Can I Go to Canada with an Assault Charge?

Canadian Immigration Entry Graphic

Canada maintains stringent border control measures, especially for individuals with past convictions. If you have a domestic violence charge or assault charge on your record and are considering traveling to Canada, it’s crucial to understand the potential implications. In this article, we will delve into the crimes that may render someone inadmissible to Canada and explore the options for individuals seeking legal entry into the country. But before we explore these avenues, let’s first examine how Canadian laws treat an assault charge.

Assault Classification under Canadian Law

To determine the potential impact of an assault charge on your admissibility to Canada, it’s essential first to understand how Canada categorizes crimes.

In Canadian law, offenses fall into different classifications: Summary offenses are considered less serious, while Indictable offenses are deemed the most severe. Hybrid offenses are those that can be treated as either Summary or Indictable, depending on the circumstances. Assault falls under the category of a Hybrid offense, which can result in either a Simple or Serious Assault charge.

While a Simple Assault Charge may raise concerns during your entry application process, it’s the Serious Assault Charges that can significantly impact the outcome of your application. We will delve deeper into this topic shortly. Now that we have an overview of how Canadian laws handle assault charges, let’s explore four scenarios.

Scenario 1: Entering Canada Within Five Years of an Assault Conviction

If you have been convicted of an Assault charge within the past five years, your options for entering Canada are limited. The only viable choice in this situation is to apply for a Temporary Residence Permit (TRP) or an Urgent Temporary Residence Permit.

A TRP allows you to enter Canada for a specific purpose and a defined period, as determined by the border agent reviewing your case. It is crucial to comply with the permit’s expiry date and leave the country before it expires. Failure to do so is considered a serious offense.

To apply for a TRP, you must submit your application through a Canadian consulate. The processing time can range greatly but is generally under eight months. Alternatively, Urgent TRPs can be requested directly at a Canadian port of entry and processed immediately. However, it’s important to note that Urgent TRPs have a higher refusal rate, meaning your request may be denied, leaving you stuck at the border.

Scenario 2: Entry into Canada after Five Years of an Assault Conviction

If it has been five years since you completed your sentence for an Assault conviction and have not committed any further crimes, you may be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation (CR).

To qualify for CR, you must provide validated legal documents confirming the successful completion of your sentence. Additionally, strong evidence demonstrating your efforts to improve your life and commitment to avoiding future criminal behavior is required.

The main advantage of criminal rehabilitation is that you will be granted permanent access to travel freely to and within Canada if your application is approved. However, it is important to note that CR’s processing time is longer than a Temporary Residence Permit (TRP). Therefore, opting for a TRP is recommended if you require immediate entry to Canada. Often, individuals will apply for a TRP and CR simultaneously. This allows them to gain quicker entry with a TRP while starting the CR process for a permanent solution.

Scenario 3: Entry into Canada after Ten Years of an Assault Conviction

Our third scenario involves cases where sentences were successfully completed over ten years ago, and no new convictions have occurred. In such situations, you have three options: applying for a Temporary Residence Permit (TRP), Criminal Rehabilitation (CR), or Deemed Rehabilitation. Deemed Rehabilitation is similar to Criminal Rehabilitation but differs in the application process. While CR requires the advance submission, Deemed Rehabilitation can be requested at the border. To apply for any of these options, you must provide valid documentation certifying the completion of your sentence.

Like Criminal Rehabilitation, if your request for Deemend Rehabilitation is approved, you will be granted the right to travel freely to and within Canada without special permits.

In summary of the first three scenarios:

  • Individuals still serving their sentence should consider applying for a Temporary Residence Permit if they intend to enter Canada
  • If it has been five years since the sentence was fully completed, and no further crimes have been committed, Criminal Rehabilitation offers a permanent solution for unrestricted travel
  • If ten years have passed since the sentence’s completion without additional convictions, Deemed Rehabilitation is ideal due to its quick processing time and permanent validity.

Scenario 4: Inadmissibility for Life

While we have discussed various options for entering Canada with a Domestic Violence or Assault Charge, there is one final scenario to address: Permanent Inadmissibility. Suppose the crime you were convicted of carries a punishment of ten or more years in prison, involves a deadly weapon, or caused physical harm to another person. In that case, you will be permanently ineligible for deemed rehabilitation, even after ten years. In such cases, entry to Canada will be challenging. Seeking legal advice to identify possible avenues is best.

How Dogen Law Can Help

Dogen Law has extensive experience guiding clients with past convictions through the complex legal pathways that enable them to enter and stay in Canada. Whether you are planning a visit or seeking to immigrate, our dedicated team is here to provide assistance and make your application process smoother. Contact Dogen Law for personalized advice and support.

Further Reading

Gain deeper insights into criminal rehabilitation, temporary resident permits, and overcoming criminal inadmissibility to Canada by reading our articles below:

Border Checks, Criminal Inadmissibility, and Expunged Records

Criminal Rehabilitation & Temporary Resident Permits

DUI Resources

Felony Resources