Now is the time to plan your next trip to Canada

Planning your next vacation from home? 

While the border may be closed, this pause is a great time to clear your record for international travel to Canada. For those with criminal charges, the process of entering Canada may be difficult, and Criminal Rehabilitation applications take many months to process. 

Criminal Rehabilitation from the Canadian government allows foreign nationals with criminal history to enter Canada, and acts as an official pardon. This application requires one to prove to the Canadian Government that they have been rehabilitated, and are not at risk to reoffend.

There are many reasons that one may be criminally inadmissible to Canada, and have trouble crossing the border. The most common offenses that would lead to criminal inadmissibility include, but are not limited to, Driving Under the Influence (DUIs/DWIs), Reckless Driving, Fraud, Assault, and Drug Possession. 

If either of the following apply to you, you may be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation. 

  1. I’ve been convicted of an offense in Canada
  2. I’ve been convicted of an offense outside Canada that is considered a crime in Canada

Additionally, you must be at least five years from the completion of your sentence. This includes probation, safety programs, jail time, payment of fines or fees, etc. 

If you qualify under these terms, it is time to start building your case. The Canadian government is looking for proof that you have turned your life around and moved past your criminal charges. You should be accepting responsibility for your actions, and expressing how you have made changes in your life. 

The documents required for a Criminal Rehabilitation include:

  • Passport and/or Travel Documents
  • Court documents from any cases involving you – this includes charges, verdict,  sentencing, and any affiliated documents
  • Any documents relating to your sentencing – this includes probation/parole details, completion certificates, any receipts for fees paid, etc. 
  • Federal Criminal History Record – from any country in which you have resided for 6 months or more
  • For U.S. Citizens: State Level Criminal History Records – from any state in which you have resided for 6 months or more

Suggested additional documents:

  • Letter of explanation detailing the circumstances of your conviction and how you have made changes in your life
  • Reference letters 

Getting a head start on this application now is a great idea, as processing on these applications can take months, especially when the border is busy!