If you are a US citizen who wants to visit Canada, Canadian law mandates that you must declare any convictions that you have had in the past when speaking to a customs agent, and the declaration must be made, even if that specific question is not asked. Failure to provide information associated with past convictions can lead to problems if it is discovered that you received a conviction for a crime.
Just a few years ago, entry into Canada from the United States was not as strict as it is now. Unfortunately, heightened concern has increased the amount of security that is used when individuals are allowed to cross the border. If a United States citizen received criminal charges in the past, they are not allowed to freely enter Canada.
Convictions in Canada such as shoplifting, misdemeanor drug possession, reckless driving and DUI are seen as felony convictions. Canada does not want undesirables to enter their country, even though a conviction may have happened a long time ago.
Fortunately, there are a few different ways that a US citizen can get past this problem:
– By applying for Deemed Rehabilitation once they arrived at a Canadian port of entry
– By applying for rehabilitation via a Canadian Consulate located in the US
– By obtaining a temporary residence permit via a Canadian Consulate located in the US
Deemed Rehabilitation Status
If a US citizen meets eligibility requirements, they can apply for deemed rehabilitation. Requirements include the following:
– No more than one criminal act or conviction
– Must be a 10-year gap between the ending date of the served sentence for conviction
– The conviction must not be a serious violation per Canadian laws
– The conviction must not have involved physical harm to another individual, serious property damage or a weapon
Application For Rehabilitation Procedure
To apply for rehabilitation, there must be a five-year gap since the last day a person served their sentence for a conviction. To apply, an application for rehabilitation must be completed and sent to the Immigration Department located at the Consulate General of Canada in Seattle, Washington. All supporting documents must also be sent.
Temporary Resident Permit Procedure
If it’s less than five years since a person completed the last day of their sentence for a conviction, their only option is to apply for a temporary resident permit. Again, an application must be sent to the Consulate General of Canada in Seattle, Washington.