Arrested vs. Convicted and the impact on entry into Canada

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It is a common misconception that inadmissibility only applies if a person has been convicted of an offense. That a person only arrested, for charge such as a DUI (Driving Under the Influence), can still enter Canada until a decision has been reached at the end of a trial. “I haven’t been found guilty yet, I was only arrested. There should be no problem.”

Not so. The fact is, an arrest for an offense can be sufficient to prevent a person from entering Canada. In other words, the moment you are arrested, that should be sufficient to cause inadmissibility to apply. It should be noted that not all offenses will automatically lead to inadmissibility. Some offenses are such that they would require two arrests or convictions, or a combination of each, to prevent entry to Canada. However, common ones, such as driving under the influence (“DUI”), driving while intoxicating (“DWI”), reckless driving, theft, and assault, to name a few, usually lead to a person becoming inadmissible to enter Canada, even if there has only been an arrest.

Though there can always exist exceptions, an arrest usually means that the offense occurred recently. A person recently arrested will not have had the opportunity yet to comply with any condition, as there has not yet been any conviction. As such, criminal rehabilitation is most likely not an option at that point, as at least five years must have passed since the completion of all conditions laid out in the conviction (if there is a conviction afterwards) or since the arrest (if, for whatever reason, there is no prosecution following the arrest but the charges are not dismissed). Applying for temporary resident permit would be an option for anyone who needs to enter Canada. Please contact us for any specific questions you might have.