Immigration Law Questions? Ask an Immigration Lawyer.
Good evening, I am a Criminal Defense attorney and former Miami Prosecutor. Please note I can answer your questions for informational purposes, we do not currently have an attorney-client relationship.
What you can do is apply for Canada Temporary Resident Permit- it allows US citizens with a felony conviction to enter into Canada, and is generally good for up to 3 years.
The 2nd and only other option is Canada's Criminal Rehabilitation. This is a permanent fix that will allow you to enter Canada for the rest of your life without any problems (so long as you do not have any arrests/convictions on your record in the future).
The Criminal Rehabilitation however, does take one year to process. It is available to you though, so long as it has been 5 years since you completed your sentence.
What I would recommend doing if you'd like to go visit your friends, is applying for the Temporary Resident Permit through the Canadian consulate (as that is a quicker fix), then you can consider applying for the Criminal Rehabilitation later on, as a more permanent solution.
Please be advised you are checked at the Canadian border, so if you attempt to enter without permit, your priors will pop up and you'll be flagged and turned around. Not worth it, for your time and expense in traveling. I hope that is helpful, best of luck to you!
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I hope that was helpful. Please let me know if you have any more questions.
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Good evening, just wanted to make sure you don't have any follow-up questions from our earlier conversation? I hope I was able to address all of your concerns.