Entering canada with a felony conviction

If you have a criminal record such as a felony conviction, you may have difficulty entering Canada.

Can I enter Canada with a Felony Conviction?

Canada has strict rules when it comes to admitting people with criminal records. Essentially, if you have been convicted of an offence that occurred less than 10 years ago, in most cases, you are inadmissible to Canada. This means that if you wish to visit Canada or work, you will require a special permit, called a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) to be admitted.

A TRP can be obtained, if you are American, at the Canada/US border. However, getting a TRP this way could prove challenging. TRPs are not easy to get. You have to prove that your felony conviction should not prevent you from entering Canada and that your need for entry outweighs reasons for denial. Applying for a TRP at the border could result in a refusal and you could be turned away.

The other method of applying for a TRP is at the Canadian Consultate. This processess could take a number of months but if you are pre-approved then when you come to the Canadian border, you should have no trouble be admitted to Canada.

How long Canada I stay in Canada on a TRP?

If you are admitted to Canada on a TRP, you can stay in Canada during the validity of the TRP. TRPs are usually valid for 6 months but could be less depending on the situation. If you have reason to enter Canada multiple times, you could apply for a TRP that is multiple entry. It is up to the immigration officer to issue you one or not.

How do I know if my felony conviction or criminal record makes be inadmissible to Canada?

Generally, most offences render you inadmissible to Canada. The best way to know whether your conviction will prevent you from entry to Canada is to consult with an immigration professional such as a lawyer. The lawyer will do an “equivalency analysis” to see if your offence in your home country will prevent you from entering Canada. If this is the case, then you will need a TRP.

Note that if your office is really old, say, 10 years or more, you may be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation. If you are, then the good news is that once you get a Criminal Rehabilitation Certificate, you will not have to apply for a TRP as they are permanent. Provided you do not commit any further offences, you can enter Canada like everyone else, even if you have a felony conviction.

Need help entering Canada?

If you need to enter Canada and feel that you may have difficulty then plan ahead. Contact an immigration lawyer for a consultation about your felony conviction or criminal record in order to determine if you are inadmissible to Canada. If you are get help with a TRP.


Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.

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About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

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