Note: This information is for guidance and reference only. A decision on your admissibility can only be made when you apply to come to Canada or at a port of entry.
Under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), if you have committed or been convicted of a crime, you may not be allowed to enter Canada. In other words, you may be "criminally inadmissible."
This includes both minor and serious crimes, such as theft, assault, manslaughter, dangerous driving and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For a list of criminal offences in Canada, consult the Canadian Criminal Code.
Note: there are other Acts of Parliament that a person can be convicted under, such as the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
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 if you are inadmissible to Canada
Depending on the crime you committed, how long ago it was and your behaviour since, you may be admissible to Canada again. You may be allowed to come to Canada if
- you are able to satisfy an immigration officer that you meet the legal requirement to be deemed rehabilitated or
- you applied for rehabilitation and were approved or
- you were granted a pardon or
- you have a temporary resident permit.
See below for more information about what each option means.
Deemed rehabilitation under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act means that enough time has passed since your conviction that you are considered absolved of your crime.
To be considered for deemed rehabilitation depends on:
- the crime
- if the required amount of time has passed since you completed the sentence imposed for your crime.
- whether you have committed more than one crime.
In all cases, you may only be deemed rehabilitated if the crime would be punishable in Canada by a maximum prison term of less than 10 years.
Rehabilitation means that you lead a stable life and that you are not likely to commit new crimes.
If you are not eligible to be deemed rehabilitated you must apply for individual rehabilitation to enter Canada. To apply, at least five years must have passed since you completed all your criminal sentences (this includes probation). You must submit an application to the Canadian visa office in your area and pay a processing fee. You should also check the visa office website to see if they have any special requirements.
Note: Applications for rehabilitation can take over a year to process, so make sure you plan far enough in advance.
Pardon or discharge
If you have been convicted in Canada and wish to apply for a pardon, see the National Parole Board website. If you were granted a Canadian pardon for your conviction, you are no longer inadmissible because of that conviction.
If you received a pardon or a discharge for your conviction in a country other than Canada, check with the CIC office closest to you to find out if the pardon is considered valid in Canada. This will help ensure you do not travel to Canada only to be refused entry or subject to other enforcement action.
Temporary resident permit
If it has been less than five years since the end of your sentence, and/or if you have exceptional circumstances, you may be eligible to be issued a temporary resident permit allowing you to enter or remain in Canada. Find out more about temporary resident permits.
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