Can You Visit Canada with a Misdemeanor?
Any US resident or US citizen that has been arrested or convicted of a misdemeanor may be criminally inadmissible to Canada. When it comes to crossing the border, it is
not the severity of the crime in the United States that counts, it is the Canadian equivalent of the offense that determines a person's eligibility. For this
reason, many relatively minor offenses such as misdemeanor DUI or even reckless driving can result in a person being denied entry to Canada.
If the equivalent law in Canada is an indictable offense, then even if the crime happened years ago a foreign national may not be permitted to
enter Canada unless they have received special permission. There are two methods to get permission to cross the border with a misdemeanor, the
short term solution of a Canada Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), or the long term solution of Criminal Rehabilitation. When issued a Canada TRP, an
individual is allowed to visit Canada with a misdemeanor on their criminal record for a fixed period of time. Temporary Resident Permits can be
issued for as long as three years, and can even be applied for at a Port of Entry enabling a person fast entry into the country. The Criminal
Rehabilitation process takes a minimum of 9-12 months, but once complete grants a person with a misdemeanor permanent admissibility to the nation.
Going to Canada but have a misdemeanor on your criminal record? Contact us now for a free consultation.
Individuals with a single criminal misdemeanor on their record and no other charges may be automatically authorized for entry into Canada once
again ten years after completion of their full sentence. People with a felony conviction or several misdemeanors may never be deemed
rehabilitated by virtue of time, only those with one misdemeanor on their record. It is important to note that a person is only considered
rehabilitated by the passage of time ten years after they finish their sentence, which includes payment of all fines, completion of all required
courses, and reinstatement of driver's license. It is common for people to mistakenly think they are allowed to go to Canada ten years after the
date of the actual offense, which can, unfortunately, lead to them being refused entry at the border.
Can I Enter Canada with a Misdemeanor?
The only way you can cross the border into Canada with a misdemeanor that is less than ten years old and renders you criminally inadmissible is by earning Criminal Rehabilitation
or a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). Otherwise, even a single alcohol-related driving conviction such as DWI, DUI, DWAI, OVI, or OWI can render
you excluded from Canada. Even drunk driving pled down to a wet reckless driving or careless driving charge can result in a denial of entry at
the border. Drugged driving (DUID or DUI drugs) can also make a person ineligible for admittance into Canada. Other misdemeanor convictions
that can get you barred from crossing the border include assault, burglary, resisting arrest, possession of a controlled substance, theft, and
unlawful possession of a weapon.
Crossing Border After Misdemeanor Arrest
Canada's border does not exercise a presumption of innocence regarding foreign nationals with arrests, which means that Americans can be instantly deemed
inadmissible as soon as they are arrested for a misdemeanor such as drunk driving. If you have an open trial pending, you may require special Government
permission in order to be permitted entry regardless of the fact that you are still technically innocent of the charge since the court has yet to reach
a verdict. This also means that people enrolled in a diversion program, or any other system involving a deferment of guilt, can require a Canada Temporary
Resident Permit to get into the country until they have finished the program which can take years.
How Many Years After Arrest Can You Go Back to Canada?
After ten years from the date you completed your full sentence including probation, you may be eligible to return to Canada without the requirement
of a TRP. Many people incorrectly start counting from the day of their arrest or the day of their misdemeanor conviction, but the clock only
starts ticking towards "deemed rehabilitation" once a person has finished their entire sentence. Individuals are also only eligible for rehabilitation by the passage of time if they have a single misdemeanor on their criminal record; two misdemeanors (or more) or a felony conviction can make someone ineligible.
Class A Misdemeanors vs. Class D Misdemeanors
For the purposes of immigration, Canada does not look at the level of misdemeanor a person was found guilty of in the court of law. Instead, Canada determines an
individual's admissibility by the Canadian equivalent of their crime, which means that a class A misdemeanor is not necessarily treated any different than a class B
misdemeanor, class C misdemeanor, or class D misdemeanor.
Can I Travel to Canada with Misdemeanor Record?
Any foreign national with a criminal record, including a misdemeanor for driving drunk, may be turned away at the border unless they have entry
permission. Even a wet reckless driving charge or a misdemeanor speeding ticket can result in a person being denied admittance when flying into
Canada. Although it is generally much easier to get approved for a Temporary Resident Permit when you only have a single misdemeanor on your criminal record
as opposed to a felony conviction, both types of offenses can cause issues when crossing the border.
Misdemeanor Entry into Canada
A commonly asked question is "will Canada bar me because of a misdemeanor record?" The Canadian border does not actually care whether or not
the crime was a misdemeanor or felony; they are only concerned about what the Canadian equivalent crime is. For this reason, you can be denied
entry for many misdemeanors such as drunk driving simply because the equivalent crime in Canada is an indictable offense, as opposed to the
lesser summary offense. It also does not matter if you have any intention of driving while in the country, or will only be passing through
Canada briefly such as a flight layover or a drive from California to Alaska. Even if you have a misdemeanor traffic ticket or have pled a
DUI down to a lesser offense such as wet reckless driving, you can still be rejected by border officials.
Going to Canada with misdemeanor? Phone us today for a free consultation.