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  • What makes you inadmissible to Canada?

What is Inadmissibility?

Your application may be rejected if you (or one of your accompanying family members) are found to be inadmissible to Canada. The main reasons this could happen are:


Convictions outside Canada
As a foreign national, you may be inadmissible for a conviction in another country (or even if you committed a crime but were never convicted), IF it would be an indictable offence in Canada. This is still a risk even if your country of origin does not treat the act as a crime.

Foreign nationals and permanent residents can be inadmissible for offences committed or conviction that would be punishable by at least 10 years if committed in Canada.

Convictions in Canada
As a foreign national, if you are convicted of any indictable offence or two summary offences you will be criminally inadmissible. In Canada, many offences can be prosecuted as summary or indictable offences. Even though the prosecutor may choose to proceed as a summary matter, it is still an indictable offence.

If the offence could lead to at least 10 years in prison or you are sentenced to at least 6 months in prison, you may be inadmissible for serious criminality. Inadmissibility is likely even if you do not actually get sentenced to prison; all that matters is the conviction could have been for 10 years or more.

It is important to consult an immigration lawyer if you have any concerns about your criminal record or as soon as possible when you have been charged in Canada, whether it is a DUI, a drug-related offence or an assault.


Inadmissibility can also result from a direct or indirect misrepresentation or withholding of facts that could cause immigration officials to make an error. Both the sponsor and the person being sponsored can be found inadmissible.

If you are found inadmissible for a misrepresentation, you will not be able to apply for permanent residence for 5 years. This makes it very important to consult with a lawyer if there is any possibility you have misrepresented facts at any stage of your application or if you are in doubt as to whether to disclose certain pieces of information.

Other reasons for inadmissibility include excessive demand due to a medical condition, being a danger to public health and safety and engaging in terrorism or war crimes.

What happens if I am found to be inadmissible?

A Border Services officer may write a section 44 report to be reviewed by the Minister. If you are not a permanent resident the report may have a removal order attached. The Minister decides whether the matter will be referred to the Immigration Division for an admissibility hearing. You have the chance to make submissions at this hearing and this is something we can assist you with.

Possible outcomes of admissibility hearing

    • You are allowed to enter, subject to conditions or further examination.
    • You are granted temporary or permanent resident status.
    • You are issued a removal order. There are 3 different kinds:

1. Departure
2. Exclusion Order – You can only return before a year has passed since you were removed if you successfully apply for Authorization. If you are removed due to a misrepresentation, you must get Authorization to Return to Canada at any point in the 5 years following.
3. Deportation Order – Once you have been removed, you must successfully apply for an Authorization to Return to Canada.

What are my options?

1. Temporary Resident Permit
You can apply to stay in Canada through a temporary resident permit.

2. Rehabilitation
You may be eligible to apply for rehabilitation if you are not convicted of an offence in the five years since you committed a crime or served a sentence for a conviction outside Canada.

You will be deemed to be rehabilitated if 10 years have passed since you committed or were convicted of an offence that would be indictable in Canada AND punishable by less than 10 years. Deemed rehabilitation also applies if 5 years have passed since you served a sentence for two or more offences that would be summary convictions in Canada. There are additional requirements, most importantly, that you have not been convicted of another offence.

3. Appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division
This option is not available to those who have been convicted of an offence in Canada and sentenced to imprisonment for at least 6 months. There is also no right of appeal for those who committed or were convicted of crimes outside Canada that would be punishable by at least 10 years.

The Appeal Division has the power to stay removal orders on the basis of humanitarian and compassionate factors such as establishment in Canada and hardship that would result due to country of origin conditions.

4. Judicial Review in Federal Court
You can apply to the Federal Court for judicial review after you have been found to be inadmissible.