Crimes That Will Make You Inadmissible to Canada

Published on: January 20th, 2022
Last updated: April 25th, 2023

If you have a criminal record and are planning to come to Canada, it is important to understand the types of crimes that will make you inadmissible.  

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Being inadmissible essentially means that you are not allowed to enter Canada. Criminal inadmissibility is one of the most common reasons someone may be unable to enter Canada. To determine whether your criminal charge may render you inadmissible, it is helpful to understand the types of convictions in Canada.

Offenses under the Criminal Code of Canada will fall under one of three categories: summary, indictable, or hybrid.

Straight summary offenses are usually considered the least serious of the three in terms of both the crime and the penalty. Straight indictable offenses, on the other hand, are for more serious crimes with more severe sentences. A hybrid offense is an offense where the prosecutor can decide whether it will be processed “summarily” or “by indictment” based on the seriousness of the actions of the accused.

It is important to note that a foreign national does not need to have committed a crime in Canada to be criminally inadmissible to Canada. Immigration and border officers determine the Canadian equivalent of any criminal offense committed abroad to decide whether an individual is criminally inadmissible to Canada.

Indictable offense – crimes that will make you inadmissible to Canada

An indictable offense will always result in criminal inadmissibility to Canada. Examples of indictable offenses include:

  • Theft over $5,000 CAD
  • Breaking and entering
  • Arson
  • Counterfeiting
  • Unlawfully causing bodily harm
  • Criminal negligence causing bodily harm
  • Discharge firearm with intent to wound
  • Motor vehicle offense causing death

Hybrid offense – crimes that could make you inadmissible to Canada

When categorizing a foreign national’s offense, border or immigration officers will consider a hybrid offense to be indictable. Some examples of hybrid offenses that could result in being criminally inadmissible to Canada include:

  • Reckless driving
  • Simple assault
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Driving while impaired (DWI)

Charges of driving under the influence are a common reason for a foreign national to be criminally inadmissible to Canada. Even if your DUI conviction occurred several years ago, it can still affect your ability to enter Canada. However, if you have a DUI conviction, there are still options to come to Canada.

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How can I overcome my criminal inadmissibility?

The options available to overcome your criminal inadmissibility will depend on when and where the crime was committed, and the severity of the offense.

If you were convicted of a crime outside of Canada, you must be considered rehabilitated to be admissible. You may be eligible to apply for rehabilitation if more than five years have passed since the end of the sentence imposed for a crime committed outside of Canada. If more than ten years have passed since completing your sentence, you may be already deemed rehabilitated.

For driving-related offenses, if your license is taken away as part of your sentence, the five-year period must start after your driving prohibition ends.


Unsure whether your crime will make you inadmissible to Canada? Contact us today to discuss your admissibility to Canada, and how can help you overcome a criminal charge.

Contact us to discuss your admissibility to Canada

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