Temporary Resident Permits Canada: Submitting an Application

Navigating entry into Canada as a US citizen with a criminal record can prove challenging, given the stringent criteria set by the Canadian authorities. Such circumstances might lead to inadmissibility, prompting the need for supplementary measures to enhance your prospects of crossing the border.

Within this context, rehabilitation programs and permits emerge as viable avenues to facilitate your entry into the country. Notably, Temporary Resident Permits and Criminal Rehabilitation stand out as two prominent pathways which help individuals with criminal records overcome their inadmissibility to Canada.

At Dogen Law, we stand poised to guide you through the intricate legal intricacies, ensuring your journey towards Canadian entry remains well-directed and successful.

What is a Canadian Temporary Resident Permit?

A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) for Canada is an authorization attainable through application, granting an individual entry into the country for a predetermined amount of time. This permit’s validity typically last for the duration of your intended visit to Canada. For instance, if you plan to attend a one-week conference, your TRP will span precisely that duration.

You may apply for a Temporary Resident Permit if you have a previous misdemeanor, felony, or crime outside of Canada that classifies you as inadmissible to the country. Typical offenses include the following:

  • DUI and other driving offenses

  • Battery or Assault

  • Domestic Violence

  • Drug Possession

  • Drug Trafficking

  • Weapons Violation

  • Probation Violation

  • Theft

It’s imperative to recognize that, even if you possess valid motives for your visit, such as a vacation or work-related trip, your need must eclipse potential health or safety risks to the broader Canadian populace.

Evaluating Your Eligibility for a Temporary Resident Permit

Suppose your needs to enter Canada are deemed acceptable. In that case, you can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit if you fall into one of the two categories:

  1. No charges: You committed a crime outside of Canada and were not charged but this criminal activity on your record is leading to inadmissibility to Canada.

  2. Served Sentence: You committed a crime outside of Canada, were convicted, and served your sentence.

A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is a great option when the time since the conclusion of your sentence is less than five years. We’ll dive more into this later when we discuss TRPs vs Criminal Rehabilitation.

Applying for a Canadian Temporary Resident Permit

Applying for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) can be an overwhelming process. Dogen Law is here to provide guidance through every detail, ensuring your TRP application is well-positioned for a favorable outcome.

Gathering Documentation for Your TRP Application

Preparing accurate documents is vital when seeking entry to Canada with a criminal record. The required documents usually include valid identification, travel documents, and additional paperwork that border authorities evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

Dogen Law provides comprehensive guidance on the specific documents you need, offering assistance to navigate potential border-related challenges smoothly.

Preparing for Border Interactions

Canadian border officials will likely inquire about your criminal record during your entry process. Maintaining transparency and providing accurate details are of utmost importance. Ready yourself for potential inquiries by gaining insight into how to answer questions about your past criminal convictions.

With the assistance of Dogen Law, you can be thoroughly prepared to manage these interactions, increasing the likelihood of a successful TRP application and entry to Canada.

How Long Can I Stay In Canada With A Temporary Resident Permit?

When granted a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) in Canada, your authorized stay can range from one day to a span of three years. Generally, the TRP duration aligns with the specific requirements of your intended visit. Importantly, a TRP can cater to either a single visit or multiple visits, contingent on your individual circumstances.

For those issued a single-entry TRP, it’s essential to note that the permit loses its validity upon exiting Canada. In contrast, a multiple-entry TRP remains in effect until the expiration date indicated on the permit or until an authorized entity revokes it.

Temporary Resident Permits vs. Criminal Rehabilitation: Navigating Your Options

Temporary Resident Permits (TRPs) and Criminal Rehabilitation offer distinct routes for individuals with criminal records aiming to enter Canada. While both serve as viable avenues, they differ in their scope and implications.

Temporary Resident Permits: Limited Entry Duration

A Temporary Resident Permit allows individuals with a criminal record to enter Canada for a limited period. Criminal Rehabilitation, on the other hand, is a permanent solution that removes the inadmissibility of individuals with a criminal record, allowing them to enter and stay in Canada indefinitely.

Either option is suitable for helping a criminal offender enter Canada if needed, and both require you to fill out application forms.

Choosing the Appropriate Path: TRPs and Criminal Rehabilitation

A Temporary Resident Permit is particularly suited for those who don’t meet the eligibility criteria for Criminal Rehabilitation or other entry alternatives. For instance, if the duration since your sentence’s completion is less than five years, a TRP emerges as the advisable choice.

Criminal Rehabilitation has more stringent eligibility requirements. For example, it is at least five years after the completion of your sentence and providing evidence of good conduct during that time.

Urgency and Frequency: Expediency and Long-Term Considerations

If you need to enter Canada urgently, applying for a TRP is typically quicker than Criminal Rehabilitation. Notably, TRP applications can even be submitted at the Canadian border during emergencies.

For those envisioning multiple visits to Canada, individuals may want to consider going the Criminal Rehabilitation route. A strategic approach involves simultaneous applications for both TRP and Criminal Rehabilitation. This dual approach permits you to utilize the TRP for immediate travel while awaiting the verdict on your Criminal Rehabilitation application.

At Dogen Law, our guidance ensures your choice between TRPs and Criminal Rehabilitation aligns seamlessly with your immediate needs and long-term aspirations for entering Canada.

Temporary Resident Permits vs. Deemed Rehabilitation: Weighing Your Prospects

Attaining the status of “deemed rehabilitated” hinges on the nature of a prior offense. To qualify, the conviction must involve a non-serious crime, and a span of over ten years must have elapsed. Instances like speeding, careless driving, or failing to wear a seatbelt are examples of non-serious offenses.

In this scenario, a Temporary Resident Permit application becomes unnecessary. You possess the freedom to enter and exit Canada without constraint. Nevertheless, for more serious crimes, such as a felony, the path to deemed rehabilitation isn’t feasible. Instead, opting for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation (CR) application becomes necessary.

Navigating Serious Convictions

A severe felony can include any of the following:

  • Theft

  • DUI (including DWI, DWAI, and more)

  • Assault

  • Domestic Violence

  • Drug Possession

  • Drug Trafficking

  • Weapons Violation

  • Probation Violation

If you are unsure whether you should apply for a TRP or have already been rehabilitated through the passage of time, you have the option to get assessed at a visa office or contact our team at Dogen Law for guidance. It’s important to note that the U.S. visa office functions differently than its Canadian counterpart. For optimal results:

  • Seek assessment from the relevant Canadian embassy, high commission, or consulate.

  • Complete the Criminal Rehabilitation form, marking “for information only.”

Lastly, if you live on American soil, you can travel to a Canadian Port of Entry and ask to be assessed. If you choose this route, be sure to bring all documents that pertain to your criminal history and support that you have been rehabilitated. 

Can I apply for a Temporary Resident Permit and Criminal Rehabilitation at the same time?

Yes! You can apply for both a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) and Criminal Rehabilitation at the same time. This strategic approach enables you to address immediate entry needs with a TRP while concurrently pursuing a more permanent solution through Criminal Rehabilitation.

By applying for both options concurrently, you can efficiently manage your entry into Canada using the TRP while awaiting the outcome of your Criminal Rehabilitation application. This dual-track strategy offers flexibility and a comprehensive path to overcoming inadmissibility and realizing your goal of entering Canada.

For guidance and a seamless application process, reach out to our team at Dogen Law today.

Consulate vs. Border TRP: Making Informed Choices

As mentioned above, you can apply for your Temporary Resident Permit at the Canadian border. Applying at the border is usually only done in emergencies. The Canadian government recommends applying and getting approved ahead of time.

The Decisive Factor: Border TRP Considerations

Opting for a Border TRP comes with a significant consideration—entrance determinations are rendered on the spot. Even if you have previously received approval for a Study or Work Visa, your criminal history could lead to denial at the border.

In contrast, pursuing a consulate-based TRP application generally yields higher success rates. This route assures pre-approval before approaching any land border crossing or embarking on air travel.

An Added Dimension: Criminal Rehabilitation Permit

In scenarios where a minimum of five years has transpired since your sentence for a criminal conviction (e.g., DUI), the option of a Criminal Rehabilitation Permit might be worth considering alongside your TRP application.

It’s noteworthy that those eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation may experience an elevated likelihood of TRP approval at a border entry point, particularly when compared to cases where Criminal Rehabilitation eligibility does not apply.

Lastly, please note that each time you visit Canada can be a unique experience. For example, even if you could enter the country before with a criminal record, such as DUI, it does not guarantee you re-entry.

How Much Does A Temporary Resident Permit Application Cost?

The fee to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit is $200.00 CAD. It’s important to note that this fee is non-refundable, irrespective of whether your permit application is approved or declined. There is always the chance that this fee could change, particularly if you decide to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation. If the fee increases, you will be notified.

Temporary Resident Permit Processing Time

Typically, the application processing time for a Temporary Resident Permit takes three to six months (3-6). Given this timeframe, the government suggests applying well before your intended visit to the country.

What Crimes Require A Temporary Resident Permit?

Many crimes fall under misdemeanors and felonies in Canada, requiring you to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit. These crimes can include the following: 

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Or Alcohol

DUIs are one of the most common reasons you may be inadmissible to Canada. You will generally be turned away at the border if you were driving under the influence (DUI), operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OMVI), or even convicted of reckless driving. 

Drug Offenses

Drug offenses can cover a lot of variables. Were you convicted of selling or distribution? Did you purchase drugs, or were you caught in possession of drugs? Or maybe you were convicted while influenced by drugs. 

Although, in most cases, any of the above is viewed as a serious crime, it may depend on the type of drugs, how many drugs were in your possession, and even what you did with them.


Fraud is an umbrella term that also includes theft. If the theft falls below $5,000, it is typically considered a non-serious crime. However, committing fraud over $5,000 is a serious crime, and a TRP is required. 

A crime is considered fraud when you intend to take something away from a group or individual who claims ownership of that property. 


Both verbal and physical assault can be deemed criminal offenses. It can vary if it is against an individual or a group, with or without a weapon. The severity doesn’t matter; you must apply for a TRP in Canada. 

How Dogen Law Can Help

If you have a criminal record, you might be denied entry at the Canadian border, but there are still ways to gain admission. Knowing the correct steps for your TRP or Criminal Rehabilitation application is essential to increase the chances of success.

At Dogen Law, we have extensive experience in Canadian and American law. Our team will review your situation, assist with your case, gather all the necessary documents, and guide you through the application process. Don’t risk getting turned away at the border. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer.

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