Coming To Canada With A Criminal Record From Another Country
Many people want to come to Canada. Some to live, some to work, some to visit and other who just want to come to Canada to pass through to get to another country. In all of these situations, having a criminal record in another country can keep you from entering Canada. Even if the conviction was many years ago. The immigration team at Kahane Law Office can help you learn more about how a foreign criminal conviction will affect you when you meet with a Canadian Immigration officer at the boarder. If you have criminal record immigration Issues, we may be able to help.
Will A Criminal Record Bar Me From Entering Canada?
Individuals who have been charged with an offence, other than an offence as a young offender, may be unable to come to Canada. Even if there is no disposition or outcome for their offence. See below for more details.
Do Criminal Charges Over 5 Years Ago Prevent Canadian Immigration?
Depending on the age, type of offence, number of offences and date of completion of any terms and conditions imposed at sentencing, you may not be permitted entry to Canada. If you have multiple offences, you may be barred to Canada without first obtaining special permission to enter Canada. It is important to look into the type of criminal record immigration issues first before you arrive at a Canadian Port of Entry. We recommend you review our blog post on temporary resident permits and criminal rehabilitation.
What Is A Port Of Entry (POE)?
A Port of Entry (“POE”) (aka: Land-border crossing, or international airport) is the designated area where an individual must present themselves for examination by an Officer when seeking entry to Canada. A POE is commonly referred to as a “Border Crossing”. They are Canadian designated airports, designated land border crossing points, and designated ports of harbour for sea vessels.
What Happens If I Travel To Canada With A Criminal Charge Or Conviction?
What happens to you will depend on the country you are a citizen of. The following breaks down what happens depending on your home country.
Americans: Who do not require a visa or an electronic Travel Authority (eTA) for travel to Canada
You may be stopped at the Canadian Ports of Entry and refused entry by a Border Services Officer (BSO) with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Typically, the CBSA will make every effort to return you to your home-country as soon as practicable. The cost associated with your return to the USA or country of last embarkation is typically incurred by the person being refused entry to Canada. If the individual does not have the funds to assist in their return to the USA or the country of last embarkation, then the CBSA or transportation company may incur the cost of removal.
Example: An American citizen and resident flies into Calgary International Airport after having travelled to Mexico for leisure. This individual has two convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) in the USA. They are coming to Canada to go skiing and visit with some friends. If refused entry by the CBSA, they may be returned to the country of last embarkation despite the individual’s citizenship. In this case the American citizen would be returned to the Mexico and not the USA.
Alternatively, the individual may be given the opportunity to return directly to the USA by either changing their return ticket to fly directly back to the USA same day or the following day. Or may be requested to purchase a ticket to the USA. If the individual does not have sufficient funds to purchase the return ticket, the airlines will return the individual to the last point of embarkation, Mexico, and may bill the individual by mail. The individual will then need to deal with further complications with the Mexican officials and determining how they would return to the USA.
For citizen of countries requiring an electronic Travel Authority (eTA) for travel to Canada
You will be required to apply for an eTA , online, prior to travel to Canada. Next you must disclose if you have any criminal charges or convictions. You may be refused an eTA. If you receive a refusal, you will be unable to travel to Canada without seeking special permission prior to travel. Seeking permission to travel to Canada can be a lengthy process, you’ll want to contact our team for assistance if you anticipate traveling to Canada.
What If I omit charges or convictions On A eTA Application?
This would be construed as misrepresentation. There are serious consequences for this offence. You can be barred to Canada for a period of either 2 or 5 years. It is also possible to be charged criminally by the Canadian Government for the offence of misrepresentation. It is always recommended that you are honest when answering questions.
For citizens of countries that require a visa for travel to Canada
You will be required to apply for a visa, at a Canadian visa office, prior to travel to Canada. Next, you must disclose if you have any criminal charges or convictions. You may be unable to travel to Canada without making a concurrent application for special permission to enter Canada. Seeking permission to travel to Canada can be a lengthy process, you’ll want to contact our team for assistance if you anticipate traveling to Canada.
What If I Omit A Charge Or Conviction On A Visa Application?
This would be construed as misrepresentation. There are serious consequences for this offence. You can be barred to Canada for a period of either 2 or 5 years. It is also possible to be charged criminally by the Canadian Government for the offence of misrepresentation. It is always recommended that you are honest when answering questions. This is not the way to deal with criminal record immigration issues!
Can I Be Arrested At A Canadian Airport If I Have A Criminal Charge?
YES!! An Border Services Officer can determine that an individual is a risk to Canada’s safety and security and/or would be unlikely to report for removal from Canada. The Border Services Officer could subsequently arrest the individual on entry to Canada at a port of entry, regardless of mode of transportation used for entry to Canada. This is why it is so important to deal with criminal record immigration issues before arriving in Canada.
What IF I Am Traveling On A Commercial Bus?
If you are traveling to or through Canada on a commercial bus such as Grey Hound or Red Arrow, the criminal record immigration rules still apply. Border Services Officers board the buses and you may be removed off the bus for examination. You may be prevented from entry to Canada.
Traveling On A Cruise Ship Or Ferry To Canada
If you are on a cruise ship or a ferry that stops in Canada or Canadian waters, such as Alaskan cruises stopping in Vancouver, Artic ferries; ferries from Glacier National Park in the USA to Waterton Park in Canada, you must still comply with Canadian law.
Border Services Officers may require the disembarkation of the ship and screening of all passengers and crew. You may be prevented from entry to Canada.
What To Do If You Want To Come To Canada But Have A Criminal Record, Charge Or Conviction?
Contact Kahane Law Office’s Immigration Department for a criminal admissibility assessment prior to arranging for travel to Canada. A criminal admissibility assessment will provide you with advice as to whether you may be permitted entry to Canada or if you may be required to seek special permission.
Advantage Of A Criminal Admissibility Assessment
It will reduce the risk of travel costs incurred to you due to either being refused entry to Canada at a POE, a visa by a Visa Office abroad, and eTA refusal. It would provide you with the best suited options available to you in terms of seeking entry to Canada. Furthermore, it would reduce your risk for arrest at the Ports of Entry. There is no point in trying to come to Canada if your record does not meet the standards set by the Canadian Government.
Help With Criminal Record Immigration Issues
Let our experienced team at Kahane Law Office Immigration Legal Services help you with any criminal record immigration issues! Call 403-225-8810 locally in Calgary, Alberta or toll-free at 1-877-225-8817 or you can email us. Please email us directly here.