Although you may meet all the other eligibility requirements for entering Canada, if you have previous criminal conduct you might be criminally inadmissible. In particular, if you have been convicted of a DUI or if you have been convicted of tax evasion, the entry process to Canada will become very complicated. However, entering Canada is possible.
What many people do not know is that the offence of a DUI and the offence of tax evasion have the same classification under Federal law in Canada: they are both hybrid offences carrying a maximum prison sentence of 5 years. Both of these offences would make one criminally inadmissible to Canada without a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation.
The Income Tax Act outlines the various circumstances that would make one inadmissible, specifically anything listed in s. 239. It is also made clear in the Act that failure to file taxes is an offence, though it is only a summary offence and would not make someone criminally inadmissible to Canada.
It is important to note that under Canadian law, it is possible to prosecute someone who has evaded taxes with the charge of Fraud (Criminal Code, s. 380). If the person has attempted to defraud the government with an amount exceeding $5000.00, this becomes a serious criminality with a maximum prison sentence of 14 years. This makes it even more difficult to overcome inadmissibility. Applicants with a serious criminality have a harder time obtaining TRPs and Criminal Rehabilitation will take longer to achieve, with higher processing fees than normal.
If you have been previously convicted of either Driving Under the Influence or Tax Evasion, and wish to enter Canada, you will need to obtain either a Temporary Resident Permit or Criminal Rehabilitation:
A Temporary Resident Permit, if obtained, allows the successful applicant to enter Canada for a specified reason for a specified amount of time. The applicant must demonstrate that there is a valid necessity requiring their entry into Canada, and this is required until the applicant’s criminal inadmissibility is removed (through applying for Criminal Rehabilitation or from being deemed Rehabilitated).
Criminal Rehabilitation is the permanent absolution of your criminal record in the eyes of the Canadian Federal Government. In this process, the applicant requests absolution from the Government for a crime or crimes committed in a foreign country. If obtained, Criminal Rehabilitation will allow the applicant to enter and leave Canada whenever they would like. In order to be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation, you must:
- Have committed an act outside of Canada that would constitute an offence under a Federal statute,
- Have been convicted of, or admitted to committing the act, and
- Have let 5 years pass since the full sentence or sentences were completed (including jail time, fines and probation).
If ten years have passed from the completion of your sentence (for a non-serious criminality) and you only have one conviction on your record, you will likely be deemed rehabilitated simply by the passage of time. Please note that applicants with more than one conviction on their record will never be deemed rehabilitated by this process; an application for criminal rehabilitation is required.
If you have been convicted of an offence where the maximum prison sentence in Canada is more than 10 years (i.e. attempting to defraud the government with an amount exceeding $5000.00; DUI or dangerous driving), it will be required that you apply for Criminal Rehabilitation. You can never be deemed rehabilitated simply by the passage of time.
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.