If you have a criminal record, you may have difficulty entering Canada. If you were convicted of an offence that has an equivalent offence under Canadian law, you will likely be denied. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but most types of crimes can prevent you from entering Canada. Some non-conviction sentences will also result in a denial if there is enough evidence that you committed the crime. For example, suspended sentences or deferrals could cause you to be denied.

Canada has three types of criminal offences:

Summary: Similar to a misdemeanour

Indictable: Similar to a felony

Hybrid: Could be tried as either summary or indictable

The information below is only a summary. If you have particular questions about your charges and criminal inadmissibility to Canada, contact us for a free consultation.

What crimes are summary only?

If you have an offence that is considered strictly summary in Canada, you may be able to enter Canada. If you were convicted of two or more strictly summary offences, you may be denied entry for five years after which you can be deemed rehabilitated.

Examples of summary-only offences are possession of fewer than 30 grams of marijuana and causing a disturbance.

However, keep in mind that very few offences can only be tried as a summary. Most offences in Canada can be tried as either summary or indictable. This makes them hybrid.

What are some hybrid offences?

If you were convicted of a hybrid offence, you can be denied entry to Canada. This is because the border officers will judge it on the higher standard of indictable. Some examples of hybrid offences include:

  • Impaired driving: This is the most common reason for US citizens to be denied entry to Canada. A person can be denied entry for having been charged with more than .08% blood alcohol content or for refusing a breathalyzer.
  • Dangerous driving: This can include street racing or “drag” racing
  • Some types of assault
  • Resisting arrest or fleeing from the police
  • Some drug charges
  • Theft, shoplifting, robbery, burglary
  • Firearm offences: Unauthorized possession, assembling an automatic firearm, careless use, unsafe storage, pointing a firearm at someone, unauthorized transfer or sale
  • Some types of fraud
  • Mischief
  • Harassment

What are some strictly indictable offences?

There are some crimes that are always indictable. These are crimes that will make you inadmissible to Canada. If the maximum prison sentence is more than 10 years under Canadian law, there is no automatic rehabilitation and you would need to apply for entry.

Inadmissibility in Canada offences include:

  • Murder, manslaughter
  • Arson
  • Some types of fraud
  • Some types of assault
  • Some trafficking offences
  • Dangerous driving or impaired driving causing death
  • Armed robbery

Prostitution: Selling services was struck by Canada’s laws in 2014; however, other crimes related to prostitution are still illegal. Some, such as being found in a “bawdy house” or soliciting in an area near children, are summary-only. Generally, Canada’s prostitution laws are intended to target clients and “pimps”.

What can you do?

If you have a single summary-only offence, you are not inadmissible to Canada.

If you have two or more summary-only offences, you can be deemed rehabilitated five years after the end of your sentence. Until then, you can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) in order to enter Canada for a specific purpose.

If you have a hybrid offence, you must wait five years from the end of your sentence in order to apply for a permanent waiver (Criminal Rehabilitation). In the meantime, you can apply for a TRP. After 10 years from the end of your sentence, you may be automatically deemed rehabilitated.

If you have an offence on your record that would be punishable by a maximum prison term of 10 years or more if committed in Canada, you will need to apply for rehabilitation even if it has been more than 10 years since the completion of your sentence.

If you would like to find out if you are inadmissible to Canada, or if you would like to apply for a TRP or Criminal Rehabilitation, contact AllCleared at 1-866-972-7366.