Area of Law: Criminal Records
Answer # 2128
How do criminal records affect immigration?Region: Ontario Answer # 2128
A criminal record will negatively affect your ability to immigrate to, or remain in Canada. Criminal records will have different effects depending on whether the individual is a visitor, a refugee, or a permanent resident.
It is illegal to visit Canada if you have a criminal record, unless you have proper immigration status, such as being a Canadian citizen, or you have acquired special permission from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). If you have a Canadian criminal record, it is best to have it removed before attempting to enter Canada again. If you have a criminal record from a country other than Canada, you will need to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit or submit an application for Approval of Criminal Rehabilitation.
People who were granted Visas or Work Authorizations before they were charged with a criminal offence, may have their status removed and be deported from Canada.
Refugees with a criminal record may have their status removed and may be deported from Canada. If you have applied for permanent resident status, your application can be denied. If your immigration application is part of a ‘family’ application, the discovery of your record may put every family member’s application on hold, and may result in the entire family being deported.
If you have already received your permanent resident status, a criminal record can result in your status being removed and you being deported. If you have applied for Canadian citizenship, your application can be denied or put on hold. At the very least, the discovery of any kind of criminal record, even where there was no finding of guilt, will result in complications with your immigration application.
If you wish to apply for permanent resident status or Canadian citizenship, it is best to have your criminal record removed before you submit your application.
For more information on immigrating to Canada, refer to our immigration law section.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, refer to our criminal law section.
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