I plan on visiting the United Kingdom (West Midlands only) in February 2009 and I need to know if I will be permitted entry or denied entry due to my criminal record in Canada. My record is for minor charges between 1988 and 1995 and I have never been incarcerated for more than 45 days. I contacted the British High Commission in Ottawa Canada with my question and the switchboard immediately referred me to a website that would answer my question. The website is:
I was directed to click the Entry Clearnace Guidance link on the bottom left and then read Chapter 26.12 (Refusal on grounds of criminal conviction)
Refusal on grounds of criminal conviction [Updated 11 August 2008]
Paragraph 320(18) of the Rules states that an application should normally be refused if that person has been convicted of an offence in any country, which would be punishable with imprisonment for a term of 12 months or more if the offence had occurred in the UK,. ECOs should not refuse under 320(18) if the conviction is considered “spent” under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (see Annex 26.3). Paragraph 320(18) will not apply where an applicant has been cautioned.
It clearly states that an APPLICANT with spent convictions should not be refused (VISA) however I do need need a visa as I am a Canadian citizen (Non-visa national), and I only plan to visit for 12 days (not over the 6 months allowed to visit).
Chapter 320.18 of the UK Immigration Rules states:
(18) save where the Immigration Officer is satisfied that admission would be justified for strong compassionate reasons, conviction in any country including the United Kingdom of an offence which, if committed in the United Kingdom, is punishable with imprisonment for a term of 12 months or any greater punishment or, if committed outside the United Kingdom, would be so punishable if the conduct constituting the offence had occurred in the United Kingdom;
This paragraph says nothing about not being refused entry due to a conviction/s being spent
According to the UK Rehabilitation of Offenders Act guidelines my convictions are considered spent in the UK.
I am very confused about this and I am getting absolutely no help from anyone. I have called the UK Border agency and they referred me to a 1-900 number/$3.50 a min visa inquiry department (I dont need a Visa), I have recontacted the UK High Commission in Ottawa and they have no idea what to tell me.
I have alot of $$ riding on this trip and I need answers as soon as possible.
Can anyone give me some answers?