Serious Versus Non-Serious Criminality

If you have determined that you are criminally inadmissible to Canada, it can be a challenge deciding what your next steps are if you need to get across the border. One way to cut through the confusion in this process is to determine if you offence falls under serious or non-serious criminality.

What do these terms mean? Basically, serious and non-serious criminality refer to the severity of the offence committed. The best way to determine the seriousness of a crime is to look at what its prison sentence would be if it was committed in Canada. Crimes that carry a maximum prison sentence in Canada of less than 10 years are considered non-serious criminality. These crimes are usually non-violent crimes such as theft or fraud under $5,000. On the other hand, serious criminality involves crimes that are punishable by a prison sentence of 10 years or more. Crimes that cause bodily harm, physical damage, or involve a weapon would fall under this category. As of December 18, 2018, DUIs are also considered serious criminality. 

So what does this all mean in regards to overcoming inadmissibility? The seriousness of an offence will affect what courses of action are available to you. If you offence is considered a non-serious criminality, you have the most options. If you only have one of these offences on your record, and at least ten years have passed since you have completed all terms of your sentence, then you are automatically considered rehabilitated by the passage of time. This means that you are no longer inadmissible to Canada and no special action needs to be taken in order to come into the country. If it has been at least five years since the completion of your sentence and/or you have more than one non-serious offence on your record, you can apply for Criminal Rehabilitation. This application is filed at a Canadian consulate and, if approved, would allow you to travel to Canada without issue. If less than 5 years have passed, and you need to travel to Canada, you should apply for a Temporary Resident Permit to overcome your inadmissibility.

Options are more limited if you have an offence on your record that is considered serious criminality. Rehabilitation via the passage of time is not available to individuals convicted of a serious crime. You are eligible to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation starting five years after you have completed the terms of your sentence. As in the case of non-serious criminality, you must apply for a Temporary Resident Permit if you need to come to Canada before reaching that five year benchmark.

If you want to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation or a Temporary Resident Permit, using the services of a Canadian immigration lawyer can make the process easier for you. A lawyer can provide you with step-by-step instruction on gathering documents, filling out paperwork, and submitting applications to a consulate. Our immigration law firm, FWCanada, helps numerous criminally inadmissible visitors apply for Temporary Resident Permits and Criminal Rehabilitation each month. We are extremely knowledgeable about the current Canadian TRP and CR application procedures at any given moment. Use the following form for a free assessment of your inadmissibility!

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 FacebookTwitter, and Linkedin.