How to Find Out if you are Criminally Inadmissible to Canada

Canada allows foreign nationals from all over the world to visit the country for various reasons that range from tourism, work, study, humanitarian missions, etc. However, everyone entering the country is screened, where they can be denied entry for various reasons such as being a security risk, medical reasons (being suspected of having a contagious infection), or the most common of reasons, criminal inadmissibility due to past criminal convictions. However, not all offences lead to criminal inadmissibility, and since the Canadian law is different from the laws of other countries, there is no sure way of knowing whether you are inadmissible until you try to enter Canada and are denied entry.

How to determine if you are criminally inadmissible

Even though there is no sure way of knowing whether you are criminally inadmissible until you try entering Canada, you can be able to determine whether or not you are likely to be granted or denied access by completing a free online assessment offered by Canadian immigration lawyers. The assessment requires you to fill in information about your situation, which is then reviewed by the lawyers to find out if you are admissible or not. You can also be able to determine your inadmissibility by assessing your situation and taking into consideration various factors that are used to determine criminal inadmissibility.

Factors that determine criminal inadmissibility

1. Past criminal record

The first step to determining if you are criminally inadmissible is asking yourself whether you have a criminal record or not. If you have no criminal record, i.e. you have never even been arrested; you do not have to worry about being denied entry into Canada. However, if you have a criminal record, chances are that the Canadian immigration officials can be able to access it and deny you entry into the country.

2. Conviction

Another factor that affects Canadian criminal inadmissibility is the conviction, i.e., whether you were convicted for the crime you committed or not. If you were convicted (sentenced to time, fined, or placed under probation), chances are that you might be criminally inadmissible. However, if you were never convicted of (or confessed to committing) the offence, for example, when the police arrest you and then drop the charges, then there is a high chance that you might be granted access into Canada. However, as a precaution, you should carry with you a Legal Opinion Letter to explain to the immigration officials that your record does not make you criminally inadmissible.

3. Type of offence committed

Another factor that affects criminal inadmissibility is the type of crimes for which you were convicted. Some offences such as underage drinking and driving without insurance are considered too minor to warrant criminal inadmissibility. However, more serious or severe offences will usually lead to you being denied entry into Canada. These includes:

– Disturbing the public peace

– Public drunkenness

– Being in possession of small quantities of drugs or controlled substance

– Driving under the influence

– Assault, assault with bodily harm, and assault with a weapon

– Theft and fraud

– White collar offences

– Drug and human trafficking

– Illegal possession of a weapon

4. The number of the offences committed

In addition to the nature of the offence committed, the type of offences for which you were convicted is another factor that can determine if you are inadmissible or not. This comes into play when the offences you have committed are considered not too serious to warrant inadmissibility on their own, for example, public disturbance, public intoxication, indecent exposure, and other misdemeanour offences. However, if you are convicted of more than one offence, then you automatically become criminally inadmissible into Canada.

5. The amount of time that has passed

The time factor comes into play if you only have a criminal record with one non-serious offence (equivalent to less than a maximum of 10 years under the Canadian law), and ten years have passed since you complete the sentence, probation, and fines that were imposed. In such a case, you are then deemed criminally rehabilitated and you can enter Canada freely. However, as a precaution, you should carry with you a Legal Opinion Letter to explain your situation to the immigration officials.

How to overcome criminal inadmissibility

While using the above factors, if you find that you might be considered criminally inadmissible into Canada, then chances are that you will be denied entry when you attempt to enter the country. Fortunately, there are a number of available options you can use to resolve the inadmissibility, thus allowing you to travel and enter Canada. These includes:

1. Applying for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)

The Temporary Resident Permit is a temporary permit that you are issued with if you are criminally inadmissible, but have a compelling reason for seeking entry into the country. The TRP is applied for at the Canadian embassy in your home country, or at the point of entry when you are trying to enter Canada. To receive the permit, you must persuade the immigration official reviewing your application that you have a justified and compelling reason to enter the country.

2. Undergoing criminal rehabilitation

Criminal rehabilitation is a permanent solution for resolving Canadian criminal inadmissibility. It is better than applying for the TRP since you only make one application and it is approved, you are allowed to enter and leave Canada as many times as possible without the need for further applications. However, criminal rehabilitation is only applicable for foreign nationals who have been convicted of crimes outside Canada. You must also wait for at least 5 years to pass since the final date of you completing your sentence, fines, or probation.

3. Record Suspension

Record suspension is another permanent way of resolving Canadian criminal inadmissibility. Formerly known as a pardon, this option is available only for people convicted of crimes in Canada. The record suspension is issued by the Canadian Parole Board, and it wipes your slate clean (but does not do away with your record), thus giving you the freedom to enter and leave Canada freely.


When you are travelling to Canada, you can find yourself being denied entry into the country if you are screened and found to be criminally inadmissible. Therefore, before travelling, you should first determine if you are admissible into the country or not. If you find that you are criminally inadmissible, you can start the process or resolving your admissibility issues using the above options, as well as with the help of a good Canadian immigration lawyer such as DUI Canada Entry, see their website here