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Banned from Canada: How Inadmissibility Might Affect You

Published on: May 7th, 2018
Last updated: April 19th, 2022

Inadmissibility can be a major obstacle to anyone who wants to either immigrate to Canada or just come to the country for a visit. If you are considered inadmissible to Canada, it means that you will not be allowed into the country without special permission from the Canadian government.


There are two categories of inadmissibility, medical and criminal. Medical inadmissibility means that immigration officials feel that a person has a medical condition that presents a danger to the public health and safety of Canada or that will cause undue strain on Canadian social services. Criminal inadmissibility means a person has a criminal record in either Canada or another country that is serious enough to make them a threat to the public safety of Canada.

Do you think you might be inadmissible to Canada? In this article, we have outlined some common inadmissibility scenarios that might be similar to your situation. They might be helpful in determining what options you have to overcome inadmissibility.

Situation 1 – Mary

Mary is a 33-year-old woman from Buffalo, NY. The company she works for has asked her to travel to Toronto to train some new employees that have just been hired in the office there. Three years ago, Mary was arrested for and convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Because this was the only conviction on her record, she received a light sentence of fines and a suspended license for 4 months. She paid the fines and successfully had her driver’s license reinstated in a timely manner.

Will Mary have trouble traveling to Canada for her business trip?

It’s very likely that Mary will be considered criminally inadmissible to Canada because of her conviction. Even though it may seem minor, DUIs are equivalent to a law in Canada forbidding operating a motor vehicle while impaired. In order to travel to Canada, Mary will have to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit and prove to immigration officials that her need to be in Canada outweighs the risk of allowing her into the country. Because she is traveling to train Canadians for new jobs, she will likely be granted this permit.

Once 5 years have passed since Mary completed all terms of her sentence, she can have her criminal record cleared for Canadian immigration purposes by applying for Criminal Rehabilitation. This application has to be filed at a Canadian consulate and may take a while to process, but it will clear up inadmissibility issues as long as Mary is not convicted of any other offenses.

Situation 2 – Francois

Francois wants to visit his family in Montreal, but he is worried that his criminal record might stop him from entering Canada. Twelve years ago, Francois completed his sentence for a reckless driving conviction. This is the only charge on his record. Will Francois be able to come to Montreal?

The answer is most likely yes! Francois only has one, non-serious conviction and it has been more than ten years since he finished his sentence. That means he qualifies for deemed rehabilitation. Like the Criminal Rehabilitation mentioned in Mary’s scenario, deemed rehabilitation wipes Francois’s record clean for Canadian immigration purposes. The only difference is that Francois will not have to apply for it; it’s automatically achieved ten years after the completion of a sentence for a non-serious crime.

When travelling to Montreal, Francois should still carry court documents and police clearance certificates with him to prove to the border officers who will be processing him that he completed all the terms of his sentence.

Scenario 3 – Steve

Steve is retired and loves to travel. He wants to plan a road trip from his home in Seattle, through Canada, to Anchorage, Alaska. However, when Steve was much younger, he was convicted of assault and theft. He served some time in prison but has since reformed his life. He built up his own business and has become a leader in his community. He volunteers with at-risk youth and is truly a changed man.

Because of his two convictions, Steve will definitely be found inadmissible to Canada. Despite the fact that Steve completed his sentences long ago, he will not be eligible for deemed rehabilitation because he has more than one conviction. Additionally, depending on the circumstances of the crime, a theft or assault charge might be considered a serious crime.

Steve can still make his Canadian road trip a reality by applying for Criminal Rehabilitation. He will have to show in his application that he has genuinely turned his life around and is no longer at risk of committing a crime like those from his past.

One drawback is that this application could take up to a year to be processed by the Canadian consulate. In the meantime, Steve could apply for a Temporary Resident Permit to travel to Canada. However, these permits are not usually granted to inadmissible people who only want to come to Canada for vacation. Steve will probably have to postpone his trip until he is approved for Criminal Rehabilitation.


Of course, all inadmissibility situations are different. If you believe that you might be inadmissible to Canada, then you should get in contact with an immigration lawyer like the ones at Canadim. They can help you weigh your options and find out which course of action works best for your situation. Do you want to immigrate to Canada? Complete our free online assessment to discover all of your Canadian immigration options!


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