Canadian Criminal Rehabilitation


An individual who wishes to enter Canada might be deemed inadmissible due to a previous criminal conviction. Canadian inadmissibility can be overcome in two ways: a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) and Criminal Rehabilitation.  Criminal Rehabilitation is a permanent solution while a TRP is just temporary.

Criminal Rehabilitation is a process in which a person who is deemed inadmissible to Canada requests from the Canadian Government that their inadmissibly be abolished on a permanent basis. If approved by the Canadian government, the past conviction will no longer serve as a limitation to enter Canada. In order to be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation, one must ensure that the criminal offence was committed outside of Canada. Moreover, five years must have passed since the completion of the sentence.

 The first step of Criminal Rehabilitation is to determine the equivalence of the criminal offence under the Canadian Criminal Code. One must determine whether the offence is regarded as a ‘serious’ or ‘non-serious’ offence under Canadian Law. In order to determine the equivalence of the foreign and Canadian statute, one must be familiar with the Canadian Criminal Code in relation to the laws of country in which the criminal act was carried out.

An individual, who committed a non-serious crime over ten years ago since the completion of the sentence, is deemed ‘rehabilitated’ by the passage of time. This means that they do not need to apply for a Criminal Rehabilitation. However, many people still request a letter from a legal expert in order to ensure a smooth entry to Canada. An individual who committed a serious crime will always need to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation regardless of the time since the completion of the sentence.

Once the equivalence of the conviction has been determined, an applicant must demonstrate that they are at a stable position, where there is no risk of them committing another crime. There are numerous ways to demonstrate a stable lifestyle such as professional ties and community involvement. If the Canadian official reviewing the case is convinced of a healthy lifestyle he may grant an approval for the Criminal Rehabilitation. 

Please note: Criminal Rehabilitation is a solution for convictions and offenses that occured 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 inadmissibility.