The ways by which you can overcome your criminal inadmissibility to Canada are different depending on where you were convicted of an offence. An individual who is not a citizen of Canada and has been convicted of a crime in a country other than Canada can overcome their inadmissibility with a Temporary Residence Permit or Criminal Rehabilitation. However, those options are not available to a foreign citizen who is convicted of committing a crime inside Canadian territory.
What are your options if you were convicted in Canada? In order to overcome criminal inadmissibility in this situation, you must apply for a Record Suspension. This was formerly known as a pardon. A Record Suspension sets a certain conviction aside from the rest of your criminal history. In order to be eligible for a Record Suspension a person must have demonstrated that they are now law abiding citizens. Additionally, a certain amount of time must pass after a sentence is completed before an application can be made. How much time depends on the seriousness of the crime. For a summary offence (minor crime) 5 years must have passed since the completion of the sentence. Ten years must have passed for indictable offence (major crime). Unlike other ways of overcoming criminal inadmissibility, Record suspensions are handled by the Parole Board of Canada and not Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Applications can be filled out on the Parole Board’s website. A Record Suspension is not needed if you have received a conditional or absolute discharge, or a dismissal for a Canadian offence.
Some convictions in Canada are never eligible for Record Suspension. If you have been convicted of more than three indictable offences which carry with them a prison sentence of two years or more each, you cannot receive a Record Suspension. Likewise, sexual offences involving a child also are not considered for Record Suspension.