Temporary Resident Permit

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TRP Canada

Canada immigration lawyer focused on helping Americans apply for a Temporary Resident Permit so they can travel to Canada with a criminal record. We offer free comprehensive consultations (unlike many businesses who demand a retainer before assessing your options).

Apply for TRP Canada

If a US citizen has a criminal conviction in their past that equates to a potentially serious crime north of the border, he or she may be considered criminally inadmissible to Canada and denied entry by border authorities. Many offenses that are only misdemeanors in USA can be treated as serious criminality by Canada, including DUI, reckless driving, possession of a controlled substance, domestic violence, and theft. Almost all felony convictions are viewed as serious by Canadian border security. Impaired driving is punishable by up to ten years imprisonment in Canada, so even a single DUI, DWI, OWI, OVI, DWAI, or "Physical Control" violation can result in an American being banned for life. The Canadian border has full access to the FBI database, so if an offense happened in the United States it is almost a guarantee border authorities can see it even if it was sealed or expunged.

If you apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), however, it may possible to obtain special permission to enter Canada. A TRP can grant access to the country for a specific reason, such as business, and for a specific period of time (maximum duration is three years). If an American has a criminal history that renders them inadmissible, rather than risk getting refused at the border they can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit in an effort to convince the Canadian Government that they are safe. In order to be approved for a Canada TRP, an applicant's need to cross the border must outweigh any potential risk they pose. Consequently, Americans who apply for TRP Canada permission must convince immigration officials that they will never reoffend and that their reason for travel is important.

How to Apply for Temporary Resident Permit Canada

Before you apply for a Canadian Temporary Resident Permit, you should ascertain whether the nature of your travel would justify the issuance of such a waiver. If you are considering popping across the border for a quick shopping trip, the Government of Canada will likely not consider that a very strong reason for granting you a TRP. On the other hand, if you have an important work trip to Toronto, or want to visit close family in Vancouver, it is definitely possible for your Canada Temporary Resident Permit application to include a convincing narrative of the importance of your ability to enter the country.

Applying for a Canada TRP is a complex legal procedure! Despite the existence of incorrect information on the Internet suggesting it can be done on your own by simply filling out an online form, it is not possible to submit a Canada TRP application online! Instead, TRP applications must be mailed away to the appropriate consulate or visa office or submitted directly by an Immigration Canada "authorized representative" (TRP lawyer) and often contain 50+ pages of paperwork. When you apply for a TRP Canada, you also need to consider how long you will need access to the country. It is possible to request a TRP for a single visit, or for multiple-entries for up to three years. The duration you request needs to be justified with supporting documentation, however, so asking for a three-year TRP when you only have one trip to the country planned may not be smart unless you have evidence of possible future travel. Immigration Canada is screening all types of offenses via a Temporary Resident Permit application, not just DUI convictions from the United States, and their standards are extremely high. Consequently, many people hire a Canadian immigration lawyer to apply for a TRP on their behalf.

Want to apply for a Canada Temporary Resident Permit? Questions about the Canada TRP application process? Contact us today for a FREE consultation!

Do I Need to Apply for TRP Canada?

It is not always obviously who needs a Temporary Resident Permit and who does not. For example: if a person has an old offense, had their conviction expunged, or went through a diversion or deferred judgment program, their ability to enter Canada without a waiver might not be immediately clear. If an American is unsure whether or not they are considered criminally inadmissible according to Canadian law, it would be advisable to contact a qualified attorney's office to discuss their specific situation. Our Canadian immigration law firm offers free consultations! Applying for a Canadian TRP may not be the best approach for everyone, as there can be other avenues available such as Criminal Rehabilitation (CR).

Admissibility to Canada is determined by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), which has rules for how a criminal conviction inside or outside the United States can be treated by Canadian immigration officers and border patrol. Regardless of the transgression being considered a misdemeanor or a felony where it happened, it is the seriousness of the Canadian equivalency that controls who can be blocked from entering. If an individual is restricted from traveling to Canada without a valid waiver, he or she will need to decide if it is worth applying for a Temporary Resident Permit instead of simply canceling their trip. In general, if an applicant has finished all their sentencing including any supervised release, involuntary work requirements, and probation, they will have a better shot at getting approved for a TRP (although it is still possible to apply for one before completion of all sentencing requirements).

Canada Temporary Resident Permit Application 2024

If you wish to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit, you should either contact an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer or visit the official Government of Canada website (which is Canada.ca) in order to find the correct Temporary Resident Permit application form and checklist. If you retain the professional services of a Canadian Temporary Resident Permit lawyer, you will not need to track down the Canada TRP application form on your own and will be guided through the process from start to finish. If the attorney is an authorized representative with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), he or she can also submit the completed TRP application directly to the Canadian Government on your behalf once they have professionally prepared it for you.

Many people are confused about the differences between a Canadian Criminal Rehabilitation application and a Temporary Resident Permit application. While the same form can be used for both (IMM 1444), the two applications are substantially different. For example: a person's reason for travel is crucial when applying for a Temporary Resident Permit, but when applying for Rehabilitation the focus is on a person's risk to reoffend and evidence he or she is rehabilitated more than why they want to cross the border. The Temporary Resident Permit Canada checklist is also very similar to the one for Criminal Rehabilitation, although there are different supporting documents required such as a state certificate / letter from a police authority for each state an individual has lived in as an adult. Consequently, there are items on the Criminal Rehabilitation document checklist (IMM 5507) that are not required if you apply for Temporary Resident Permit Canada access instead. We have been told by several people that the instructions on the Government of Canada website can be tremendously confusing.

If a US citizen is eligible for Canadian Rehabilitation, applying for a TRP without also applying for the permanent solution can be grounds for the TRP application to be rejected by immigration staff. Consequently, many US citizens apply for a Temporary Resident Permit Canada and Rehabilitation at the same time, aiming to obtain quick access with a TRP while also fixing their inadmissibility for life. In such cases, the TRP application can reference the pardon request to help ensure reviewing authorities are aware the applicant is also applying for a long-term fix.

Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) vs. Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)

If you apply for a Canada TRP, you are requesting special permission to enter Canada with a misdemeanor or felony conviction in your past. If you apply for a TRV or Canada Visitor Visa, you are simply requesting permission to visit the country. US citizens and Green Card holders do not require a Visitor Visa to travel to Canada, and thus should not confuse a Temporary Resident Permit with a Temporary Resident Visa (IRCC form IMM 5708). When you search Google for topics associated with how to get a Temporary Resident Permit for Canada, they often display a Canadian Government page for "applying to remain in Canada as a temporary resident permit holder" which is not at all related to overcoming criminal inadmissibility.

The similar names can confuse someone researching the process, but if you live in USA and have a DUI in your past you want a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) not a visa. Not only are Americans considered "no visa-required", they are also "no ETA-required". All a USA citizen usually needs to enter Canada with a DUI is a valid Temporary Resident Permit and a valid US passport. Criminal inadmissibility can arise in the event that an American seeks to get into Canada but has a prior conviction, such as DWI. By completing a Temporary Resident Permit Canada application, or hiring a Canadian TRP lawyer to prepare and submit one, an American may be able to overcome their inadmissibility for a specific reason and specific amount of time. Without a TRP, this same person may be denied entry at the Canadian border due to his or her criminal inadmissibility.

If it has been less than five years since all sentencing was completed, applying for a TRP is usually the only option for a foreign national with a criminal record who is interested in requesting special permission to enter Canada. Petitioning Canada's Government for a permanent solution may also be an option after five years. In a multitude of cases, it can be hard to gauge the severity of an offense. People can wonder if Canada's border agents would consider their record to be non-serious criminality, serious criminality, or if it is even equal to a crime north of the border. Such determinations are frequently made based on the maximum prison sentence of the equivalent crime in Canada. If perplexed regarding how your conviction might be perceived by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers, it is advisable to contact a Temporary Resident Permit attorney.

Pending DUI, Wet Reckless Driving, and Conditional Discharges

It is generally clear to many visitors from the United States that someone may be inadmissible to Canada if they have been convicted of DUI, DWI, OVI, DWAI, OWI, or one of the other popular abbreviations for operating a motor vehicle with Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) 0.08 or above or while visibly impaired according to police. It is also reasonably obvious to many travelers that individuals who are classified as inadmissible to Canada because of criminality may require a Canada Temporary Resident Permit to cross the border successfully. This leaves some to think carefully about how other alcohol-related driving violations and criminal history scenarios might get treated by Canadian border security. Below are some frequently asked questions (FAQ) based on the thousands of phone calls we have had with US citizens that have an arrest record.

Should I apply for TRP Canada if awaiting trial?
Anyone who has been arrested for drunk driving or a different crime may be inadmissible to Canada until they can prove to border officials that the verdict was "no conviction" or another favorable outcome. This means that in order to visit Canada with a DUI pending trial a person may need to complete a Canada Temporary Resident Permit application since there is no presumption of innocence at the border. Many business travelers will apply for a multiple-entry TRP so that they can cross the Canadian border while they fight the charge in court, hoping that by the time their TRP expires they have successfully won their case and are viewed as admissible to Canada again.

Do I need a TRP for a reckless driving conviction?
In many states, first offense DUI charges are commonly pled down to reckless driving if there was no motor vehicle accident or bodily harm involved. While reckless driving is a significant reduction compared to a full-blown DUI conviction, it is still a serious offense that can render a person inadmissible to Canada on grounds of criminality! The Canadian equivalent of reckless driving (including dry reckless) is often "Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle", which can be an indictable offense punishable by up to ten years in jail. A wet reckless explicitly implies alcohol was involved, and can equate to a DUI north of the border causing a person to be denied entry from Canada if they did not apply for a Temporary Resident Permit. Careless and dangerous driving can also be excludable crimes, and even traffic infractions for drunk driving such as OWI in Wisconsin, DWI in New Jersey, and DWAI in New York state can equate to full driving under the influence offenses in Canada.

Should I apply for Canada TRP for a conditional discharge?
In many states, first-time DUI offenders are given the option of participating in a conditional discharge program that when completed entirely allows them to avoid a criminal record for intoxicated driving. While an individual is enrolled in such a deferral program, they are often inadmissible and thus may not be allowed to go to Canada without special governmental permission in the form of a Temporary Resident Permit. Once a person has fulfilled all the obligations of the program and has proof that they were not convicted of the DUI, however, they may once again be able to travel to Canada with needing a waiver although an immigration lawyer should always be consulted. In most cases, if it is at all possible to end up convicted of the offense the Canadian border could treat it similar to a conviction. Consequently, while going through a probation before judgment (PBJ) or diversion program for driving drunk, if you are still on probation or have not yet completed all requirements to ensure the charge is dismissed you could be refused entrance by immigration authorities.

Does an "Under 21 DUI" make me inadmissible?
Zero tolerance policies exist in most states that severely punish young drivers found to be driving with even a small amount of alcohol in their system. Depending on the specific scenario, an "underage DUI" or "DUI under 21" can potentially render a person ineligible to visit Canada, and persons with such a violation on their record may need to fill out a TRP Canada application if they wish to be admitted into Canada. This being said, sometimes the Canadian equivalency of a "baby DUI" is not a hybrid offense. In such cases, a Legal Opinion Letter from a Canadian attorney may be a more effective approach than applying for a TRP.

How does Canada treat an "Actual Physical Control DUI"?
Anyone found in the driver's seat of a car or truck with the keys on them or nearby can be charged with a Physical Control DWI if they are drunk. First offense impaired driving can also be reduced to a Physical Control violation by the prosecutor in some areas. A Physical Control DUI is still an excludable crime, however, and anyone interested in visiting Canada with this on their record may need to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit to cross the international border successfully.

How to Apply for an Expedited Temporary Resident Permit Canada

Since it can take several months for a Canadian consulate to process a TRP application, in urgent circumstances an American may need to bring an expedited TRP application to the border for immediate processing. A US passport holder should only apply for TRP at the Canadian border as a last resort, however, it is always much better to apply through a visa office when possible. While the expedited Temporary Resident Permit application form is the same as a regular Canada TRP application form, there are differences between the two applications. For example: if you are bringing a Temporary Resident Permit application to the Canadian border, the paperwork should begin by explaining to border security why the situation is a true emergency and hence it was not viable to acquire a TRP beforehand.

How Long Does It Take to Get a TRP for Canada?

When applying for a Canada Temporary Resident Permit through a consulate or visa office, it normally takes more than ten weeks for an answer. For example, a TRP Canada application form submitted to the Consulate General of Canada in Los Angeles (South Hope Street) typically takes several months for processing. If a person needs to travel urgently and cannot wait for an answer from the consulate, their only option is to bring a completed Canadian Temporary Resident Permit application with them for instant adjudication at the border. Applying for a Canada Temporary Resident Permit at the border should be reserved for real emergencies, however, because if a traveler is not approved they can be denied admittance.

Applying for Canadian TRP access at a Port of Entry involves bringing a full packet of paperwork on your trip. Some people think they will be allowed to fill out a Temporary Resident Permit Canada application form right at the border, which is a big mistake. When you apply for a Canadian TRP, you must include supporting documentation such as court records and an FBI background check, and subsequently if an inadmissible visitor is flagged by CBSA and has not already prepared such an application in advance it will not be possible to quickly assemble an entire one on the spot. If you are unsure if applying for a Canada Temporary Resident Permit at the border is smart given your need to travel, it is advisable to consult with a Canadian TRP lawyer about your unique situation.

When a foreign citizen researches how to apply for Canadian Temporary Resident Permit permission to enter and how long it takes, they should consider if the merits of their application will likely culminate in a TRP approval. Applying for a Canada Temporary Resident Permit is not easy, and accordingly it is oftentimes not worth pursuing unless a trip is imperative. Even if a Canadian TRP application is prepared professionally, if the applicant does not have a strong reason for visiting a Canada entry waiver may not be issued by IRCC. If an American passport holder is not in a hurry to travel internationally, applying for TRP Canada entry permission may not be necessary and the person may have enough time to obtain permanent Rehabilitation before any trips.

Should I Apply for Canada TRP in Order to Be Allowed to Bring Prohibited Food Products?

If you have ever watched the award-winning television show "Border Security", you may have learned that many plants and food products cannot be imported or exported internationally. Certain animals, plants, fruits, and wood products can carry bugs from one country to another causing major issues for the new environment they are introduced into. For this reason, front-line quarantine officers can hand out a prosecution to travelers who do not declare certain items in their luggage when flying into Canada.

Foreign nationals who apply for TRP Canada access via the Canada Temporary Resident Permit form IMM 1444 (available on the Canada.ca website) do not gain any benefits in terms of bringing otherwise unlawful items across the border. Since Canada and the United States share a physical border, however, it is allowable to bring most fruits, vegetables, wood, and plant materials across the border with you when traveling directly from USA. Please note: one item that is unequivocally restricted from passing through the US-Canada border is any wood product that contains bark.

What Happens When a Temporary Resident Permit Expires?

If a US citizen fill outs a Canada Temporary Resident Permit application form (IMM1444) comprehensively and gets approved, their inadmissibility is resolved for the duration of the waiver. When the TRP expires, however, their past DUI or other criminal conviction can once again be problematic when driving or flying to Canada. In such cases, the person may be permitted to reapply for a new TRP, or may even be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation, which is a permanent fix, depending on how long ago their sentence was done. When reapplying for a waiver, it might be achievable to reuse elements of your previous Canada TRP form and supporting documentation. If a person is traveling for pleasure, unless they have already spent a huge amount of money and it is not refundable they will often have trouble getting approved for a TRP.

Questions or concerns about the Canada Temporary Resident Permit application? Interested in learning how a Canadian TRP lawyer can help you? Contact our legal team today for a free consultation!

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