People who have been criminally convicted for minor offences may now enter Canada for rehabilitation provided that five years have passed since the completion of their sentence. For all else, they may apply for a Temporary Residence Permit to Canada or TRP.
What Is a Temporary Residence Permit To Canada?
Foreign nationals cannot legally enter Canada because of reasons related to security or health may apply for a Temporary Residence Permit or TRP. However, A TRP should be differentiated from a Temporary Residence Visa to Canada or TRV which is issued to other individuals who come from countries where a visa is required for coming to Canada without regard for their personal history. Individuals who have had minor, non-rehabilitated convictions in any of these countries should obtain both a TRV and a TRP, while those who come from visa-exempt nations only need a TRP to enter Canada.
A person may be refused entry to Canada if he had committed a felony or misdemeanor offence, otherwise known in Canada as indictable or summary offence, respectively. This rule seems to be relatively unknown, however, as a large volume of tourists, especially those coming from visa-exempt nations, have been refused entry at the border due to of misdemeanor charges such as DUI. In fact, there have been many cases where busloads of tourists had no recourse but to return to where they came from simply because they didn’t know they needed a TRP. This did not only cause inconvenience, but also significant losses to providers of Canadian tourist services.
Temporary residence permit to Canada are for those nationals of visa-exempt countries
Changes in the Temporary Residence Permit to Canada Rule
Starting March 1, 2012, all foreigners who have been sentenced for a single misdemeanor charge can obtain a TRP at any Canadian port of entry without paying the usual fee of $200. Aside from DUI’s, criminal mischief and shoplifting under a certain level count as misdemeanor convictions that may be disregarded when a person applies for a TRP.
This new rule does not apply to visa office applicants, however, and is strictly limited to those applying at a Canadian port of entry. Neither does it apply to all cases as the CBSA or Canadian Border Services Agency officers still have the discretion whether not the TRP applicant must be allowed entry based on two criteria:
a. The conviction does not include imprisonment in the sentence; and
b. The applicant has not been convicted of any other crime, or has not committed other acts that constitute a ground for inadmissibility.
When these two criteria are satisfied, the CBSA officer will then issue a TRP and waive fees. However, these new TRP rules may only be applied to applicants applying at the border for the first time. This means foreign nationals who have been issued TRP’s and exempted from fees at the border may no longer apply there in the future, and will have to go through the standard procedures at the visa office for subsequent applications.
With this change in rules, travellers will be spared from the inconveniences and costs of having to be turned away at the border for not having the right documents, and both travellers and CBSA officers can enjoy the simplification of the process. People who are entering Canada by land and their travel agents stand to benefit from the new directive, especially during the hunting and fishing season, as awareness of Canadian protocol is raised.