The first step of Criminal Rehabilitation is determining the equivalence of the criminal offense(s) under the Canadian Criminal Code. The offense(s) must fall under either Non-Serious Criminality or Serious Criminality. The equivalence of your crime under the Canadian Criminal Code is determined independently of the deemed severity of the offense in the country where it occurred. This means that even though some offences are taken very lightly in some countries, and others are taken very seriously, what is most important for Rehabilitation is how the particular offence is seen in Canada.
To make sure you are eligible to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation, there are three criteria you must meet:
1: You had to have committed an act outside of Canada that would constitute an offense under a Federal statute. This means that provincial statutes will not cause a problem (such as parking tickets).
2: Been convicted of, or admit to committing the act. If you have a charge on your record that is dismissed or you have not been found guilty, this will not render you inadmissible and criminal rehabilitation will not be necessary! That being said, its always good to double check in this case by contacting an immigration lawyer and potentially receiving a legal opinion letter.
3: Five years must have passed since all sentences have been completed, including jail, fines, and probation. This is the most important part of the Criminal Rehabilitation process. Only after 5 years can you apply. This means that the five years must have been after everything related to your sentencing and conviction has been completed. If you had, for example, forgot to pay a fine for a couple of years, that will indeed cause a problem. Some people get confused regarding the time of their arrest and the time they were officially convicted of an offence. All in all, it can be confusing to determine your eligibility, so do not hesitate to contact us for assistance!
It is important to note that if five years have not passed since all sentences have been completed, and you need to enter Canada as soon as possible, you can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit which will grant you entrance to Canada for a definite period of time.