I was coming up to see my sister who needed my help to plan her beautiful wedding in Toronto! I was coming up to meet with Canadian business partners in Calgary! I was coming up to speak/attend an academic conference in Montreal! But I was denied entry to Canada based on my criminal history, and I was forced to turn around. I still need to come to Canada, but I am not sure how. What can I do to enter Canada after being denied entry? There exists two solutions to overcome what is called criminal inadmissibility. In the following six points, you will find a guideline to understand and overcome inadmissibility.
Criminal inadmissibility means that you are unable to enter Canada based on your criminal record. Being criminally inadmissible is based on the equivalency of your offence(s) with an offence that violates a Federal statute in Canada. Offences can either be Non-Serious Criminality, or Serious Criminality. Whether your offence falls into the former or the latter will be a factor in determining whether you are criminal inadmissibility. For more information on the nature of offences you can refer to the Serious Versus Non-Serious Criminality page.
The most critical aspect of criminal inadmissibility is that it is permanent. Henceforth, if you have been denied entry based on your criminality, you must try to permanently overcome your inadmissibility. The only way of doing so is by applying for Criminal Rehabilitation.
- Am I Eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation?
To be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation, 5 years or more must have passed since the completion of your sentence(s), not since the date of your conviction. It sometimes happens that you believe that you may have completed your sentence but upon reviewing your court documents you still need to pay a fine. If this is the case, then you would not be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation. It is also important to note that Criminal Rehabilitation is available for any number of offences and/or types of offences. For more information on Criminal Rehabilitation, visit the Criminal Rehabilitation page.
- I’m Not Eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation, What Can I Do?
Though Criminal Rehabilitation is the only way to permanently overcome criminal inadmissibility, there exists another way to temporarily overcome inadmissibility. If you need to enter Canada for either business reasons, or for family emergencies (weddings, funerals, other cultural events, etc) then the government of Canada provides a permit called a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). You must prove that you have a legitimate and important reason to enter Canada for your TRP application to be approved. This permit will allow you to stay in Canada for a specific amount of time. Anyone with any type of offence is eligible to apply for a TRP. Nonetheless, once someone becomes eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation, they should apply for it. TRPs are only temporary, thus will not adequately deal with the permanency of criminal inadmissibility. For more information on TRPs refer to the Temporary Resident Permit Page.
- My Application Was Denied
It may very well happen that your TRP or Criminal Rehabilitation application was denied. However, this does not mean that you will never be able to enter Canada. Much like FW Canada, there exists many Canadian immigration law firms that provide assistance to foreigners who wish to overcome their inadmissibility. Most of the time, applications are denied because they were not thorough enough. Hiring a Canadian immigration lawyer will give you the assurance of a complete and whole application. The immigration office is fair and will not give special treatment to applicants who have hired an immigration lawyer, but the chances of having an application approved will be higher since the application will have be thoroughly submitted. It is always advised to consult an immigration lawyer because they will guide you in overcoming your inadmissibility.
- Consider Enrolling in Improvement and Rehabilitating Programs
The reviewing officer needs to be convinced that you will not pose a threat to Canadian society. The best way of demonstrating so is by enrolling in rehabilitating programs. Anger management or drug/alcohol programs will show that you are dedicated to changing your ways. These programs demonstrate that the applicant has taken responsibility and initiative, which is positive and responsible behaviour. In the case of Criminal Rehabilitation, it is essential to demonstrate that you have rehabilitated yourself into an upstanding citizen. The best way to show a rehabilitated lifestyle is by participating in these programs.
- Speak to Your Employer
Your job is one of the most legitimate source of information about yourself in the eyes of the reviewing officer. It is always advised to have a letter of reference from your employer, or to have a letter from your employer justifying your need to enter Canada (in the case of a TRP). They can often procure other supporting documents for your application.
- The Border Officer Agency’s Notes
The border officer agency’s notes that has denied your application can serve as your best tool for your next application. The notes will help you see what you were missing in your application, and you can refer to these notes in your new application, as well as even include them in your new application. The notes from the Border Officer Agency can also serve those who have not yet submitted an application. You may wish to see what is in the database about you before you apply. However, this is only available for Canadians, and an immigration lawyer will help you procure these notes.
These six points will help guide you overcome your criminal inadmissibility in a general sense. Nevertheless, each applicant has their own circumstances, thus consulting an immigration lawyer is always the first step in overcoming your inadmissibility. They will guide you and assist you every step of the way. It is a peace of mind every applicant deserves.