Inadmissibility at the Canadian Border and What to Do About It

Each year, a vast number of people are refused entry to Canada thanks to a conviction or pending criminal charge in their country of origin. Criminal charges or convictions usually lead
to what is termed as criminal inadmissibility. Thankfully, there are steps you
can take to circumvent the immigration hurdles. 

First things first, what constitutes criminal inadmissibility?

Canada denies people who’ve committed a criminal act outside of Canada and is seeking entry into its borders. Accordingly, you’ll experiencing problems entering Canada if:

  • You are subject to an arrest warrant where a charge might be brought against you;
  • There are pending charges against you;
  • Your trial is ongoing; or
  • You are a fugitive

However, it isn’t enough for you to have committed an act that is criminal in your country of origin. In order to be criminally inadmissible, the offence committed has to match the similar offence in Canada. If the criminal act committed abroad is only a summary offense (less serious) in Canada, then you might be allowed entry to Canada (under certain circumstances). 

So how might you be able to circumvent the system hurdles and enter Canada with a criminal act on your back?


You might be allowed to enter Canada if you’ve been pardoned in a foreign jurisdiction where the crime was committed, and the pardon should be equivalent to a Canadian pardon (record suspension). 


If you’ve been acquitted of the offense by a court of competent jurisdiction, then you’ll be let to step into Canada. 

Juvenile Delinquent

If you were convicted of a criminal act when you were a minor, you’ll likely be admissible to Canada. 

Criminal Rehabilitation

The concept of criminal rehabilitation is employed by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada to determine when an individual with a criminal record can be allowed to enter into Canada. Criminal rehabilitation is a process, when the immigration department believes you’re unlikely to involve yourself in any form of criminal activities in the future. 

Accordingly, there are two forms of criminal rehabilitation for purposes of immigration: deemed rehabilitation and application for rehabilitation. Deemed rehabilitation is when the immigration personnel assume you’ve fully reformed based on the time your sentence was completed. Application for rehabilitation is available for individuals who aren’t eligible for deemed rehabilitation. Application for criminal rehabilitation is a process people who are criminally inadmissible go through to show that they are rehabilitated and therefore suitable for admission to Canada. 

Temporary Entry

If you don’t qualify for criminal rehabilitation, you can apply for a temporary resident permit (TRP) which will allow you to enter into Canada for a particular period of time – normally not more than three years, after which you’ll need to apply for another permit. The Temporary Resident Permit doesn’t allow you to study or work- you will have to apply for a study or work
permit independently. 


This is clearly a long, tedious, and tiring process. You don’t have to shoulder the burden alone. You can reach out to Touchdown Canada Immigration to advise and guide you through the labyrinth of several rules and regulations to finally get you admitted to Canada.

Stopped at the Canadian border?

It is important to start your eligibility assessment today.

Call us at 416-450-1700

Toll: 1-800-TCI(824)-6963


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