Canada has strict immigration laws which may bar a visitor or temporary worker’s entry into Canada if there is a record of criminal conviction which render an applicant “criminally inadmissible” under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
However, you may be able to overcome your inadmissibility through rehabilitation or through a temporary resident permit.
A rehabilitation can wipe your record to a clean state, and will not affect your admissibility into Canada from then on. You are eligible to apply for rehabilitation if you have been convicted outside of Canada and five years have passed since the sentence was completed (including the payment of fines).
For those who cannot apply for rehabilitation because five years have not passed, it is possible to receive a temporary resident permit. A temporary resident permit is for those with a valid reason under specific circumstances that is justified. You must show that you do not pose a risk due to your past criminal record.
Immigration application for those with criminal inadmissibility is a process that can take several months to up to a year. A large portion of the long processing time may be to acquire all the necessary documents including police certificates.
Each applicant aged 18 or over must undergo a security clearance to check for criminal inadmissibility for each country in which the applicant has resided for more than 6 months since the age of 18. This is for visa officers to ensure that no security risk is admitted to Canada. The certificates must have been issued within the three months prior to your immigration application to Canada or your police certificate expiry, whichever may come first.
In the United States, Police Certificates are issued by the FBI. You must first obtain a set of your fingerprints, which you can submit directly to the FBI or an approved Channeler. The standard processing time through the FBI may be up to 90 days. However, there are FBI- approved Channelers who can expedite the process to a matter of 3-4 days with additional fees. FBI-approved Channelers are private companies providing the certificates on behalf of the FBI. The check by the Channeler is identical to the one undertaken by the FBI; they receive the fingerprint and all your data and forward the submission to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division. The CJIS then provides the electronic check result. Each Channeler may have different methods for submissions, and may provide different types of copies.
The FBI-approved Channel cannot process security checks for a non-U.S. individual. Only citizens or a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. (also known as a “Green Card Holder”) can request this service. For a list of FBI-approved Channelers, visit: Channelers
Note that while FBI police certificates issued by FBI-approved Channelers may be used for criminality applications, they are not accepted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada for Permanent Residence applications.
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.