Under Canada’s immigration law, if you have committed or been convicted of a crime, you may not be allowed into Canada. In other words, you may be “criminally inadmissible.”
This includes both minor and serious crimes, such as:
- dangerous driving,
- driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and
- possession of or trafficking in drugs or controlled substances.
If you were convicted of a crime when you were under the age of 18, you may still be able to enter Canada.
What you can do
Depending on the crime, how long ago it was and how you have behaved since, you may still be allowed to come to Canada, if you:
- convince an immigration officer that you meet the legal terms to be deemed rehabilitated, or
- applied for rehabilitation and were approved, or
- were granted a record suspension or
- have a temporary resident permit.
Deemed rehabilitation means that enough time has passed since you were convicted that your crime may no longer bar you from entering Canada.
You may be deemed rehabilitated depending on:
- the crime,
- if enough time has passed since you finished serving the sentence for the crime and
- if you have committed more than one crime
In all cases, you may only be deemed rehabilitated if the crime committed outside Canada has a maximum prison term of less than 10 years if committed in Canada.
Rehabilitation means that you are not likely to commit new crimes.
You can apply for individual rehabilitation to enter Canada. The Minister, or their delegate, may decide to grant it or not. To apply, you must:
- show that you meet the criteria
- have been rehabilitated and
- be highly unlikely to take part in further crimes
Also, at least five years must have passed since:
- the end of your criminal sentence (this includes probation) and
- the day you committed the act that made you inadmissible.