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New Rules for Criminal Admissibility to Canada

Starting March 1, 2012, certain individuals, previously ineligible for entry to Canada due to past criminality, may be eligible for a fee exempt ‘on the spot’ temporary resident permit for one visit to Canada.
In order to qualify for the exemption, the port of entry applicant must meet the following criteria:
  • have served no jail time, and
  • have committed no other acts that would prevent them from entering Canada.
Applicants may be eligible for the fee waiver if they:
  • 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.
Eligible convictions include those  equivalent to criminal offences under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), Section 36(2).
The equivalent convictions vary from country to country. Among others, they include:
  • driving under the influence of alcohol;
  • public mischief; or
  • shoplifting.
All serious criminal offences, defined under Section 36(1) of IRPA, are not eligible. Among others, they include:
  • robbery;
  • fraud over C$5000; or
  • assault causing bodily harm.
Applicants may become admissible again if they:
  • apply for a temporary resident permit and are approved;
  • the demonstrate through appropriate documentation that they meet the legal requirements to be deemed rehabilitated;
  • apply for rehabilitation and are approved; or
  • Obtain a pardon.
Legal representation for these various applications and processes is strongly recommended since refusal rates are high.