How to Obtain a Canadian eTA with a Criminal Record: A Comprehensive Guide

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Written By mostafizur

Traveling to Canada has become more straightforward with the introduction of the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). However, for individuals with a criminal record, the process can be more complex. This article provides a step-by-step guide on how to get a canadian eta with a criminal record if you have a criminal record, ensuring you understand the requirements and options available to you.

Understanding the eTA

The Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is a requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals traveling to Canada by air. It is electronically linked to the traveler’s passport and is valid for up to five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. The eTA allows multiple entries into Canada for stays of up to six months each.

Eligibility Criteria for Individuals with a Criminal Record

Individuals with a criminal record are not automatically disqualified from obtaining an eTA, but they may face additional scrutiny. The Canadian government assesses applicants on a case-by-case basis to determine their admissibility. The following factors are considered:

  • Type of Offense: Minor offenses (e.g., petty theft) may be viewed more leniently than serious crimes (e.g., assault, drug trafficking).
  • Time Elapsed: The length of time since the conviction can impact the decision. Older convictions may be considered less relevant.
  • Rehabilitation: Demonstrated rehabilitation can positively influence the outcome.

Steps to Apply for a Canadian eTA with a Criminal Record

1. Gather Required Documentation

Before starting the eTA application, gather all necessary documents, including:

  • Passport: Ensure your passport is valid.
  • Criminal Record Information: Obtain details of your criminal record, including court documents and police certificates.
  • Rehabilitation Evidence: If applicable, gather documents demonstrating rehabilitation, such as character references or proof of completed rehabilitation programs.

2. Apply for an eTA Online

Visit the official Government of Canada eTA application website and complete the online form. Be honest and accurate in disclosing your criminal record. The application will ask for personal details, passport information, and travel plans.

3. Undergo a Background Check

Upon disclosing your criminal record, your application may be flagged for further review. You might be asked to provide additional documentation, such as:

  • Police Certificates: From the country where the offense occurred and any country where you have lived for more than six months.
  • Court Documents: Detailing the offense, sentencing, and completion of any penalties.

4. Wait for a Decision

The processing time for applications requiring additional review varies. While many eTA applications are approved within minutes, those with criminal records can take several weeks. Ensure you apply well in advance of your planned travel dates.

5. Consider Applying for Criminal Rehabilitation

If your application is denied due to your criminal record, you may be eligible to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation. This is a separate process where you can request that your inadmissibility to Canada be resolved permanently. The eligibility criteria include:

  • Completion of Sentence: At least five years must have passed since the completion of your sentence.
  • Proof of Rehabilitation: Demonstrate that you are rehabilitated and unlikely to commit further crimes.

6. Seek Legal Assistance

Navigating the eTA application process with a criminal record can be complex. Consider consulting with an immigration lawyer who specializes in Canadian immigration law. They can provide personalized advice and assist with preparing a robust application.


Obtaining a canada advance cbsa declaration requires careful preparation and transparency. By understanding the eligibility criteria, gathering the necessary documentation, and being honest in your application, you can improve your chances of success. If additional steps are needed, such as applying for Criminal Rehabilitation, taking action promptly can help resolve your inadmissibility. Consulting with a legal expert can provide valuable guidance throughout the process, ensuring you have the best chance of being approved for an eTA and enjoying your travels to Canada.

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