Are you trying to enter Canada with a criminal record? Criminal inadmissibility prevents you from entering Canada, regardless of circumstance, without the special authorization from Canadian immigration officials in the form of a Temporary Resident Permit. If you have been deemed criminally inadmissible and are seeking entrance into Canada, you will need to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation. Criminal Rehabilitation is defined as a request for absolution from the Government of Canada for a crime(s) committed in the past.
Crimes that will make you inadmissible to Canada fall under either Non-Serious Criminality or Serious Criminality in the Canadian Criminal Code. For the most part, the application process for Canadian criminal rehabilitation is the same for both Non-Serious and Serious Criminality. However, there are exemptions for those having committed a Non-Serious offense that may grant qualification for deemed rehabilitation by the passage of time. This will be explained in greater detail in the Eligibility section.
How do I Apply for Criminal Rehabilitation?
A crucial part of the application process is having the ability to demonstrate that you have a stable lifestyle, harboring no potential risk of committing another crime in the future. As an applicant, you must focus on proving your capacity for rehabilitation, as well as providing in as much detail as possible, the process by which you will achieve rehabilitation. There are many ways to prove that you have a stable lifestyle, such as reporting your professional responsibilities and ties and demonstrating a satisfactory level of community involvement. As a guiding principle, you want to convince the Canadian official reviewing your case that you have become an upstanding member of society, with no incentive or opportunity to relapse into criminal behavior.
What Documents do I Need to Apply?
What follows is, in effect, a recommended criminal rehabilitation checklist to guide you through what you should strive to include in your application. You’ll be expected to provide detailed records of your criminal history and employment history. Your documents must detail how many offenses you have, the nature of your offense(s), and the amount of time that has passed since the completion of your sentence(s). The most important factor in assessing your application’s potential for success lies in the documents detailing the circumstances of your crime, as well as the process by which you’ve sought and achieved rehabilitation. These documents will play host to the best chance you have to state your case, and demonstrate to those reviewing your application that you are worthy of being granted Criminal Rehabilitation.
Immigration officials like to see a detailed explanation of the circumstances of the crime, and the events leading up to the conviction. The more detailed it is, the easier it will be for them to make their decision, whereas an absence or ambiguity of information may be interpreted against you. Applicants should explain their actions and divulge the existence of any aggravating factors, such as the use of a weapon, or any possible involvement of drugs and alcohol. You should provide an accurate rendering of the circumstances, as well as demonstrate that the offense was an isolated event as opposed to a pattern of behavior. The applicant should discuss their motives behind the offense, as well as the degree to which law enforcement officers were respected and cooperated with. It is also strongly recommended that you explicitly take full responsibility for the circumstances and the criminal activity to which they lead, as this is indicative of a rehabilitated state of mind.
The section where you will explain why you consider yourself rehabilitated has the most flexibility in terms of what may be included. In order to convince the immigration officers that you will not reoffend, and to rule out the possibility of a threat to Canadian society, it is strongly recommended that you demonstrate a successful rehabilitation in as many ways as possible. This can be achieved by detailing your participation in any drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs, or anger management programs. You can also demonstrate rehabilitation by detailing your new-found engagement in social or vocational practices, as well as providing proof that you have established a sustainable living-arrangement, free of financial strain.
As an applicant, you should provide evidence of a stable recent employment history and other professional ties, as well as present connections to your community through involvement in social groups or community service initiatives. Furthermore, documents like positive reports from your probation officer, certificates of completion of drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs, and evidence of restitution will be beneficial to your application’s chances of success.
Am I Eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation?
As stated earlier, 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. There are three criteria you must meet in order to be eligible for criminal rehabilitation:
1- Committed an act outside of Canada that would constitute an offense under a Federal statute.
2- Been convicted of, or admit to committing the act.
3- Five years must have passed since all sentences have been completed, including jail, fines, and probation.
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.
What is Deemed Rehabilitation?
If you have only been convicted of a single non-serious offense, and 10 years have passed since completion of its sentence, you may be deemed rehabilitated by the passage of time.
What is The Criminal Rehabilitation Processing Time
The immigration officer assessing your application has the ultimate discretion over whether or not the application will be approved, and the time it takes to come to a decision heavily depends on the complexity of your application. This makes it very difficult to offer a meaningful projection of expected processing time. In order to expedite and facilitate the decision-making process of your immigration officer, it is important to be as detailed as possible. While the application procedure for both Non-Serious and Serious Criminality are the same, Serious Criminality will require a longer processing time than the former.
When Should I Apply for Criminal Rehabilitation
It is wise to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation as soon as 5 years have elapsed since the completion of your last sentence. This demonstrates a sense of urgency with respect to your desire to enter Canada, which the immigration officer will likely look favorably upon. It is also advised that you contact an immigration lawyer in order to help you decide whether you should apply for Criminal Rehabilitation, as well as to guide you through the extensive process of the application.
How Much Does it Cost to Apply?
The processing fees for Criminal Rehabilitation involving Non-Serious Criminality is 200$ CAD, while the processing fees for an application involving Serious Criminality is 1000$ CAD.
Though it is not required to hire an immigration lawyer, choosing to do so will always better the chances of your application’s approval. They will guide you through the complexities of the application process, and offer advisable strategies to implement in your application based on their experience with cases like yours.
Please note: Criminal Rehabilitation is a solution for convictions and offenses that occurred outside of Canada. If you have also been convicted of offenses in Canada, you may also need to apply for a Canadian record suspension in order to remove your criminal inadmissibility.
FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration follow FWCanada on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.