Immigration laws and regulations determine the requirements to enter and the process for applying for temporary and permanent visas. They also set out the class of applicants who are not allowed to enter Canada even if they otherwise qualify as a permanent immigrant or temporary worker, student or visitor. These are people who are deemed “inadmissible” under Canada’s immigration laws and are not normally allowed to enter Canada.
What is inadmissibility?
You may be found to be inadmissible to Canada for a number of reasons. The top 5 reasons that you may be inadmissible are:
- Medical inadmissibility: you have a serious health problem
- Criminal inadmissibility: you have been convicted of a crime, or you have committed an act outside Canada that would be a crime
- Security inadmissibility: you are a security risk, have committed human or international rights violations, have ties to organized crime
- Financial inadmissibility: you have a serious financial problem
- Misrepresentation inadmissibility: you lied in your application or in an interview
- You may also be found to be inadmissible if one of your family members in your application is inadmissible for any of the above reasons.
How to know if you are inadmissible?
Whether you are inadmissible depends on your specific circumstances, but the place to start is to ask yourself if you might fall under any of these categories:
- Have you been convicted of a criminal offence, inside or outside Canada?
- Do you have a medical condition that requires significant medical treatment?
- Do you have sufficient financial resources to support yourself (and in some cases your family members)?
- Have you lied or misrepresented information to the Government of Canada?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you may be inadmissible. The facts of your case will be different from that of anyone else and you should be careful not to make a decision based on the experience of your family and friends. You should consult a lawyer to determine if you have an actual or potential inadmissibility and what the best course of action is to deal with the inadmissibility.
Can you overcome inadmissibility to Canada?
As part of the process of being assessed for entry to Canada, either for permanent (immigrant) or temporary entry (tourist, student or worker), all applicants have to satisfy the officer that they are not inadmissible and should be allowed into the country. The implication of being found inadmissible is that you will normally not be allowed to enter Canada. However, it is sometimes possible to overcome inadmissibility either by demonstrating that you have become rehabilitated or that appropriate time has passed since the event that made you inadmissible. In some circumstances you may have a valid reason to travel to Canada, in which case you may apply for a Temporary Resident Permit and in others you may have recourse by turning to the Immigration and Refugee Board or the Federal Court.
In the coming weeks I will be writing about the different types of inadmissibility and options you may have to overcome them and be allowed to enter Canada.
Zeynab Ziaie is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto and a lawyer licensed to practice in Ontario and New York. Her legal practice focuses on immigration and business law. She often works with clients to find suitable solutions in complex immigration and citizenship cases and represents clients at all levels of court.