Entry into Canada if you have a "Criminal" Record-Getting a Ministers Permit

When I was crossing the border into Canada, they asked if I had any firearms with me. I said, "Well, what do you need?"       ---Steven Wright

If you are working for a company, or planning to apply for a driving position with a company that goes into Canada, you must meet some important immigration requirements if you have a "criminal" record. And "criminal" has quotes around it because some convictions such as Driving While Intoxicated are considered "criminal."

Many of the larger carriers will have need for their drivers to occasionally go into Canada, so it is good for you to get permission (called a "Ministers Permit") before you apply for a job if you have something on your record. For those of you registered with http://www.dotjobhistory.com/, we strongly recommend you store your Ministers Permit with your other documents (DAC Report, Driving Record, PSP report, etc.)

Persons who have been convicted of a criminal offence in any country may be inadmissible to Canada as a result of their criminal record. Even persons who do not require a Visa to enter Canada may still be refused permission to enter Canada if they are members of an inadmissible class.

Members of Inadmissible Classes include those who have been convicted of minor offenses (including shoplifting, theft, assault, dangerous driving, unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession of illegal substances, etc.), or of indictable criminal offenses (including assault with a deadly weapon, manslaughter, etc.). As well, those who have been convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) are considered members of an Inadmissible Class. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is regarded as an extremely serious offense in Canada. Those who have received traffic violations including parking/speeding tickets, etc.) and other minor violations (i.e. littering, etc.) most likely will not be prohibited from entering Canada. Similarly, those who have juvenile convictions (convictions for crimes committed while under age 18) most likely will not be prohibited from entering Canada unless they could have been tried as an adult for their offenses.

How does an Inadmissible person get into Canada?
Those who have been convicted of an offense outside Canada, and have had 5 years elapse since the termination of the custodial portion (if any) of the sentence imposed (not the sentence served), may apply for a Minister's APPROVAL OF REHABILITATION. The Minister's Approval will permanently remove the inadmissibility caused by conviction. Persons who committed criminal activity or were convicted of criminal offenses outside Canada can apply for approval of rehabilitation by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration if five years have passed since the end of the criminal activity or the completion of the sentence.
Persons who wish to enter Canada but are ineligible for approval of rehabilitation because not enough time has passed can complete the form and check "For Information Only". An immigration officer will decide if a Temporary Resident/ Minister's Permit for temporary admission is warranted. If less than 5 years have elapsed, or if persons are only seeking entry to Canada for a single or limited period, then they may apply for a TEMPORARY RESIDENT PERMIT.

Documentation that may be required is as follows:

  • A statement from you indicating how often and for what purpose you are likely to visit Canada in the future;

  • A copy of the Court Judgment including the verdict and sentence;

  • A copy of the text of the law violated;

  • Evidence of your rehabilitation. This may be in the form of 3 letters from parole boards, public officials, respected citizens, clergymen, etc. (Note* letters from friends or neighbors are NOT acceptable);

  • Police certificates (FBI and state authority);

  • A full written explanation in your own words concerning the circumstances of the conviction(s);

  • 3 recent identical passport photographs;

  • A copy of the probation or parole officer's report on your progress. If the terms of your probation restrict your travel, please provide evidence that the court consents to your visit(s) to Canada;

  • A completed application (visitor Visa form);

  • If you have been ordered deported from Canada, full details including the date and place at which the deportation was ordered. If possible, forward a copy of the deportation order with the completed application.



  • A Police Certificate, or certificate of "no criminal record" is necessary for every applicant age 18 and older who requires it.

  • A Police Certificate is required from the state/ country where the applicant CURRENTLY lives, along with ALL other states/countries where the applicant has resided in for 6 months or more since age 18.

  • The Police Certificate should be issued by a NATIONAL or FEDERAL police agency where possible.

  • All Police Certificates must have been issued within the last SIX MONTHS.

  • All Police Certificates MUST BE ORIGINALS. Photocopies will NOT be accepted.

  • All Police Certificates MUST be accompanied by an ORIGINAL TRANSLATION prepared by an accredited translator if they are in a language other than English or French.


Applicants requiring Police Certificates who are currently present in the United States or who have stayed in the U.S. for six months or more MUST obtain police clearance from the FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI).

Written By: Derek Hinton