View Full Version : Can Americans with a felony conviction visit Canada?


David
02-21-2002, 06:19 PM
I went to a U.S. federal probation orientation last night and was told that Americans with a felony on their criminal record CANNOT enter Canada without special travel papers which must be requested at least 6 months prior to the intended entry date. Further, there is a (aprox.) $300 (u.s. dollars) application fee. Entering Canada even for a limited time without this paperwork is a crime itself and is punishable by prison there.

Does anyone know anything about these statements? I had never even thought about it but have a number of relatives in Canada that I was planning to visit in the near future..

Thanks!

David

beans_mom
02-21-2002, 06:22 PM
Hi
I'll do some phoning around for you tomorrow. I'll post when I get the info.
Gillian

beans_mom
02-23-2002, 04:04 PM
Hi David
Had some fun looking this up and I sure learned a lot. Here's what I found out.

"Section 19(2)(a.1) of the Immigration Act of Canada states that persons convicted of an offence outside of Canada, that would be an offence under Canadian law, cannot be admitted to Canada. Criminally inadmissable persons can, however, apply for a special permission to enter Canada. This special permission is expressed by a Minister's Permit."

Any person living in the United States who possesses a criminal record and wishes to travel to Canada will need a Ministers Permit. This is valid up to one year. One may also apply for a Rehabilitation. This document is a permanent approval, and allows hassle free border crossing into Canada.
The Canadian Government will look at each application individually. They will consider the following factors:

1) Nature of conviction
2) Date of last conviction
3) Sentencing
4) Reasons for travel

A Ministers Permit may take up to 6 months for processing. A personal interview may be required at the port of entry nearest the applicant's residence.

Rehabilitation allows lifetime access into Canada. This document never needs to be renewed. A Ministers Permit and Rehabilitation does not permit one to work in Canada. These approvals allow visitation for a period up to 6 months at a time.

Interestingly enough, President Bush had to file for these papers as he has a DUI conviction. He can cross the border until 2004 according to his paper work.

Gillian

David
02-23-2002, 04:58 PM
Thanks so much for the info.. I appreciate it and will be using it in the future..

I found that little tid-bit about President Bush VERY interesting! LOL.. Can't pardon himself from that one, ehh?

David

Menally-Ill
08-12-2002, 09:17 AM
Ah David and Gillian;

All very good info!

I am concerned that since Sept 11, we have been fiddling with our Immigration Act extensively. That's supposedly to crack down on terrorists using Canada as a safe haven, or as a jump-off point to the U.S.

Needless to say, in these paranoic times, it would be easy for any "official" to deem anyone with a criminal record as a "potential terrorist". As erroneous as that may be, not many would contest it.

Sad times we live in indeed.

Menolly

Jeni
08-12-2002, 07:49 PM
Wait a minute, Pres Bush got convicted of only one DUI right? I mean, I have been convicted of one myself. Does that mean that I have to have permission to get into Canada? Conviction on one DUI isn't a felony right? I live only live about 30 minutes from the Canadian border, and, even though i haven't been through since my DUI, I plan on going again. I didn't think that having a DUI gave me a criminal record. Am I completely wrong in my thinking?

David
08-12-2002, 08:38 PM
Jeni, see this related thread about that.
http://www.prisontalk.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3331#newpost

Jeni
08-12-2002, 08:42 PM
Wow-I never knew that. Good thing I found out before trying to go through eh? That's amazing to me! I guess with the legal drinking age being 19, they probably have a lot of problems with DUI offenders. Guess I'll wait a few years before I try to make it through.

diamondsutra
06-09-2003, 11:41 AM
ok, so i know this is an old forum thread, but i wanted to post and share my experiences at the canadian border.

a few months ago, my wife and i planned a trip to a music festival in montreal. we bought full access passes to all the events, reserved a hotel room and bought plane tickets going directly to montreal. it would be our first real vacation in about 4 years, and we were quite excited.

then, i started googling the web for canadian border crossing experiences. lo and behold i ran across the warnings that people with criminal records would "likely" be denied at the border if a background check was run. most of the web sites i found that talked about this particular situation mentioned it in the context of a DUI.

i should be so lucky as to only have a DUI conviction on my record! at this point, i began to panic and sank into a deep depression, having just sunk a few grand into a trip that might not even pan out.

i have a 13-year old felony conviction for delivery of a controlled substance (LSD). although i have been trouble-free since that time, it is on my record and has appeared in criminal background checks that i have submitted to as a condition of employment (i'm quite glad to say that it has never prevented me from getting a job, and the 2 times it did happen, the employer was very sympathetic and in agreement that the war on drugs has destroyed more lives than it has saved.) anyway...

the more googling i did, the more depressed i became. almost universally, the information i obtained from the web said that if you have a felony conviction, dont even think about coming without filing the paperwork, cause you won't get in. unfortunately our trip was 7 weeks away and there was no time to file the requests for a temporary resident's permit or a minister's permit.

we decided at that point to come up with a plan B. we changed our tickets to fly into the albany airport, and planned on renting a car and driving across the border. that way, if we were denied entrance, we wouldn't already be in the country (unlike if we had flown in) and would be able to simply turn around and do something fun in vermont or elsewhere. it wouldn't be a music festival in montreal, but it would be better than getting booted out of the country (i had read that if you fly in, and they deny you entry, technically you are in the country illegally and they'll give you a choice to leave voluntarily or face deportation).

as the weeks passed, my anxiety and depression became more acute. i wanted to be excited about our vacation, but could never quite let myself fully believe that it was going to happen. even worse, we had made plans with another couple to sort of vacation with them and hang out, and i found myself in the uncomfortable position of having to explain why i might not be able to join them in montreal.

now i know that if someone is lacking a permit to get across, and has a criminal conviction, and still goes across, technically one would be in the country illegally. personally, i had no moral problems with this issue. my wife and i needed this vacation and i was going to at least try to make it happen. at times when i was very depressed, i considered scrapping the vacation altogether to "cut our losses". my wife, bless her heart, would hear of no such thing. she *knew* we were going to have a great time in montreal.

finally, our day of reckoning was upon us. we flew into albany, rented our car, had our passports and potential explanations ready, and began driving up highway 87 to montreal.

the tension i was feeling at this point was almost intolerable. i was so stressed that i took a valium that i had left over from a dentist's visit, and took it upon leaving the car rental place. after about 45 minutes, it began to do it's work and i calmed down considerably.

the drive from albany to montreal is beautiful, very few towns and lots of gorgeous lakes and mountains visible from the highway. if i had known the scenery was going to be so tranquil, i wouldnt have taken the valium! but the chemicals in my bloodstream, NPR on the radio and beautiful scenery all combined to make a very serene and relaxing trip.

i pulled over in plattsburg, the last town in the states before you hit the border, and let my wife drive. she has a winning smile and is often quite good at "running interference" in all sorts of situations. as we approached the border, i began to feel quite calm and accepting of whatever lay before us. nothing happens by mistake, i kept telling myself.

we had our passports ready to go as we came up to the checkpoint. i had my story ready to go, and was feeling that i would make the most positive impression i could no matter what sort of attitude they gave me. the system can tell me im a criminal lowlife all it wants, but i and my loved ones know better.

we arrived at the border crossing at about 6:30pm on a wednesday evening -- not a high-volume time for tourist traffic. there was only one other car in front of us and they seemed to whisk right through.

finally we pulled up. the canadian border guy was young, with stylish glasses and a funky goatee. a good sign. we got asked the usual questions: where are you from? what is your nationality? where are you going? where will you be staying? how long will you be staying? purpose of your visit? how much money do you have?

he seemed to rush through the questions, not even really waiting for us to finish answering. my wife and i were both very calm and composed (it's also worth mentioning that while i am fairly normal looking, my wife has dreadlocks, which i was just a tad worried about). it took about a minute to get through all the questions, and then we were waved on through! no background check, no "have you ever been convicted of a crime" type questions, he didn't even ask to see our passports! as we drove through, and saw the first speed limit signs in km, i think we were a bit shocked. i hadn't expected it to be that quick or hassle-free. we waited until we got a few miles up the road, then we looked at one another, a big smile came across our faces, we slapped a high-five and started hooting and hollering! we made it! vacation here we come! the universe was on our side that day, and nothing happens by mistake. we went on to have an excellent time at the festival and all that stress i had been feeling, all that depression, it just completely dissolved at the moment we knew we were home free.

as a footnote, it's worth saying a few things. we may have been totally lucky, and our experience might be a rare one. i have talked to a few friends since then though, and one friend who goes to canada frequently to climb has DUI and drug possession convictions on his record. he's never once been background checked in 20 years of going back and forth. what's notable is that he never flies in, and always drives in.

our friends whom we were vacationing with, they opted to fly in. based on their experience, i feel our decision to drive in rather than fly in was a good one. our friends, who have no criminal records, got the third degree at customs in the montreal airport, background checks and all! it's my anecdotal understanding then that flying submits one to much more scrutiny than driving in, so if you are planning a trip to canada and have a record and no permits, then consider driving in. it's my guess that your chances of getting across hassle-free are greatly enhanced. if they deny you entry, hell, just turn around and go spend your dollars elsewhere.

i hope this post can be of some use to those out there in a similar situation. remember, who the SYSTEM says you are is NOT who you ACTUALLY are!

David
06-09-2003, 02:37 PM
diamondsutra,
Thanks a lot for sharing your story! I was wondering about this myself.. I wonder how my friend looked and acted and what the chances are of actually getting flagged down and scrutinized more heavily than others. It would be close to impossible to background check each and every person that came though the border (I would think), but in time computers will do that automatically, I have a feeling.
Again, thanks for sharing your story!
David

finrod
06-15-2003, 08:11 PM
I'm glad you had a great time but too bad you were so stressed out. I'm no expert to be sure but there is a clause in the Canadian immigration regulations relating to "deemed" rehabilitation. I think it means that 10 years after your sentence or parole is over and with no further infractions for the 10 years, then you are deemed to be rehabilitated. I don't even think you need to fill any forms. If they asked you, and told them that it had been 13 years then they might have let your through anyway. Next time it might be worth checking with a Canadian embassy or someone who knows more about this than me.

bella
06-15-2003, 11:13 PM
The rehabilitaion clause is five years unless it has changed recently...either way GO CANUCKS for believing in rehabilitation!

finrod
06-16-2003, 05:43 PM
You are correct regarding the 5 year requirement except that the 5 year is for rehabilitation not deemed rehabilitation. Rehabilitation and deemed rehabilitation are two exceptions to the ban on felons entering the country. Under the 5 year requirement, you have to fill out an application form and then have it accepted by the authorities. However, after 10 years without any convictions since begin released, the government considers the person rehabilitated which is one of the exceptions under the legislation banning felons from entering Canada. Deemed rehabilitation doesn't require a form. All of this is based on my review of the Act and should be confirmed by an expert though.

Gilly
06-16-2003, 08:23 PM
Do you have a link to that Act, Finrod? Or can you tell me the name of it so I can locate it? Thanks.

beans_mom
06-17-2003, 03:16 AM
Hi Gilly:

I found a few places with some information. Looks like the immigration office or an immigration lawyer would be a place to start.

I don't know about Ontario but in Alberta we can phone a list of free lawyers and get a one hour free consultation with up to three lawyers. I will look around and see what I can find for Ontario.


There is a bit here about admissions of people with criminal records:

http://www.allhod.com/tourists.shtml



A bit more info here:

http://www.internationalvisa.us/Ministerspermit.htm


Gillian

Gilly
06-17-2003, 07:49 AM
Thank you so much, Gillian. Those links were very helpful.

Gilly

beans_mom
06-18-2003, 05:54 AM
You are very welcome.
Are you a Gilian as well?

Gilly
06-18-2003, 12:50 PM
I AM a Gillian, Gillian! I knew you'd figure it out. After all, there aren't too many of us! LOL. Are you from England too?

Gillian

beans_mom
06-18-2003, 01:31 PM
LOL I am . Born in Reading and brought up in Birmingham. I've been in Canada since 1974 and most of my family live in St. Catherines, Ontario. Most people call me Gilly Billy LOL.

Gilly
06-18-2003, 07:15 PM
I'm from Birkenhead and most of my relatives are still there. We came to Canada in 1963 but my sister moved back 5 years ago. Me... I LOVE Canada so here I'll stay.

Gilly

Rene
07-20-2003, 11:59 PM
Yet another great topic.


Living in Canada, and seeing that my boyfriend is in prison in the States, this has been something that we have been worrying about for some time.

I am so grateful for the information that has been given within this thread.

I can swear that I saw somewhere online, that the determination of how long a person has to wait before being determined "rehabilitated" or "deemed rehabilitated" was dependant upon how much time they served for their crime. I think I saw something about if they had served 10+ years, they would have to wait 10 years before being being considered elibable for entrance into Canada; and, if you had served less than 10 years, then the wait was less. I could be completely off by this but... if anyone knows of anything else - please post whatever you are aware of because it would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks again :)

Abrose
07-21-2003, 09:04 PM
Fed-X - I have a really good contact at Foreign Affairs in Ottawa, I'll e-mail her and get the straight goods. A lot of things have changed since 911 and I will ask her point blank can you come across or can't you. She is usually really good about getting back to me - so I should have an answer in a day or two.

angie2003
07-22-2003, 12:16 PM
ACTUALLY ABOUT THIS TOPIC...A FRIEND OF MINE IS LIVING IN LOUSIANA AND WANTS TO COME TO CANADA TO VISIT ME...HIS CONVITCTION WAS FOR MARIJUANA POSSESION AND/OR TRAFFICING MARIJUANA.....BUT AS CANADA IS ALMOST READY TOL MAKE IT LEGAL IM WONDERING IF THIS WOULD GO AGAINST HIM FOR COMING TO CANADA....SO MY QUESTION IS ....CAN SOMEONE FIND OUT FOR ME THE LAW ON MARIJUANA POSSESION OR TRAFFICING TOBE ABLE TO COME TO CANADA??

Rene
07-22-2003, 04:10 PM
Hi Angie.

I personally (which has no bearing on how the government will feel about it lol) don't feel that their recent decision to decriminalize a CERTAIN AMOUNT of marijuana within Canada would have any bearing on whether they would or would not allow somone with past history of a criminal offense in that area, from another country, inside this country.

Since the majority of the news on this decriminalization was a couple of months ago, it is hard to find headlines on it anymore.

Here is a link I found that has an article that you might want to read:
http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v03.n776.a12.html

From what I understood at the time of the decriminalization was that the punishment changed depending upon how much of the substance you were caught with. If you were caught with under 15 grams, you might be let go with it, under 30 grams, you might get a fine and above that.. the punishment goes up.

However, it is being reviewed for possible alteration at this time so.. you never know what might happen.

By all means, don't believe all the hype that is being fed through the media about how marijuana is legal in Canada - because that is not true at all. It is very specific in how the law is layed out, and like I said.. even that is now under review.

Hope that link gave a little more clarification for you though on what the law is about. As for whether your friend can come up... I really couldn't tell you. I'd assume (never like to do that) that unfortunately, it wouldn't matter how small the crime was - they may very well see it as a crime is a crime is a crime.. I'm not sure, but I hope you get all the answers your looking for from someone else that might be able to shed some further light. :)

Abrose
07-22-2003, 06:24 PM
Fed-X - I heard back from Foreign Affairs here - the lady I normally deal with is on holidays [lucky gal] anyway a colleague of hers provided me with some interim information. I'm including the current website and the title of it for you and anyone else who is interested. You will see once you start looking that the fee is actually $200 and it will cost you an extra $800 [Canadian] IF the Minister has to see it...that generally doesn't happen unless your are considered someone of "high" interest to them. Here's the site:

Rehabilitation for Persons Who are Inadmissible to Canada Because of Past Criminal Activity

http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/applications/rehabil.html

He's checking further for me. The site is pretty easy to read - no hidden language or legalese. If anyone has further questions let me know. Oh ya...the marijuana thing...unless the person was a major dealer or trafficker - I doubt you'd raise too many eyebrows. Also Rene - if your husband is a Canadian citizen by birth - he'll be deported once he is granted parole...if you need more info on that send me a private message and we'll talk...that's the situation we are in.

mrsdragoness
07-22-2003, 10:25 PM
I don't know WHY I've never posted on this thread..... But I do want to say that in the hundreds (and I do mean HUNDREDS) of times I have crossed the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron/Sarnia, I have NEVER been asked if I was a convicted felon. The standard questions have always been....where are you going, what are you going to do and how long are you going to do it.

Since a most of the time my purpose is BINGO, they hardly ever ask me anything else. Occasionally they will ask me to tell them the name of the Bingo Hall and its location, but that was it - more often since 9/11.

In my entire life time of crossing, I have had my car searched 3 times. One time, as a child, they searched my grandparents car and our luggage thoroughly, but I think it was because we were staying 3 weeks with family members.

mrs. d

Rene
07-23-2003, 12:02 AM
I was going to say the same thing as Msdragon.

Although I don't want to promote crossing any borders illegally or anything like that - I too have crossed MANY borders between Canada and many countries in the world, but mainly the U.S.
I have crossed by car, train, plane, foot ... okay, not by foot.. I was being cute lolol. But seriously, I have crossed over SO many times in my life I cannot remember how many. Like was said already, they ask where your going, where your staying, who you know there, how long your staying for, business or personal reasons, when was the last time you were ever in the country your trying to get into .. things like that.

Honestly though, since 9/11, they have been entering my name from my ID into their little systems more often - not every time, but more often than prior to 9/11, when they never did it at all. Something to think about... :)

FrankMass
08-08-2003, 11:40 PM
another felon's experience at the border


Setting;

Early May, 2003.

Driving cross country from Boston to Whitehorse, YT,
via Calgary, AB and the Sweetgrass, MT/Coutts, AB border
crossing at the top of Interstate 15.

Myself, Frank, 46 year old American man, 12 years "straight"
from drug addiction, and a 13 year old felony conviction from same.

My fiance, Jocelyn, 37 year old Canadian Social Worker.

Jocelyn had worked a couple years in Boston and we were
freinds most of that time, romantically the last few months.

Dispite our new romance, Joce wanted to return home awhile after
having a few bad work related experiences while here. I agreed
she needed to be with family awhile, regroup, etc...
I agreed to help her get home, so we loaded her car Beverly Hillbillies
style and set out for the Yukon, with a breif family visit in Calgary.

Stayed at Niagra Falls the 1st night out, we decided to not cross there,
but take the route south of the great lakes, thru the US and Interstat 90.
Our trip heaven the entire way. Until the Border.

Prior to leaving Boston, Joce once breifly asked about my drug conviction
and the border crossing. Having crossed several times into Canada since
getting straight, I wasn't concerned. "you just say no, if they ask you if
you've ever been arrested." I said. An Ill advised pre 9/11 relic, that approach.

It's 9:00PMish on a wednesday night as we approached the port.
Being at the top of an american interstate, Coutts, AB is a major crossing
point in the region. Being 9 at night, the only ones there are us, and a dozen
Canadian border cops with nothing to do.

We pull up, a honda loaded to the gills, mass plates and a yankee at the
wheel out in cowboy country. They asked about previous arrests and crime.
"Once in High school" I said, "I got caught with a joint". He ran my name.
Now I didn't know they had criminal records available to Canadian authorities,
even our own cops can't get that info without jumping thru some hoops.

Long story short, I got caught lying to the guy, and I believe that was worse
than the origional conviction itself. He booted me out of Canada, she's hysterical,
our fantastic trip destroyed. After heading back down to Shelby, MT, we got a
room, and spent the next day and a half making alternative plans and having many
a tear jerking scene.

So, we decided... I would bring her as far as the Border, at the same time the
southbound bus goes thru, take the bus to Great Falls, MT and grab a commuter
flight to Seattle for a flight east. She would head North to her brothers in Airdrie,
outside Calgary, only a 3 hour drive. Given how upset she was, we figured she
could complete that drive safely. She did...in 5 hours. 2 hours of roadside tears...

On my return I began an enormous amount of research on how to deal with this
situation, as I still want to complete my journey to Whitehorse, and we hope to
marry there. I find this great site here, doing that very research.

Bottom line is this... I've got a flight from Montreal Tuesday, and no pardon yet.
I do however, have a much better understanding, many documents that demonstrate
"rehabilitation" and am going to make a case at the border for "deemed rehabilitaion"
as it's been over 10 years. The case is strong, but they want you to make it thru a
consulate, and that can take over a year. Armed with my new Canadian immigration
education, and old fasioned gut feeling say 50-50 chance.

My flight is in 72 hours.... I'll write an update soon.

Thanks for listening,
Frank

~cheenna~
08-09-2003, 01:15 AM
Have a pleasant trip and Good Luck Frank ... I look forward to reading your "successful" update ...

Retired-5
08-09-2003, 02:41 AM
and my poor kid thought he could go to Canada when he got out........wait till he reads this!

bakes_bigwes
02-15-2004, 10:15 PM
I went to a U.S. federal probation orientation last night and was told that Americans with a felony on their criminal record CANNOT enter Canada without special travel papers which must be requested at least 6 months prior to the intended entry date. Further, there is a (aprox.) $300 (u.s. dollars) application fee. Entering Canada even for a limited time without this paperwork is a crime itself and is punishable by prison there.

Does anyone know anything about these statements? I had never even thought about it but have a number of relatives in Canada that I was planning to visit in the near future..

Thanks!

David
Alright David heres the deal, as long as you are only going to visit family and not for "other activities" you shouldn't have a problem. However if you are still on parole I would not advise crossing international borders no matter what your friends and family say. Getting back into the US may be a little tricky if they run your name. It is a crime for an active felon to leave the country.

djones101
03-16-2006, 08:18 AM
hey everyone..i realize this is an old thread...but
a question.? i recently had to plead guilty to a felony "C" charge of theft in the second degree. i did some reasearch yesterday and in order to enter canada i would need to apply for a temporary resident visa. my question is has anyone applied for this yet? and if so what were the results? approved, denied? time frame it took etc etc. i own a business here in the states and its vital to my business that i travel to canada several times a month...

witchlinblue
03-16-2006, 07:22 PM
Ok one thing Im thinking is why are you applying for the visa ? If you are an American you can visit several times a month. However they can chose to refuse you if they find out you are a felon.

djones101
03-16-2006, 07:29 PM
thats why i'm applying to get the temp resident permit..so i can get pre approved to enter canada. the temp res permit grants you approval for 6 months at a time to enter and leave canada...was wondering if anybody else had gone thru the approval process. thats why i'm tryign to get this..so i DONT get denied at the border


sorry maybe i did'nt make that clear in my post.

witchlinblue
03-16-2006, 10:14 PM
First off Welcome to PTO djones101 !!
Ive started a thread regarding this and some other related questions regarding American felons coming to Canada: http://www.prisontalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=189311
Please feel free to add to it since you are going threw the process and any addditional information would be very useful to a few of our members.
Good luck on your application and keep us posted !!

tgchi13
07-01-2009, 09:01 PM
You are correct regarding the 5 year requirement except that the 5 year is for rehabilitation not deemed rehabilitation. Rehabilitation and deemed rehabilitation are two exceptions to the ban on felons entering the country. Under the 5 year requirement, you have to fill out an application form and then have it accepted by the authorities. However, after 10 years without any convictions since begin released, the government considers the person rehabilitated which is one of the exceptions under the legislation banning felons from entering Canada. Deemed rehabilitation doesn't require a form. All of this is based on my review of the Act and should be confirmed by an expert though.

I found out last Friday from an Immigration Enforcement officer that the rehab period is actually based on the rehab period where the crime was committed, not necessarily on the Canadian take: Ie if a crime committed in Europe would have a seven year no offense term for rehab, then seven years must pass from the completion of the sentence for the person to be considered rehabilitated in the Canadian system.

LOVINGBREED
04-07-2011, 10:34 AM
hello, most likely am posting this in the wron thread, am from california and my soon to be hubby is canadian , raised in california, his doing a few yrs , his in a california prison , he filled some papers , for a treaty transfer back to canada , that was such a long time ago , apprently yesterday he a got a letter from california saying that they reviewed his case and that his aproved from california to go to canda to do this him , i guess now we are waiting for the canda side to see if they will take him back, i would like to know if anyone knows the procedures once he steps into cananda, am approve to visit him here in cali , will i have to go through alot to get apprved to visit him ? am sorry for all this questions am lost , and sad :(:o the last time he was in canada was when he was 10 yrs old , am wondering if the prisons all clean , are the staff mean etc... thanks in advance :o

Clevus
04-08-2011, 02:10 PM
Hi David
Had some fun looking this up and I sure learned a lot. Here's what I found out.

"Section 19(2)(a.1) of the Immigration Act of Canada states that persons convicted of an offence outside of Canada, that would be an offence under Canadian law, cannot be admitted to Canada. Criminally inadmissable persons can, however, apply for a special permission to enter Canada. This special permission is expressed by a Minister's Permit."

Any person living in the United States who possesses a criminal record and wishes to travel to Canada will need a Ministers Permit. This is valid up to one year. One may also apply for a Rehabilitation. This document is a permanent approval, and allows hassle free border crossing into Canada.
The Canadian Government will look at each application individually. They will consider the following factors:

1) Nature of conviction
2) Date of last conviction
3) Sentencing
4) Reasons for travel

A Ministers Permit may take up to 6 months for processing. A personal interview may be required at the port of entry nearest the applicant's residence.

Rehabilitation allows lifetime access into Canada. This document never needs to be renewed. A Ministers Permit and Rehabilitation does not permit one to work in Canada. These approvals allow visitation for a period up to 6 months at a time.

Interestingly enough, President Bush had to file for these papers as he has a DUI conviction. He can cross the border until 2004 according to his paper work.

Gillian

Just wondering if you saw any info on this.

What happens when a Canadian gets charged in the US, is he refused entry to Canada?

Clevus

campbellrscott
09-13-2011, 10:16 AM
I was wondering since marijauna is legal in canada for the most part, would they hold that against me if i try to enter? I was convicted on 2 misd. possesion of marijauna charges and then i was charged with Delivery of controlled substance (marijauna) which is a felony which is BS anyways cause all i did was give away one of the 5$ bags i bought cause i didnt wanna hang around and smoke and some undercovers were watching the property and threw me against the wall and arrested me and gave me 5 yrs suspended, 5 yrs probation with 4 months to serve but served 6 1/2 waiting on the court date. So i guess im really wondering what would be the worse that would happen if i get into canada without completing probation as a felon convicted of nothing other than marijauna charges?

campbellrscott
09-13-2011, 10:20 AM
hello, most likely am posting this in the wron thread, am from california and my soon to be hubby is canadian , raised in california, his doing a few yrs , his in a california prison , he filled some papers , for a treaty transfer back to canada , that was such a long time ago , apprently yesterday he a got a letter from california saying that they reviewed his case and that his aproved from california to go to canda to do this him , i guess now we are waiting for the canda side to see if they will take him back, i would like to know if anyone knows the procedures once he steps into cananda, am approve to visit him here in cali , will i have to go through alot to get apprved to visit him ? am sorry for all this questions am lost , and sad :(:o the last time he was in canada was when he was 10 yrs old , am wondering if the prisons all clean , are the staff mean etc... thanks in advance :o

i recently did 6 1/2 months which isnt much compared to most but i can tell you that it is not an easy place, and is not clean at all, at least in Rhode Island where the jails are BS but i hear they are worse in cali but if he says he's doing good and you feel he is then he must be making it fine, but C.O.s could be either good or bad all depends on how they wanna be, sometimes you luck out and get a decent one and then theres always that prick that gets sick pleasures treating people like dirt cause he/she can get away with it.

Asdf9876
02-05-2012, 01:55 PM
Question for the forum, hopefully you guys can answer this a little better for me.

I am a felon (in the US) from a federal white collar crime ("access device fraud"). Plead guilty in 2007, was sentenced in 2008 to 5 years probation & no prison time. In the summer of 2010 I plead guilty to a state misdemeanor charge of assault on female (One heck of a story there, but I assure you a woman beater I am not). I was sentenced to 18 months probation, no jail/prison time. My federal probation officer has submitted the paperwork for me to be released off of probation early (I am expecting a confirmation or denial in the next month) and the state probation is over next month, so utlimately I will be a free man assuming the federal part goes through.

Now, my question. Assuming everything works out and I'm free in a month or two, I would like to take a vacation to see the northern lights in the Yukon sometime next fall (around September). My biggest concern is getting into Canada as my understanding is they are one of the more strict countries in regards to letting felons in, even for recreation.

What would I need to do? And what are my chances? Or do I have to wait 5 years before I can even think about it? I have read a few websites on the laws and am just not getting a clear picture of the requirements for me.

Any help is certainly appreciated.

TravellingFelon
02-22-2012, 06:23 PM
Question for the forum, hopefully you guys can answer this a little better for me.

I am a felon (in the US) from a federal white collar crime ("access device fraud"). Plead guilty in 2007, was sentenced in 2008 to 5 years probation & no prison time. In the summer of 2010 I plead guilty to a state misdemeanor charge of assault on female (One heck of a story there, but I assure you a woman beater I am not). I was sentenced to 18 months probation, no jail/prison time. My federal probation officer has submitted the paperwork for me to be released off of probation early (I am expecting a confirmation or denial in the next month) and the state probation is over next month, so utlimately I will be a free man assuming the federal part goes through.

Anyhow, my question. Assuming everything works out and I'm free in a month or two, I would like to take a vacation to see the northern lights in the Yukon sometime next fall (around September). My biggest concern is getting into Canada as my understanding is they are one of the more strict countries in regards to letting felons in, even for recreation.

What would I need to do? And what are my chances? Or do I have to wait 5 years before I can even think about it? I have read a few websites on the laws and am just not getting a clear picture of the requirements for me.

Any help is certainly appreciated.

Hi asdf.

Convicted of assault while on probation and your PO is filing for you to get off paper early? Wow. You have a nice PO. He could have just as easily violated you and have you spend the rest of your time on paper behind bars.

Anyway, I think you will find most of what you are asking is spelled out in the above thread if you read through it.

In summary, what is certain is that felons are definitely prohibited from entering Canada, (federal or state) however, peoples experiences seem to show that a criminal background check of your US record is not routine at the boarder. Now, there is a process to be deemed "rehabilitated" by the Canadian government to remove your restrictions. Links to that are in the above posts.

I am a felon and I travel a lot thus have done quite a bit of research on the subject as I don't like to be surprised. Also, both my degrees are in criminal justice/administration of justice which makes me an expert in nothing, but really helps in understanding the laws.

I have found that in general many if not most countries have the same prohibitions as Canada does with regards to allowing foreign ex-cons visit their country, as I believe does the US. Some countries have a criminal history question printed right on the arrival card. I always lie and have never been challenged. I have never traveled to Canada but if I did, I wouldn't worry to much about being denied entry. I would probably make it a land crossing same as the above poster did just in case though.

If you are still on probation or parole, travel will need to be approved by your probation/parole office. They will need to notify/get approval from the jurisdiction you are traveling to whether it's domestic or international.

You mentioned assault on a female...but you did not specify if the assault was sexual in nature or if the female was a minor. I am assuming it might be otherwise you would not have said "female" as normal assaults are not categorized by sex. Keep in mind that federal laws are in the works which will severely restrict the movements of anyone labelled as a sex offender, an important law to watch IMO since SO laws are casting wide nets these days. People are ending up on a SO registries for urinating in public, mooning, as are teens having consensual sex with their 16-17yo girlfriends. Texas has kids as young as 10yo on their registry. Registration is lifetime.

H.R. 3253: International Megan's Law of 2011:

EDIT: I cant post links until 25 posts, but if you go to govtrack(dot)us you can search all current pending federal legislation.

"Summary: Mandates reporting requirements for convicted sex traffickers and other registered sex offenders against minors intending to engage in international travel, providing advance notice of intended travel by high interest registered sex offenders outside the United States to the government of the country of destination, requesting foreign governments to notify the United States when a known child sex offender is seeking to enter the United States, and for other purposes."

There was recently a push to deny all registered sex offenders the ability to get a passport, but it was deemed unconstitutional. Thankfully as of now the State Department does not have the authority to deny passports to Americans based on their registry in the sex offender database and I don't see any legislation in the works to do so.

Asdf9876
02-22-2012, 06:52 PM
Hi asdf.

Convicted of assault while on probation and your PO is filing for you to get off paper early? Wow. You have a nice PO. He could have just as easily violated you and have you spend the rest of your time on paper behind bars.

Anyway, I think you will find most of what you are asking is spelled out in the above thread if you read through it.

In summary, what is certain is that felons are definitely prohibited from entering Canada, (federal or state) however, peoples experiences seem to show that a criminal background check of your US record is not routine at the boarder. Now, there is a process to be deemed "rehabilitated" by the Canadian government to remove your restrictions. Links to that are in the above posts.

I am a felon and I travel a lot thus have done quite a bit of research on the subject as I don't like to be surprised. Also, both my degrees are in criminal justice/administration of justice which makes me an expert in nothing, but really helps in understanding the laws.

I have found that in general many if not most countries have the same prohibitions as Canada does with regards to allowing foreign ex-cons visit their country, as I believe does the US. Some countries have a criminal history question printed right on the arrival card. I always lie and have never been challenged. I have never traveled to Canada but if I did, I wouldn't worry to much about being denied entry. I would probably make it a land crossing same as the above poster did just in case though.

If you are still on probation or parole, travel will need to be approved by your probation/parole office. They will need to notify/get approval from the jurisdiction you are traveling to whether it's domestic or international.

You mentioned assault on a female...but you did not specify if the assault was sexual in nature or if the female was a minor. I am assuming it might be otherwise you would not have said "female" as normal assaults are not categorized by sex. Keep in mind that federal laws are in the works which will severely restrict the movements of anyone labelled as a sex offender, an important law to watch IMO since SO laws are casting wide nets these days. People are ending up on a SO registries for urinating in public, mooning, as are teens having consensual sex with their 16-17yo girlfriends. Texas has kids as young as 10yo on their registry. Registration is lifetime.

H.R. 3253: International Megan's Law of 2011:

EDIT: I cant post links until 25 posts, but if you go to govtrack(dot)us you can search all current pending federal legislation.

"Summary: Mandates reporting requirements for convicted sex traffickers and other registered sex offenders against minors intending to engage in international travel, providing advance notice of intended travel by high interest registered sex offenders outside the United States to the government of the country of destination, requesting foreign governments to notify the United States when a known child sex offender is seeking to enter the United States, and for other purposes."

There was recently a push to deny all registered sex offenders the ability to get a passport, but it was deemed unconstitutional. Thankfully as of now the State Department does not have the authority to deny passports to Americans based on their registry in the sex offender database and I don't see any legislation in the works to do so.

Thanks for the information. Let me try to answer everything.. The assault charge was not sexually related or related to a minor. Just regular ol assault on a female. I'm not sure why it's called that over just regular assault here (and it may technically just be assault, but for whatever reason I remember assault on female), but either way it was absolutely not a sex crime. So I am not considered a sex offender or anything like the. Funny how I get smacked first, don't touch her and still end up with the charge. Gotta love how the system works there sometimes--but nothing I can do about it now but move on and be glad it wasn't worse.

Anyways. Yeah I am really lucky to have a reasonable PO. For close to 3 years i went without even a speeding ticket, then ended up with a BS charge that to me, personally, is worse than the original charge. I talked to him today and he's still waiting on the paperwork to come back, should be any day now I'll have an answer.

From what I've been able to tell, it looks like a lot of countries in Europe don't seem to have the rules that Canada does. A friend of mine goes to Canada often and said he's only had the full fledged background search once. Think I'd rather go somewhere I don't have to worry about it though. Northern Europe sounds fine to me :)

You seem knowledgable on this subject--how does it work for voting afterwards? Charges were federal and in SC. Everything I can find says I can vote after my rights are restored, and rights are restored as soon as probation/parole/whatever you're on is over for SC. Is that correct? And I'm afraid to even ask about having a gun for home protection.. I assume that ones just a big no forever. I'm living in NC now, whom seems to have similar rules, if it matters. I think NC will leave it up to SC though, but I could be wrong.

edit: I've found every answer there is about restoration of rights, so at some point I'll probably talk to an attorney to get some real advice, but figured you may know. I know that states govern the right to vote, per the constitution, and most things I can find say what I'm saying about that right being restored upon finishing probation. Who knows. Note to anyone reading this: don't do stupid shit when you're young and get caught

Asdf9876
03-09-2012, 07:43 PM
and for anyone still reading this

I'm officially done with probation today:caffeine::taz::jump::clap: :)

lily81
03-09-2012, 10:21 PM
:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:
:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:
:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:
:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:

tee.dot.q
03-09-2012, 10:37 PM
Ex-felons CAN visit Canada. You may have to make an application in advance of your trip and contacting the Canadian embassy may be a good place to start. How do I know this? I'm a Canadian and have been in the presence of Americans that have had felony charges. So many entertainers (musicians, actors, athletes) have felony records and travel across the border all the time. While I understand that most people don't have the same resources, a law is a law.

There may be some hoops you have to jump through but it IS possible.

Good luck :)


Question for the forum, hopefully you guys can answer this a little better for me.

I am a felon (in the US) from a federal white collar crime ("access device fraud"). Plead guilty in 2007, was sentenced in 2008 to 5 years probation & no prison time. In the summer of 2010 I plead guilty to a state misdemeanor charge of assault on female (One heck of a story there, but I assure you a woman beater I am not). I was sentenced to 18 months probation, no jail/prison time. My federal probation officer has submitted the paperwork for me to be released off of probation early (I am expecting a confirmation or denial in the next month) and the state probation is over next month, so utlimately I will be a free man assuming the federal part goes through.

Now, my question. Assuming everything works out and I'm free in a month or two, I would like to take a vacation to see the northern lights in the Yukon sometime next fall (around September). My biggest concern is getting into Canada as my understanding is they are one of the more strict countries in regards to letting felons in, even for recreation.

What would I need to do? And what are my chances? Or do I have to wait 5 years before I can even think about it? I have read a few websites on the laws and am just not getting a clear picture of the requirements for me.

Any help is certainly appreciated.

inmateswife
04-08-2012, 05:40 PM
Hello ...

I know of a family who were just (in the pass 10 years) passing through from Michigan to Canada (they were moving to AK.) and they were stopped at the Canadian border and the husband has a felony and told him he couldnt go through and had to turn back to an air port to purcase an airline ticket but COULD NOT land IN ANY CANADIAN AIRLINE, otherwise he would go to prison bcuz it was ILLEGAL for ANYONE to enter into Canada with a felony back ground. Not one time could he try to drive from Alaska to Michigan without getting told he had to take an air plane or visa versa. Now, his wife n the other hand, she can drive through (but has to leave her passport at the Canadian Border when she comes to michigan and on her way back they give it back to her. They dont hassel her if she flys though. So I guess it just depends on WHO it working those posts those nites.

ok, so i know this is an old forum thread, but i wanted to post and share my experiences at the canadian border.

a few months ago, my wife and i planned a trip to a music festival in montreal. we bought full access passes to all the events, reserved a hotel room and bought plane tickets going directly to montreal. it would be our first real vacation in about 4 years, and we were quite excited.

then, i started googling the web for canadian border crossing experiences. lo and behold i ran across the warnings that people with criminal records would "likely" be denied at the border if a background check was run. most of the web sites i found that talked about this particular situation mentioned it in the context of a DUI.

i should be so lucky as to only have a DUI conviction on my record! at this point, i began to panic and sank into a deep depression, having just sunk a few grand into a trip that might not even pan out.

i have a 13-year old felony conviction for delivery of a controlled substance (LSD). although i have been trouble-free since that time, it is on my record and has appeared in criminal background checks that i have submitted to as a condition of employment (i'm quite glad to say that it has never prevented me from getting a job, and the 2 times it did happen, the employer was very sympathetic and in agreement that the war on drugs has destroyed more lives than it has saved.) anyway...

the more googling i did, the more depressed i became. almost universally, the information i obtained from the web said that if you have a felony conviction, dont even think about coming without filing the paperwork, cause you won't get in. unfortunately our trip was 7 weeks away and there was no time to file the requests for a temporary resident's permit or a minister's permit.

we decided at that point to come up with a plan B. we changed our tickets to fly into the albany airport, and planned on renting a car and driving across the border. that way, if we were denied entrance, we wouldn't already be in the country (unlike if we had flown in) and would be able to simply turn around and do something fun in vermont or elsewhere. it wouldn't be a music festival in montreal, but it would be better than getting booted out of the country (i had read that if you fly in, and they deny you entry, technically you are in the country illegally and they'll give you a choice to leave voluntarily or face deportation).

as the weeks passed, my anxiety and depression became more acute. i wanted to be excited about our vacation, but could never quite let myself fully believe that it was going to happen. even worse, we had made plans with another couple to sort of vacation with them and hang out, and i found myself in the uncomfortable position of having to explain why i might not be able to join them in montreal.

now i know that if someone is lacking a permit to get across, and has a criminal conviction, and still goes across, technically one would be in the country illegally. personally, i had no moral problems with this issue. my wife and i needed this vacation and i was going to at least try to make it happen. at times when i was very depressed, i considered scrapping the vacation altogether to "cut our losses". my wife, bless her heart, would hear of no such thing. she *knew* we were going to have a great time in montreal.

finally, our day of reckoning was upon us. we flew into albany, rented our car, had our passports and potential explanations ready, and began driving up highway 87 to montreal.

the tension i was feeling at this point was almost intolerable. i was so stressed that i took a valium that i had left over from a dentist's visit, and took it upon leaving the car rental place. after about 45 minutes, it began to do it's work and i calmed down considerably.

the drive from albany to montreal is beautiful, very few towns and lots of gorgeous lakes and mountains visible from the highway. if i had known the scenery was going to be so tranquil, i wouldnt have taken the valium! but the chemicals in my bloodstream, NPR on the radio and beautiful scenery all combined to make a very serene and relaxing trip.

i pulled over in plattsburg, the last town in the states before you hit the border, and let my wife drive. she has a winning smile and is often quite good at "running interference" in all sorts of situations. as we approached the border, i began to feel quite calm and accepting of whatever lay before us. nothing happens by mistake, i kept telling myself.

we had our passports ready to go as we came up to the checkpoint. i had my story ready to go, and was feeling that i would make the most positive impression i could no matter what sort of attitude they gave me. the system can tell me im a criminal lowlife all it wants, but i and my loved ones know better.

we arrived at the border crossing at about 6:30pm on a wednesday evening -- not a high-volume time for tourist traffic. there was only one other car in front of us and they seemed to whisk right through.

finally we pulled up. the canadian border guy was young, with stylish glasses and a funky goatee. a good sign. we got asked the usual questions: where are you from? what is your nationality? where are you going? where will you be staying? how long will you be staying? purpose of your visit? how much money do you have?

he seemed to rush through the questions, not even really waiting for us to finish answering. my wife and i were both very calm and composed (it's also worth mentioning that while i am fairly normal looking, my wife has dreadlocks, which i was just a tad worried about). it took about a minute to get through all the questions, and then we were waved on through! no background check, no "have you ever been convicted of a crime" type questions, he didn't even ask to see our passports! as we drove through, and saw the first speed limit signs in km, i think we were a bit shocked. i hadn't expected it to be that quick or hassle-free. we waited until we got a few miles up the road, then we looked at one another, a big smile came across our faces, we slapped a high-five and started hooting and hollering! we made it! vacation here we come! the universe was on our side that day, and nothing happens by mistake. we went on to have an excellent time at the festival and all that stress i had been feeling, all that depression, it just completely dissolved at the moment we knew we were home free.

as a footnote, it's worth saying a few things. we may have been totally lucky, and our experience might be a rare one. i have talked to a few friends since then though, and one friend who goes to canada frequently to climb has DUI and drug possession convictions on his record. he's never once been background checked in 20 years of going back and forth. what's notable is that he never flies in, and always drives in.

our friends whom we were vacationing with, they opted to fly in. based on their experience, i feel our decision to drive in rather than fly in was a good one. our friends, who have no criminal records, got the third degree at customs in the montreal airport, background checks and all! it's my anecdotal understanding then that flying submits one to much more scrutiny than driving in, so if you are planning a trip to canada and have a record and no permits, then consider driving in. it's my guess that your chances of getting across hassle-free are greatly enhanced. if they deny you entry, hell, just turn around and go spend your dollars elsewhere.

i hope this post can be of some use to those out there in a similar situation. remember, who the SYSTEM says you are is NOT who you ACTUALLY are!

AmeriCanadian
06-17-2012, 03:22 AM
Hello,

I'm an ex felon from the US, with a 10 year old felony drug possession (not trafficking) conviction, who never served any jail time, and successfully terminated my probation early, over 10 years ago. I paid all fines due, got a highschool equivalency and even earned a college degree. Besides the occasional speeding ticket over the years, I haven't been in trouble with the law since.

I'm seeking to visit my soulmate who grieves and mourns the recent loss of her mom, and who happens to live in Canada. I applied for a passport recently so I could visit and care for her, but it seems the status of my passport has been stalled to almost a halt.

I'm exploring the option to get my felony conviction sealed and expunged...in case I need to reapply for my passport, but in the meantime, I was wondering if anyone could give me some leads or advice, which may yield faster results? She really needs me, and I really need to be with her already. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.