Having a criminal record can stop you from immigrating to Canada and also working in Canada but do you know that you have options to overcome inadmissibility?
If you have a criminal record and do not address inadmissibility before you apply for a Canadian Work permit, you might be refused entry to Canada.
You may be able to overcome criminal inadmissibility depending on the crime, how long you committed the crime and how you have behaved ever since.
For you to come to Canada even with a criminal record, you will need to meet the legal terms to be deemed rehabilitated or have a temporary resident permit or a legal opinion letter.
For whichever option you choose to follow, it is very important that you start the process well and in advance of your travel to Canada.
How To Overcome Inadmissibility To Canada
Legal Opinion Letter
This letters are prepared by lawyers and they provide explanation to Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers why they should permit you entry to Canada. Your lawyer can explain facts that show the Canadian government that you are deemed rehabilitated or your offense was isolated or not serious or there is no Canadian equivalent to your offense.
You may also get one of these letters to support your temporary resident permit or rehabilitation application
Temporary Resident Permit
This permit allows you to enter Canada temporarily even with criminal record. You can go for this option if it has been less than five years since the end of your sentence or you have a valid reason to enter Canada.
The TRPs can be valid for up to three years and you will need to submit a TRP application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) providing a compelling reason why you should be allowed to enter the country and how Canada would benefit from your entry. You will also explain how the benefits of your entry to Canada outweigh the risks.
US citizens and permanent residents can submit their TRP applications when they arrive at the Canadian borders or they can get pre-approval by submitting their application at a Canadian consulate.
All other foreign nationals can submit their TRP application at a Canadian consulate and pay application fee of 200 CAD.
This is a permanent way to overcome criminal inadmissibility to Canada. Once you are rehabilitated, your criminal record is no longer grounds to deny you entry as long as you do not commit any further offenses. There are two types of rehabilitation:
This is an option for you if at least five years has passed since the end of your sentence. The application fee is either $200 or $1,000 depending on the severity of your conviction.
Your application needs to show that you have been rehabilitated and that you will no longer conduct criminal acts. You can do this by providing evidence like showing a stable lifestyle or showing that you have taken steps to improve your behaviour.
It also helps if the crime you committed was an isolated one. The application can take up to a year to process.
You can go for this if you were convicted for a less serious crime and at least 10 years have gone by since you completed your sentence. You will automatically be deemed rehabilitated due to the passage of time. Even if this applies to your case, you may still choose to get a Legal Opinion Letter in case you need to prove to a border officer that you should be allowed entry to Canada.