Criminal Convictions and Crossing Canada’s Border


I get a lot of questions about crossing the Canadian border after having been convicted of a criminal offence. Such offences range from drunk driving, drug possession to assault and worse.

No matter how minor (or major) your criminal conviction, chances are you won’t be allowed across the border without first making application for a temporary resident permit. Don’t try to lie at the border and claim you do not have a conviction — CIC officers do have access to criminal databases and if you are discovered you will be banned from Canada for at least 2 years, possibly longer.

In making an application for a temporary resident permit, the overriding question in a CIC officer’s mind is this: Do you pose a threat to Canada or her citizens? Although CIC has policy guidance, this is somewhat subjective. It is probably best to consult a lawyer to devise a strategy that maximizes your chance of success.

About the author

Gianpaolo Panusa Gianpaolo Panusa is a Canadian immigration lawyer, writer, and founder of the PanCanadian Immigration Law Group based in Vancouver, Canada. Google+ Profile