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How To Travel Between Canada and the U.S. If You Have A Criminal Record

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Inadmissibility Issues and Waivers and Criminal Inadmissibility

How To Travel Between Canada and the U.S. If You Have A Criminal Record

If you have a criminal record, you may still be able to travel between Canada and the U.S., but you may need to apply for a visa or permit. The specific requirements will depend on the nature of your conviction and the type of travel you are planning. Criminal inadmissibility - even a DUI - can be a problem even for foreign celebrities and artists who need to come to Canada or the U.S. temporarily for shows or performances. Canadian performer Drake has a criminal record and regularly travels between Canada and the U.S. - but this isn't just for celebrities! Anyone with a criminal record, even if they've previously been denied entry, can apply to legally cross the border and if they qualify, be determined admissible.

IIf you have a conviction for a minor offence, you may be able to travel to the U.S. without a visa, but you may need to declare your conviction to the border official. If you have a conviction for a more serious offence, you may need to apply for a visa or permit, and you may be subject to additional scrutiny at the border.

  • The U.S. government has a list of crimes that can make you inadmissible to the country. If you have been convicted of one of these crimes, you may be denied entry to the U.S., even if you have a visa or permit.
    • You may qualify for a U.S. Visa Waiver of Inadmissibility so you can travel to the United States even if you have a criminal record in Canada.
  • The Canadian government also has a list of crimes that can make you inadmissible to Canada. If you have been convicted of one of these crimes, you may be denied entry to Canada, even if you have a U.S. visa or permit.
    • You may be deemed rehabilitated by the Canadian government or have a compelling reason why you need to travel and qualify for a Canadian Temporary Resident Permit (TRP).
  • If you are denied entry to the U.S. or Canada, you may be placed in removal proceedings. This means that you could be deported from the country.

BOOK YOUR FREE CASE EVALUATION

Watch: Calgary Immigration Lawyer Evelyn Ackah Discusses How Does Criminality Impact Your Ability to Enter Canada or the U.S.?

An Immigration Lawyer Can Help You Travel Even If You Have A Criminal Record

An immigration lawyer can help you travel even if you have a criminality issue by:

  • Understanding the immigration laws and regulations:
    Immigration lawyers are experts in the immigration laws and regulations of the United States and Canada. They can help you understand the specific requirements for travel and work in each country, and they can advise you on how to best meet those requirements.
  • Advising you on your options:
    Immigration lawyers can advise you on your options for travel and work, even if you have a criminal record. They can help you assess your eligibility for visas, permits, and other immigration benefits, and they can help you develop a plan to travel and work legally.
  • Representing you at immigration interviews:
    Immigration lawyers can represent you at immigration interviews. They can help you answer questions about your criminal record and explain the circumstances of your conviction. They can also help you negotiate with immigration officials to obtain the best possible outcome.

If you have a criminal record and you are considering travelling to the United States or Canada, it is important to speak with an immigration lawyer. An immigration lawyer can help you understand your options and protect your rights.

Free Case Evaluation


How Can I Be Deemed Rehabilitated to Enter Canada Even If I Have A Criminal Record?

Whether you can be deemed rehabilitated to enter Canada even if you have a criminal record depends on the nature of your conviction and how long ago it was.

  • The conviction was for a minor offense and it was more than 10 years ago.
  • The conviction was for a more serious offence, but it was more than 15 years ago and you have not had any other convictions since then.
  • You have demonstrated that you have been rehabilitated by your good conduct and character since the conviction.

There are also a number of other factors that can be considered in determining whether you have been rehabilitated, such as:

  • Your age at the time of the conviction.
  • The circumstances of the conviction.
  • Your efforts to rehabilitate yourself, such as completing a rehabilitation program or obtaining a pardon.
  • Your ties to Canada, such as family or employment.

If you believe that you may be deemed rehabilitated, you can apply for a rehabilitation certificate from the Canadian government. A rehabilitation certificate is a document that confirms that you have been deemed rehabilitated and are no longer inadmissible to Canada due to your criminal record.

To apply for a rehabilitation certificate, you must complete an application form and provide supporting documentation, such as a police clearance certificate, letters of reference, and proof of rehabilitation. The application process can take several months and it is essential that all required documentation is submitted exactly as required so your application is not delayed or denied..

If your application is approved, you will be issued a rehabilitation certificate. This certificate will be valid for 5 years. After 5 years, you can apply for a new rehabilitation certificate.

It is important to note that being deemed rehabilitated does not guarantee that you will be allowed to enter Canada. The border officials will still have the discretion to deny you entry if they believe that you are a risk to Canada.

If you have any questions about being deemed rehabilitated to enter Canada, you should speak with an immigration lawyer.

What Is A Canadian Temporary Resident Permit For Someone With A Criminal Record?

Whether a Canadian temporary resident permit (TRP) can be issued to someone with a criminal record depends on a number of factors, including the nature of the conviction, how long ago it was, and whether the applicant has been rehabilitated.

A TRP may be issued to someone with a criminal record if the IRPA officer is satisfied that the applicant is not a danger to the public and that the issuance of the TRP would not be contrary to the public interest.

An officer will consider a number of factors in making this determination, including:

  • The nature of the conviction
  • The circumstances of the conviction
  • The applicant's rehabilitation efforts
  • The applicant's ties to Canada
  • The purpose of the applicant's stay in Canada

There are a number of reasons why you might qualify for a TRP, such as:

  • To study in Canada
  • To work in Canada
  • To visit family or friends in Canada
  • To seek medical treatment in Canada
  • To attend a conference or other event in Canada
  • To participate in a cultural exchange program in Canada

To apply for a TRP, you must complete an application form and provide supporting documentation, such as a passport, police clearance certificate, and proof of ties to your home country. The application process can take several months.

If your application is approved, you will be issued a TRP. This permit will allow you to enter and stay in Canada for the specified period of time.

It is important to note that a TRP is not a permanent resident visa. It is a temporary document that allows you to stay in Canada for a specific purpose. If you want to stay in Canada permanently, you will need to apply for a permanent resident visa.

If you have any questions about Canadian temporary resident permits, you should speak with an immigration lawyer.

Here are some of the requirements for applying for a TRP:

  • You must have a valid passport.
  • You must be admissible to Canada, except for the reason for which you are applying for a TRP.
  • You must provide proof of ties to your home country, such as a job, property, or family.
  • You must provide proof of the purpose of your stay in Canada, such as a letter of acceptance from a school or a job offer.
  • You must pay the application fee.

Note:

  • A temporary resident permit is usually issued for the length of your visit to Canada -for example, 1 week to attend a conference.
  • You must leave Canada by the expiry date of the permit, or get a new permit before your current one expires. This permit may be cancelled by an officer at any time.

What Is A U.S. Visa Waiver?

A U.S. visa waiver is a program that allows citizens of certain countries including Canada to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of up to 90 days. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a reciprocal arrangement between the United States and 40 countries that have similar visa waiver programs for U.S. citizens.

  • To be eligible for the VWP, you must be a citizen of one of the 40 participating countries and have a valid passport that meets certain requirements.
  • You must also have a round-trip ticket to your home country and sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in the United States.
  • If you are eligible for the VWP, you can apply for authorization to travel to the United States through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). The ESTA application is a simple online form that can be completed in minutes.
  • Once you have been granted ESTA authorization, you can travel to the United States without a visa. However, you must still present your passport and ESTA authorization at the port of entry.

    BOOK YOUR FREE CASE EVALUATION

    It is important to consult with an immigration lawyer to determine your specific eligibility for travel between Canada and the U.S.

    Ackah Law Can Help You Apply For A Canadian Temporary Resident Permit or A U.S. Visa Waiver

    If you have a criminal record and want to travel to Canada or the United States, Ackah Law will advise you on your eligibility, help you gather the required documentation, complete the application form and guide you throughout the process to resolve your criminality issue.

      Ackah Business Immigration Law has offices in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver to help clients move to new opportunities in Canada and the United States. To get in touch with Ackah Law, contact us at (403) 452-9515 or send an email directly to contact@ackahlaw.com.


    • Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

      Founder/Managing Lawyer

      Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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