Canada has strict entry laws for any foreign national who wants to come to Canada. Each person must pass eligibility requirements before being allowed to enter the country.
Many people are surprised to learn that a prior criminal record can result in a Canadian immigration officer refusing entry or application based on criminal inadmissibility.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) place great importance on securing the country’s borders from those who may pose a risk. Because of this, they can refuse entry to a foreign national who they believe is likely to commit a crime during their visit to Canada.
IRCC and CBSA do not discriminate on the basis of fame or fortune. Criminal inadmissibility laws apply to everyone, including famous artists, musicians and actors. Many celebrities face this problem, as a charge like DUI (driving under the influence) is enough to be denied entry.
The Fugees had to cancel their 25th anniversary tour of The Score due to Pras Michel’s federal charges of conspiracy and record tampering.
Rapper G-Eazy also had to cancel his show in Alberta because he was denied entry to the country because of his criminal record. The rapper was arrested in Sweden for possession of cocaine when he also assaulted security guards at a nightclub.
Overcoming criminal inadmissibility
There are several options that will allow you to overcome a criminal record and ultimately be allowed to enter Canada.
If you have committed or been convicted of a crime, you can preemptively avoid being found inadmissible to Canada by sending a legal opinion letter to the judicial authority handling your case.
This letter is a document prepared by a Canadian immigration lawyer and refers to the relevant sections of Canadian law. It outlines the consequences of a conviction for Canadian immigration purposes. The content of the letter will help the case adjudicator determine how to respond to different charges and how different convictions and sentences would affect a person’s ability to enter Canada.
If your situation does not allow preventive action, you can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or for criminal rehabilitation.
The TRP grants entry to Canada for up to three years, depending on the reason for entry. A TRP is generally used when a foreign national has a good reason to enter Canada and the benefits of his entry outweigh any risks to Canadian society. A person can apply for a TRP at any time and does not require the completion of a criminal conviction.
A criminal rehabilitation application permanently clears a past criminal record from your record for purposes of entering the country. The advantage of this application is that it is a one-time solution that does not require renewal. Once you are approved for criminal rehabilitation, you are no longer considered inadmissible to Canada.
Fortunately, you can always overcome criminal inadmissibility provided you have competent legal counsel and act in advance to allow sufficient time before your visit or immigration to Canada.
Contact Cohen Immigration Law for assistance
If you are looking to immigrate to Canada or are planning a visit, you can contact me, Daniel Levy, Senior Attorney at Cohen Immigration Law. I have worked at Cohen Immigration for over 10 years and specialize in many areas including criminal inadmissibility.
I have experience working with celebrities such as actors and musicians in the US and abroad. I travel regularly between the US and Canada to serve Cohen Immigration Law clients.
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