Helpful Links

Canadian border information and services for non-residents visiting, settling in or doing business with Canada:

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website, which provides complete information on admissibility to Canada:

For information on visiting Canada please refer to:

Michigan residents who plan on applying for an enhanced driver’s license through the Michigan Secretary of State are urged to submit their paperwork as early as possible ahead of the race to ensure adequate processing time. For more information, please go to:

Criminal Inadmissibility

If you have committed or been convicted of a criminal offense, you may not be allowed to enter Canada. With few exceptions, people who have a criminal record are criminally inadmissible to Canada unless they have been determined to be rehabilitated after an assessment by a Canadian immigration officer.

Criminal offenses include both minor and serious offenses, such as theft, assault, manslaughter, dangerous driving and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol*. For a complete list of criminal offenses in Canada, consult their list of reasons for inadmissibility.

If you were convicted of a crime when you were under the age of 18, you can probably still enter Canada.

*If you have been convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, you will probably be found criminally inadmissible to Canada. But as of March 1, 2012, you may be able to get a temporary resident permit for one visit without having to pay the processing fee. More information here.

Overcoming Criminal Inadmissibility

Depending on the nature of the offense, the time elapsed and your behavior since it was committed or since you were sentenced, you may no longer be considered inadmissible to Canada. You may be permitted to come to Canada if:

  • you are able to satisfy a border service officer that you meet the legal requirement to be deemed rehabilitated; or
  • you have applied for rehabilitation and your application has been approved; or
  • you have obtained a pardon; or
  • you have obtained a temporary resident permit.

Deemed Rehabilitation

You may be deemed rehabilitated if you meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Depending on the nature of your offense, at least five years and as many as 10 years must have passed since you completed the sentence imposed for your crime. Deemed rehabilitation also depends on whether you have committed one or more offenses. In all cases, you may only be deemed rehabilitated if the offense committed would be punishable in Canada by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than 10 years.

You are not required to submit an application to be deemed rehabilitated. However, before arriving at a port of entry, we strongly advise you to contact a Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate outside Canada to see if you qualify.

Individual Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation means that you lead a stable life and that you are unlikely to be involved in any further criminal activity.

If you want to come to Canada but you have committed or been convicted of a crime and you are not eligible for deemed rehabilitation, you must apply for rehabilitation to enter Canada. To apply for individual rehabilitation, at least five years must have passed since you completed all of your criminal sentences. You must submit an application to the Canadian visa office in your area, and pay a processing fee.

Please note: Applications for rehabilitation can take over a year to process, so make sure you plan for your visit far enough in advance.

Pardon or Discharge

If you have been convicted in Canada and wish to apply for a pardon, see the National Parole Board website. If you received a Canadian pardon for your conviction, you may be allowed to enter Canada.

If you received a pardon or a discharge for your conviction in a country other than Canada, check with the CIC office closest to you for more information.

Temporary Resident Permit

If less than five years have passed since the end of the criminal sentence, or if justified by compelling circumstances, foreign nationals who are inadmissible to Canada, including people who have a criminal conviction, may be issued temporary resident permits allowing them to enter or remain in Canada.