Travel and Leisure

Going on a Cruise? Know Before You Go!

With summer around the corner, most people are already dreaming about making vacation plans, especially a cruise. After all it is the best time of the year to do so. Among Canada’s ports of call, St. John’s, Vancouver, and Halifax are popular points of departure for cruises which attract travellers from all over the world.

But what many don’t realize while they are on a cruise heading to Canada is that they might be inadmissible if they have a DUI or any other offense on record. Amidst all the vacation planning, it’s easy for non-Canadian travelers to overlook prior criminal offences that may prevent entry to Canada. Cruise lines often neglect to notify their passengers about the risks which involve being denied entry due to offenses on record, which can result in unpleasant outcomes for your cruise depending on the itinerary.

Going on a Cruise

The laws apply regardless if you are briefly passing through Canada or entering for an extended period of time. For example, if you are a US citizen scheduled to leave from Vancouver on a cruise for Hawaii or Alaska, Canadian laws still apply, and you could be denied entry to Canada for having a criminal record. If you are a traveler with a criminal record, it may affect your cruise under such circumstances as the following:

  • Your cruise is scheduled to depart from a Canadian port.
  • Your itinerary contains a Canadian port of call.
  • Your cruise final stop is at a Canadian port.

What can you do if you are criminally inadmissible to Canada?

If you have already made your cruise reservations and then discover that you are criminally inadmissible to Canada, you may still enter the country by applying for a temporary resident permit or a criminal rehabilitation application, provided it is approved. These require advanced planning and the expertise of a Canadian immigration lawyer who specializes in such cases. A temporary resident permit which is processed much quicker than a criminal rehabilitation seems to be suitable for most people.

Determining whether a TRP can be granted remains a discretionary one as government officials processing a TRP application will consider a variety of factors, such as the offense(s) involved, the justification for entering Canada, and what an applicant has demonstrated in terms of rehabilitation.

A TRP can be granted for a period of up to three years. If an application for a TRP is approved, the duration period granted for the permit is also subject to the reviewing officer’s discretion.

A TRP can allow for what is known as “multiple entries” into Canada. In other words, the permit holder can enter and exit Canada more than once without invalidating the permit. As is the case with the approval and the duration period, this is also subject to the officer’s discretion.

On the other hand, a criminal rehabilitation is a permanent solution, but you will have to qualify for it. You must have completed all of the imposed terms of your sentence before the 5 years preceding the application. Furthermore, an FBI police certificate is necessary, as well as, state police certificates from any and all states you have lived in for more than six months since the age of 18. If a CR application is approved, you may freely travel to Canada as anyone who has never had a criminal record.