A Canadian immigration officer will decide if you can enter Canada when you apply for a visa, an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), or when you arrive at a port of entry.
Under Canada’s immigration law, if you have been charged with any crime outside Canada regardless whether the charge was withdrawn, pardoned or you had a conditional sentence, you may be found inadmissible to Canada. In other words, you may be “criminally inadmissible.”
This includes both minor and serious crimes, such as:
driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and
possession of or trafficking in drugs or controlled substances.
You can find a list of criminal offences in the Criminal Code of Canada and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
If you were convicted of a crime when you were under the age of 18, you may still be able to enter Canada.
Entering Canada with a Criminal Record
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:
convince an immigration officer that you meet the legal terms to be deemed rehabilitated, or
applied for rehabilitation and were approved, or
were granted a record suspension or
have a temporary resident permit.
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:
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.