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How do I apply for a temporary resident permit to enter Canada

What is a temporary resident permit?

A temporary resident permit (TRP) is a temporary pass that allows a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to visit Canada for a “temporary” period of time, usually for a specific work, family, or emergency reasons—even if you criminally inadmissible to enter Canada. 

Am I eligible to apply for a TRP?

Any U.S. citizen or permanent resident is eligible. 

You are eligible for a TRP even if you are inadmissible based on your criminal record, so long as you submit a completed application and pay the required fee.

When can I apply for a TRP?

You can apply for a TRP at any time.  Unlike Criminal Rehabilitation or Deemed Rehabilitation, you do nothave to wait a certain period of time after your conviction for applying. 

How long is TRP good for?

You may be issued a TRP for a single weekend trip, a month-long trip, or for multiple entries into Canada over several months.  The maximum duration of a TRP is three (3) years, but this is unusual, especially if you apply at the border.

You also cannot renew an existing TRP but will have to submit a new application. 

Can I apply for a TRP at the airport?

Yes.  You can submit your TRP at any Point of Entry (POE).  (A POE is anyplace where a foreign national can legally enter Canada, including an airport, a port if arriving by ship, or a typical border crossing if you're driving over the border).

Of course, if you are denied entry, you will be required to return home immediately.  In fact, immigration officials will physically take you back to the terminal and ensure that you purchase an immediate return ticket to the United States. 

How do I apply for a TRP?

Step 1: Complete the Application

You must complete Form 1444 (Application for Criminal Rehabilitation) and submit the following documents:

  • Two (2) recent passport photos (within the past 6 months)
  • FBI background check (within the past 6 months)
  • State police background checks for each of the following states:
    • All states in which you have lived for six (6) months or more since you were 18
    • All states in which you have been charged with a crime
  • All court documents showing any charges or convictions and whether and when you completed all terms of your sentence
  • Probation letter authorizing you to leave Washington (if applicable)
  • Detailed Personal statement describing the circumstances of each arrest
  • Statement describing purpose of your trip to Canada
  • Documentary evidence supporting purpose of travel (e.g employer letter, Canadian travel itinerary) 
  • Evidence of Rehabilitation
    • Personal statement describing why you think you are rehabilitated
    • Letters of reference from friends and employers
    • Family circumstances (e.g. birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree)
    • Evidence of counseling, drug / alcohol treatment, vocational training, community / volunteer activities

Step 2: Submit the Application

You must submit your TRP application to the Canadian government for review.  U.S. citizens or permanent residents have two options:

  1. Submit your TRP application to a Canadian border agent when at any Point of Entry (POE) (i.e. border crossing)
  2. Submit your application by mail to the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles:  Immigration Section, Consular General of Canada in Los Angeles, 550 South Hope Street, 9th Floor, LA, CA 90071.  

How long will it take to process my TRP application?

The Consulate typically takes about 4 months to process TRP applications, but it could be significantly longer based on staffing and demand. 

By contrast, if you submit your application at the border, immigration officers will process almost immediately, usually in about 1 hour. 

How much does it cost to apply for a TRP?

The TRP application costs $200 CAD (approximately $142 US), regardless of whether you apply at the border at the Consulate.  

Should I apply for a TRP at the Consulate or at the Border?

Applying for a TRP through the Consulate is the safer option, despite the much longer processing times, for three (3) main reasons:

First, unlike at the border, the immigration officers who work at the Consulate have extensive experience reviewing TRP and criminal rehabilitation applications.

Second, Consular officials will take as much as time as possible to thoroughly review your application (not possible at the border), so you will benefit if your application for rehabilitation isn't intuitive based on your record.

Finally, Consular officials are more likely to grant your TRP for a longer period of time or to authorize multiple-entry TRP, whereas a border official is much more likely to grant a single-entry TRP and only for the stated duration of your trip.

The obvious advantage of applying at the border is a quick decision.  There are two significant disadvantages, however.  If your TRP application is denied, you will be required to return home immediately, with all the negative financial ramifications. 

Second, the experience level of the border agents varies greatly, so you may in serious trouble if your application requires a nuanced understanding of Canadian or Washington criminal procedures.

Will my TRP application be granted?

Regardless of where you apply (at the border or at the consulate), Canadian immigration officials have the discretion to grant to your application—in other words, they can say no.

The standard is whether your need to enter Canada outweighs the health or safety risk to Canadian society.  This is why you should prepare a well-documented application and submit at for review as early as possible before you arrive. 

Disclaimer: I am not licensed to practice law in Canada.  The information on this page is not, and is not intended to be, legal advice.  I recommend that you consult a licensed Canadian immigration attorney for your particular case.  


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