People who have never been to Canada might not realize how strict Canadian border officials really are when it comes to convictions on someone’s record. Even minor misdemeanor charges can result in major problems on the Canadian border.
The internet is full with horror stories where people tell from own experience how they got turned away unexpectedly. This makes it very clear how immensely important it is to be well prepared before even attempting to go to Canada should there be any kind of criminal conviction in a person’s past. Look at this personal story found here that is all too typical in regards to what one could expect at the border:
If you have anything on your police record from anytime, US OR CA – even a minor misdemeaner charge. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS THE CANADIAN BORDER. Believe me, I know from experience. You will be detained, searched and sent home.
These days nazi border guards have full access to US and CA criminal data bases and will bust you in a second. Don’t think you can say no when they ask you if you have ever been arrested because they will check. I used to travel in CA without problems, but those days are over.
It is correct that Canadian officials will conduct a very thorough job investigating one’s criminal background. Be assured that nothing on your record will stay undiscovered. These are the two big mistakes you could possibly make:
1) Attempting to cross the border, knowing that you have a criminal conviction and simply hope you will be lucky and they will admit you.
2) Attempting to cross the border and lying to the officials about your conviction record. This is obviously the worst thing you could do.
If you have any doubts about your conviction record and arrive at the border unprepared, know that it’s not the Canadian officials duty to help you getting admission, quite to the contrary:
So if you have any doubts about any prior offense – STAY AWAY. Don’t think your situation can be resolved rationally either. Obtaining a temporary residency permit or pardon is a long, expensive, frustrating process that is often denied and is usually not worth it unless you absolutely have to get into the country. The border agents and immigration officers are not helpful at all and treat you like ****. Trying to get help from the Canadian Consulate is a joke – try calling them, they do not even pick up the phone.
If you plan on getting into Canada with a record of criminal convictions, there is only one reasonable way to go about it: Consult an experienced immigration attorney who can evaluate your case and recommend the best course of action.