You may be able to travel to Canada with a criminal record with a minor offence as long as it is not DUI. However, for many offences, the government of Canada may consider you to be “criminally inadmissible” if you try to come into the country with a criminal record. If you have a conviction for theft, dangerous driving, drug possession or any number of other crimes, you may be inadmissible.
However, there are ways to overcome this inadmissibility. If you have applied for criminal rehabilitation, or it has been long enough since the offence occurred that you are deemed rehabilitated, an immigration officer may let you into the country. You can only be deemed rehabilitated if the equivalent offence in Canada carries a prison term of less than 10 years.
You may also apply for a Temporary Resident Permit. This gives you authorization to stay in Canada for a specific period of time, despite your inadmissibility. In order to get a TRP, you have to offer a compelling reason to be in Canada. An immigration officer will also have to determine that your presence outweighs any risks to Canadians or Canadian society.
Finally, you can get a Record Suspension from the Parole Board of Canada. This is also called a pardon. This does not erase the criminal record in your home country, but it does overcome inadmissibility for the purpose of entry into Canada. If you have received a pardon in your home country, you can check with your local visa office to see if this pardon is also recognized by Canadian authorities.
If you need to do business in Canada or maintain relationships with close family in the country, you don’t want an old criminal conviction to be a barrier to entry. Learn more about the option of criminal rehabilitation or record suspension to put your mind at ease.