charges, they will be flagged in both countries.

If you do not have a criminal record and were still denied entry into Canada, you would still need a waiver. You may get denied, for example, if you were travelling with someone who has a criminal record or the officer believed you were a threat. Usually, this process is a lot quicker as you do not need to go through courts or gather criminal records. How does Canada know about my criminal record?


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Urgent travel to Canada for work purposes

Everyday people get offered great job opportunities in Canada. In the eyes of the U.S., you are a convicted criminal. Unfortunately, the same rule applies to Canada, and we understand that you need to travel to Canada ASAP. However, you will be inadmissible to the Officers at the airport or border. If you have a serious felony charge, you must wait ten years from when you completed your sentence. Then you can apply for a Canadian waiver. Suppose you need to get into Canada as soon as possible. In that case, the likelihood of this happening is very low. You must go through all procedures to get a Canadian waiver. That employer who wants you to start as soon as possible has to change your start date to nearly one year from now. The Canadian Consulate can take 6-9 months to review and grant you the waiver. Depending on your record and when the charge occurred will determine how long of a waiver you will be granted. Some people get a temporary permit, and others receive the full waiver giving them lifetime entry into Canada.


Entering Canada after being denied entry in the past

Suppose you have been denied entry into Canada before and are thinking about trying to enter again. In that case, you will likely be denied entry. You will not be allowed to enter Canada until you have full approval from the Canadian Consulate. The Canadian Consulate takes about 6-9 months to review and grant you the waiver. Being denied entry does not mean you are banned from entering for life. As long as you have all the appropriate documentation, you will be allowed entry into Canada.

If you would like more information about applying for a TRP (Temporary Resident Permit) or Criminal Rehabilitation, contact AllCleared today at 1-866-972-7366 or check your eligibility online today. We can advise you on the best application for your situation and help you get started.