Canada Eases Up On Criminal Inadmissibility

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has announced an important new change of policy regarding criminal inadmissibility. As of March 21, 2012 certain individuals who have been considered to be criminally inadmissible will be eligible for a one-time fee waiver when applying for a temporary resident permit (TRP).

The government website reports that in line with Canada’s Federal Tourism Strategy, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency, “ Want to help make you aware of Canada’s admissibility rules, while making your travel easier.” This new program has been implemented to make it easier for some people to enter Canada.

As of March 1, 2012 individuals who have been barred from entering Canada because of their criminal record may be able to obtain a TRP for one visit without having to pay the $200. (CAD) processing fee. The revised policy is offered to foreign nationals who:

  • have been convicted of an eligible offence (or its equivalent in foreign law);
  • have served no jail time;
  • have committed no other acts that would prevent them from entering Canada; and
  • are not inadmissible for any other reason.

The term ‘eligible offense’ refers to criminal convictions as described in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), Section 36 (2). Foreign nationals who have been excluded from entry for such crimes as driving under the influence of alcohol, public mischief, shoplifting, or theft (under $5000. CAD), may now be qualified for admission.

More serious criminal offenses as defined under Section 36 (1) of IRPA, such as: robbery, fraud (over $5000. CAD), assault causing bodily harm, or committing an act that could be punishable in Canada by a maximum term of at least 10 years, are not eligible.

This is a one-time waiver. If a person wishes to return to Canada once their TRP has expired, a new application for a TRP must be submitted along with normal processing fees. There are additional methods of gaining admittance to Canada for individuals who are criminally inadmissible. They may wait for a pre-determined period of time and then apply for rehabilitation, or wait to meet the conditions of being “deemed rehabilitated.”

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