If My Family Member is Inadmissible to Canada, Am I Inadmissible Too?
Coming to Canada is a trip that millions take every year. Though Canada is proud of its historical heritage and its many great tourist attractions, Canada has very strict borders, especially when it comes to criminal inadmissibility. Criminal inadmissibility means that an individual cannot enter due to past offence(s). Their offence(s) shows up on their FBI criminal record, which can be accessed by Canadian border agents. Many people are oblivious to their own criminal inadmissibility, since they either have not been warned that they are inadmissible, or they do not know that their past offence is an inadmissible one. More importantly, many are unaware that their family member’s criminal inadmissibility affects their own admissibility.
Why Am I Inadmissible Because of my Family Member’s Criminal Inadmissibility?
It may seem confusing to understand why someone else’s offence(s) may hinder your personal privilege to enter Canada. The explanation lies in the fact that this privilege comes with two main conditions: the first is that the person entering Canada carries a valid passport, and the second is that if they are over 18 years old, they must not have committed an offence that would be equivalent to a Federal offence in Canada. If someone over 18 has committed this type of offence, they then become inadmissible based on their criminality, so their privilege to enter Canada is revoked. If a family is traveling together with a family member who is criminally inadmissible, they also become inadmissible because of the family member’s criminal inadmissibility. However, if a family goes on a trip to Canada without their criminally inadmissible family member, they will most likely be admitted into the country. Applications for work permits, study permits, and permanent resident visas require to disclose the information of all of the family members, no matter whether they are accompanying the person or not. In these cases, an individual’s application can be denied based on their family member’s criminal inadmissibility. In any case, if you travel with a family member who is criminally inadmissible to Canada, you will also be deemed inadmissible and will not be able to enter the country. Criminal inadmissibility in itself is not an easy thing to determine, but its ripple effect will extend to family members, which could ruin an entire vacation. Thus, it is always important to try and determine whether everyone in the family is admissible, especially if they have committed an offence in the past.
What is Criminal Inadmissibility?
Criminal inadmissibility is a term used to designate those who cannot enter Canada due to an offence(s) on their criminal record. However, not every offence makes one inadmissible. The criminal grounds of inadmissibility depends on the nature of one’s offence(s), as well as the number of offences one has on one’s record.
In determining whether you are criminally inadmissible or not, the immigration officer looks at your offence, determines its Canadian equivalency, and then determines the severity of the offence. The offense may be one of two types: non-serious criminality or serious criminality.
Criteria for an offence to be categorized as non-serious criminality:
- An offence under a Federal Statute that is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of less than 10 years.
- For example: theft under $5,000.00, simple assault, fraud under $5,000.00.
Criteria for an offence to be categorized as serious criminality:
- An offence with a maximum prison sentence of 10 years or more.
- For example: offences involving bodily injury and/or use of a weapon; DUIs and dangerous driving (as of December 18, 2018)
Whether your offence was non-serious or serious will affect your inadmissibility. If you have a non-serious offence, a border agent may interpret the offence as either admissible or inadmissible. However, the nature of the offence is not the only factor in determining one’s criminal grounds of inadmissibility. The amount of offences in one’s record will also affect one’s inadmissibility. If an individual has more than one non-serious offence on their record, they are definitely inadmissible. The same can be said for serious criminality, though having just one serious offence will make you inadmissible.
How to Overcome Inadmissibility
Being criminally inadmissible is not the end of the line for any past offenders and their families. Though Canada has rigorous borders, there exist possibilities for one to overcome inadmissibility. Two application processes can overcome one’s criminal inadmissibility in two very different ways. The first option is called a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), the second option is called Criminal Rehabilitation. These two applications are submitted to the Canadian Consulates, though there exists an exception for TRPs.
TRP’s are temporary in nature, just as its name subscribes. This application sets a specific duration of time where the applicant will be allowed to enter Canada. Though the duration of time will be specific, TRP’s can also give you access to enter Canada on multiple occasions, (for example: a TRP for multiple entries for 2 years). TRP’s are ideal if an individual needs to enter Canada as soon as possible, but if they seek to completely overcome their inadmissibility, they will need to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation.
The application process for a TRP does not require an immigration lawyer, but their assistance is recommended since the application can be lengthy and extensive. A TRP will most generally be sent to a consulate or Visa office, but if you hire an immigration lawyer you will be able to process the application at a point of entry. This means that instead of waiting up to four months for your application’s processing time, your application will be processed then and there at the border. There exist three types of point of entry: by air, by land, and by sea. This option is only available through an immigration lawyer, since the government does not share the point of entry application form on their website.
Criminal Rehabilitation is an application process that will permanently overcome your criminal inadmissibility. To be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation, an individual must have completed their conviction(s) for 5 years or more. If they have only one non-serious offence on their record, and ten years have passed since the completion of their conviction, they are Deemed Rehabilitated by the duration of time. This means that they are automatically admissible to Canada due to the amount of time that has passed since the completion of their conviction. This does not apply to those who have a serious offence in their record, as well as those who have multiple non-serious offences. Upon a successful Criminal Rehabilitation application, one will no longer be inadmissible to Canada.
Criminal Inadmissibility is always more complicated than imagined, and determining which application process is available is as complicated. An immigration lawyer will always help you through any application process, and it is advised to consult one. They will help you determine whether your family member is criminally inadmissible, as well as help you deal with your own inadmissibility.
A Canadian Immigration lawyer is the best way to ensure your application process for either a TRP or Criminal Rehabilitation goes smoothly. To review your eligibility, or for more trusted information, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!
FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration follow FWCanada on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.