Travelling through Canada on the Journey to or from Alaska with a Criminal Record


In response to the increasing popularity of cruise travel, many cruise lines have expanded their offered range of destinations. No longer are cruises confined to the tropical climates of the Caribbean, but have instead expanded to other locations steeped in natural beauty, with cruise travel proliferating most notably in Alaska. From thrill-seeking adventure junkies to those in search of a tranquil sightseeing holiday, ‘the Last Frontier’ attracts a broad range of visitors. Many travelers also take advantage of their trip to Alaska as an opportunity visit Canada. In fact, Vancouver often serves as the departure point for many of the popular cruise circuits. For such international itineraries, whether you are leaving Alaska and heading south to mainland USA or vice versa, tourists, Americans in particular, must ensure they are allowed to enter Canada.

Generally speaking, Americans need only a valid passport or permanent resident card to enter the country. However, those deemed criminally inadmissible will likely need to secure additional documents well in advance of their intended entry into Canada.

Foreign nationals must first determine if the crime(s) they’ve been convicted of is a federal criminal offense in Canada. For offenses such as underage drinking or possession of drug paraphernalia, which are not federal crimes in Canada, a passport will suffice to permit you into the country.

For convicted offenses such as driving under the influence or assault, which are seen as Canadian federal crimes, the convicted individual will need additional documentation to enter the country. One option is the temporary resident permit (TRP). Not to be confused with the temporary resident visa, a TRP will allow either single or multiple entry into Canada for those deemed criminally inadmissible. TRP applications are sent to a Canadian consulate in America, and can take anywhere from one to six months to process. While the approval of the application is ultimately at the discretion of the immigration official, retaining the services of a Canadian immigration lawyer or immigration consultant will likely improve your chances of successfully obtaining a TRP.

While TRPs allow temporary entry to Canada, those who have completed the conditions of their sentence at least five years ago are also eligible for criminal rehabilitation, which is a more permanent solution to the problems associated with criminal inadmissibility. Criminal rehabilitation is an avenue explored by those seeking to permanently change their criminal status for the purposes of entering Canada. As this is a long term solution, processing times for criminal rehabilitation can be considerably longer than they are for a TRP. As such, many clients are advised to also apply for a TRP when entry to Canada is needed in the near or immediate future. 

For more information concerning criminal inadmissibility as well as a plethora of information pertaining to Canadian Immigration please visit


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