A few of the most common reasons for rejection at the Canadian border include, threats to national security, past criminal record, posing a health risk to Canadians, insufficient funds to support a visit to Canada, and fraud or misrepresentation.

Threats to National Security

A foreign national may be denied entry into Canada if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the individual is engaged in conduct that is considered to be a subversion of Canada’s national security. This may include credible evidence that suggests the foreign national is involved in espionage, terrorism, or crimes against humanity.

Financial Reasons

A person seeking entry into Canada must satisfy to an Immigration Officer that they have adequate arrangements for their care and support while in Canada. The means of support cannot involve the use of social assistance from the Canadian Government. An individual who fails to show that they will be able or willing to support themselves during their stay in Canada may be denied entry.

Fraud & Misrepresentation

Foreign nationals who make misrepresentations to Canadian Immigration Officials will be rendered inadmissible to enter into Canada. This type of conduct involves misstating facts or withholding pertinent information. The Canadian Government has adopted strict misrepresentation provisions to ensure that applicants provide complete, honest and truthful information when seeking entry into Canada.

Medical Inadmissibility

CIC has a policy to bar entry into Canada to persons with particular health conditions. The grounds for medical inadmissibility include, if the person has a health condition that is likely to be a danger to Canadian public health or safety. Also, if the person has a health condition that might be reasonably expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services. If the Officer believes that a foreign national may be medically inadmissible, the Officer may require the individual to undergo a medical exam.

Past Criminal Record

The most common ground for inadmissibility is the existence of a prior criminal record. An individual who has been convicted of a minor or serious crime is “criminally inadmissible”. In general, people are considered to be inadmissible to enter Canada due to past criminal activity if they were convicted of an offence in Canada or committed a crime or were convicted of an offence outside of Canada that is considered a crime in Canada. In order to determine inadmissibility, foreign convictions and laws must be assessed according to Canadian laws.

Despite the many grounds that immigration officers have for refusing entry into Canada, it is sometimes possible to overcome inadmissibility.

Criminal Rehabilitation

Depending on certain factors you may still be able to enter Canada under the laws of rehabilitation. Under Canadian law, an individual is deemed rehabilitated if enough time has passed since the date of the offence or the completion of the sentence imposed. If you committed or were convicted of an offence outside of Canada, you may be deemed rehabilitated if at least 10 years have passed since you completed the sentence imposed, or since you committed the offence, if the offence is one that would, in Canada, be an indictable offence punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than 10 years. Once the 10 years passes, you are no longer legally barred from entering Canada. In all cases, if the crime was committed outside of Canada and would hold a prison sentence of 10 years or more if committed in Canada, you will not be deemed rehabilitated. Deemed rehabilitation is determined at Canadian ports of entry. This means you are not required to submit an application to be deemed rehabilitated, however it is a good idea to provide supplementary documentation to show you qualify.

Alternatively, you can apply for ‘individual rehabilitation’ if you can prove to an immigration officer that you are not likely to commit new crimes. You may be granted rehabilitation depending on the nature of the crime, if you were involved in multiple offences, and whether enough time has passed since the date you committed the act, and finished serving the sentence for the crime. To approve rehabilitation the decision-maker must be satisfied that it is highly unlikely that the person concerned will become involved in any further criminal activities. The applicant must present a compelling case that they are remorseful for their past conduct, and that they lead a stable life and will be unlikely to be involved in any further criminal activity. At a minimum, at least 5 years must pass before an individual meets the eligibility criteria to apply for criminal rehabilitation. Also, be advised that individual rehabilitation applications can take over a year to process.

Criminal Rehabilitation can only be pursued for convictions outside of Canada. If an individual was convicted of an offense while in Canada, depending on the circumstances, the individual may seek a Record Suspension from the Parole Board of Canada. Once you receive a Canadian Record Suspension you are no longer inadmissible for entry into Canada.

Temporary Resident Permits (TRP)

Another option for a person who does not meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is to seek a temporary resident permit. However, CIC has indicated that there must be a compelling reason for an officer to issue a temporary resident permit to someone who would be otherwise inadmissible.

Persons who are eligible for temporary resident permits include any person who is:

  • inadmissible and seeking entry into Canada if the officer is of the opinion that it is justified under the circumstances;
  • in Canada and is inadmissible, or does not otherwise meet the requirements of the IRPA;
  • not eligible for restoration of status.

In circumstances where an individual has not met the application requirements for criminal rehabilitation, but the individual has a pressing need to enter Canada, a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) may be granted. Immigration authorities will first assess whether the individual’s need to stay in Canada outweighs the security and health risks posed to Canadians. If a TRP is granted to an individual who is otherwise criminally inadmissible, the visa will only be granted for the time needed to travel to Canada. For example, a CEO who has been charged in another country for embezzlement is criminally inadmissible to enter Canada. If the CEO does not satisfy the rehabilitation criteria, Canadian immigration authorities may still issue a TRP enabling the CEO to enter Canada on a one-time entry permit for the duration of an important meeting.

As of March 1, 2012, you may be able to get a TRP for one visit without having to pay the $200 CDN processing fee if you have served no jail time, and have committed no other acts that would prevent you from entering Canada.

Additionally, a TRP may be granted to individuals who would otherwise be inadmissible due to criminal or health issues to enter Canada temporarily if compelling reasons exist. To determine whether favourable consideration is warranted to overcome admissibility on health grounds, officers will consider the following factors:

  • Whether the individual is, or is likely to be a danger to the public health and safety of Canadian residents.
  • Whether the individual is likely to cause an excessive burden on health and social services.
  • If a temporary resident permit is issued, how will medical costs be covered?

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