Inadmissibility and Restoration

Some people aren’t allowed to come to Canada. They’re “inadmissible” under Canada’s immigration law.

A Canadian immigration officer will decide if you can enter Canada when you:

  • apply for a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or

  • when you arrive at a port of entry.

There are different reasons we may not let you into Canada, such as security, criminal or medical reasons.

If you’re inadmissible to Canada

Normally, if you’re inadmissible to Canada, you won’t be allowed to enter the country. If you have a valid reason to travel to Canada that is justified in the circumstances, you may be issued a temporary resident permit.

If you’ve committed or been convicted of a crime, you have a few options to overcome your criminal inadmissibility.

Reasons you may be inadmissible to Canada

If you’re found inadmissible, you’ll be denied a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), refused entry to, or removed from Canada.

You could be found inadmissible for a number of reasons, such as:

  • security reasons, including

    • espionage

    • subversion (attempts to overthrow a government, etc.)

    • violence or terrorism

    • membership in an organization involved in any of these

  • human or international rights violations, including

    • war crimes

    • crimes against humanity

    • being a senior official in a government engaged in gross human rights violations or subject to international sanctions

  • committing a crime, including driving while under the influence of drugs or alcoholFootnote1

  • organized crime, including membership in an organization that takes part in organized criminal activity, people smuggling or money laundering

  • medical reasons – this includes medical conditions that:

  • financial reasons – if you’re unable or unwilling to support yourself and your family members

  • misrepresentation, which includes providing false information or withholding information directly related to decisions made under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)

  • failure to comply with any provision of IRPAFootnote2 or

  • having an inadmissible family member.

What to do if you’re inadmissible

If you have a valid reason to travel to Canada

If you’re otherwise inadmissible but have a reason to travel to Canada that is justified in the circumstances, you may be issued a temporary resident permit.

To be eligible for a temporary resident permit, your need to enter or stay in Canada must outweigh the health or safety risks to Canadian society, as determined by an immigration or a border services officer. Even if the reason you’re inadmissible seems minor, you must demonstrate that your visit is justified.

There is no guarantee that you’ll be issued a temporary resident permit.

How to apply for a temporary resident permit

If you’re eTA-required

If you’re a citizen of an eTA-required country, your application for an eTA was refused, you may be issued a temporary resident permit. This depends on the nature and circumstances of the inadmissibility and the why you need to travel to Canada.

The visa office responsible for your country or region may have its own application form for temporary resident permits. You should check the visa office to find out exactly how to apply.

If you’re visa-required

You must apply for a visitor visa and include supporting documents to explain why you’re inadmissible and why it may be justified for you to enter Canada.

You may have to attend an interview so that an officer can assess your application.

How long you can stay in Canada

A temporary resident permit is usually issued for the length of your visit to Canada—for example, 1 week to attend a conference. You must leave Canada by the expiry date of the permit, or get a new permit before your current one expires.

This permit may be cancelled by an officer at any time.

The permit is no longer valid once you leave Canada, unless you have specifically been authorized to leave and re-enter.

Fees

You must pay a fee (CAN$200) to cover the cost of processing your application for a temporary resident permit. The fee will not be refunded if the permit is refused.

Pay your fees online (opens in a new tab)

If you’ve committed or been convicted of a crime

You have a few options to overcome your criminal inadmissibility.

Penalties for driving while impaired

If you drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs, including cannabis, you may be inadmissible for serious criminality. This means you won’t be able to enter or stay in Canada unless we issue you a temporary resident permit.

Overcome criminal convictions

What you can do

Depending on the crime, how long ago it was and how you have behaved since, you may still be allowed to come to Canada, if you:

Rehabilitation

Deemed rehabilitation

Deemed rehabilitation, under Canada’s immigration law, means that enough time has passed since you were convicted that your crime may no longer bar you from entering Canada.

You may be deemed rehabilitated depending on:

  • the crime,

  • if  enough time has passed since you finished serving the sentence for the crime and

  • if you have committed more than one crime.

In all cases, you may only be deemed rehabilitated if the crime committed outside Canada has a maximum prison term of less than 10 years if committed in Canada.

Individual rehabilitation

Rehabilitation means that you are not likely to commit new crimes.

You can apply for individual rehabilitation to enter Canada. The Minister, or their delegate, may decide to grant it or not. To apply, you must:

  • show that you meet the criteria,

  • have been rehabilitated and

  • be highly unlikely to take part in further crimes.

Also, at least five years must have passed since:

  • the end of your criminal sentence (this includes probation) and

  • the day you committed the act that made you inadmissible.

If you are applying for criminal rehabilitation along with your temporary resident (visitor visa, study permit or work permit) application, you can submit everything together and apply at the nearest Visa Application Centre.

If you are a foreign national who needs an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), you have to submit a separate application for criminal rehabilitation before you apply for your eTA. You can do so by following the procedures below. Once you have received confirmation of your rehabilitation, you may apply for an eTA. If you apply for your eTA before you receive your rehabilitation, your application will be assessed based on the information currently available and may result in the refusal of your application.

If you are submitting a separate application for criminal rehabilitation you must complete the application and submit it directly to the visa office responsible for your region by mail or courier only. You must also pay a processing fee.

Note: These applications can take over a year to process. Make sure you plan far enough in advance of your travel to Canada.

Record suspension or discharge

If you have been convicted in Canada and want to apply for a record suspension (formerly known as a pardon), check with the Parole Board of Canada. If you get a Canadian record suspension, you will no longer be inadmissible.

If you received a record suspension or a discharge for your conviction in another country, check with the visa office that serves the country or region where you live. It will tell you if the pardon is valid in Canada.

This will help make sure that when you arrive in Canada, a border services officer has enough information to decide if you can enter Canada. The officer will still check to make sure you are not inadmissible for other reasons.

Temporary resident permit

temporary resident permit lets you enter or stay in Canada if:

  • it has been less than five years since the end of your sentence or

  • you have valid reasons to be in Canada.

If you have a valid reason to travel to Canada, but you are inadmissible, we may issue you a temporary resident permit. An immigration or border services officer will decide if your need to enter or stay in Canada outweighs the health or safety risks to Canadian society.

Even if the reason you are inadmissible seems minor, you must show that your visit is valid.