If you have been deemed criminally inadmissible to Canada due to past criminal convictions, you will need special permission to enter Canada such as a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation. However, depending on certain circumstances, you may become “rehabilitated”, and you will not be considered inadmissible any more.
Because the processing time for Criminal Rehabilitation applications is much longer than for TRP applications and the requirements differ, you may be eligible to apply for both at the same time. This means you could gain immediate, temporary entry to Canada with a TRP while your application for Criminal Rehabilitation is in process.
If you need to enter Canada sooner than one year from now, find out if you can apply for a TRP to gain entry to Canada urgently.
In certain situations, you are automatically deemed to be rehabilitated. In other situations you may apply for Criminal Rehabilitation in order to become admissible to Canada and enter the country without a Temporary Resident Permit.
- About Criminal Inadmissibility
- About Criminal Rehabilitation - Crimes Committed Outside of Canada
- About Criminal Rehabilitation - Crimes Committed Inside of Canada
- Temporary Resident Permits (TRPs)
- Approval or Refusal of Your Application
- Processing Time
To determine inadmissibility, foreign laws and convictions are equated to Canadian laws as if the crime(s) had occurred in Canada.
Any person who wants to enter Canada as a visitor, worker, student, or permanent resident will be considered inadmissible if they:
- Were convicted of an offence in Canada;
- Were convicted of an offence outside Canada that is considered a crime within Canada;
- Committed an act that would be considered criminal in Canada but were not caught, charged, or convicted.
For charges that were:
- Withdrawn, or
- Dismissed, or
- Absolutely or Conditionally Discharged,
if the offence occurred in Canada, you are not inadmissible. If the offence occurred outside Canada, you may be inadmissible.
If a Pardon was granted or your record was suspended under the Criminal Records Act and the offence occurred in Canada you are not criminally inadmissible. If the offence occurred outside Canada, you may be criminally inadmissible.
Criminal Rehabilitation – Crimes Committed Outside Canada
If you committed an offence or received a conviction outside Canada, you may become rehabilitated in two ways:
- You may apply for rehabilitation.
- You may be deemed rehabilitated.
To be deemed rehabilitated, a certain amount of time must have passed since your sentence - time served, probation, or a fine - was completed.
Please see the following table to determine how much time must have passed since the completion of your sentence for you to typically be deemed rehabilitated.
|Offence||Deemed Rehabilitated After Sentence Completion|
|Equivalent of an Indictable Offence punishable by less than 10 years’ imprisonment||10 years|
|Equivalent of an Indictable Offence punishable by more than 10 years’ imprisonment||0 – Never deemed rehabilitated, you must apply.|
|Equivalent of 2 or more Summary Offences||5 years|
|Equivalent of 1 Summary Offence||0 (not inadmissible, can come to Canada without problems)|
|Please note that even if your offence falls into one of the categories above and you should be deemed rehabilitated, it is always at the border officer’s discretion whether to allow you to enter Canada – even if you meet the requirements, the officer could still make a determination that you are inadmissible.|
If you have committed more than 1 indictable offence, you are never deemed rehabilitated; you must apply for criminal rehabilitation.
For purposes of criminal inadmissibility, a summary offence is roughly equivalent to a misdemeanor, and an indictable offence is roughly equivalent to a felony in the United States.
If the necessary time has not passed for you to be deemed rehabilitated automatically, you may apply for rehabilitation if at least 5 years have passed since you completed your sentence. To apply for rehabilitation, you must be able to show that you lead a stable lifestyle, since your conviction have not been, and will not be involved in criminal activity.
|Offence||Eligible to Apply for Rehabilitation After Sentence Completion|
|Equivalent of an Indictable Offence punishable by less than 10 years’ imprisonment||5 years|
|Equivalent of an Indictable Offence punishable by more than 10 years’ imprisonment||5 years|
|Equivalent of 2 or more Summary Offences||0 – you are automatically deemed rehabilitated 5 years after sentence completion and do not need to apply|
|Equivalent of 1 Summary Offence||0 (not inadmissible)|
|Please note that even if should be deemed rehabilitated, it is always at the border officer’s discretion whether to allow you to enter Canada – even if you meet the requirements, the officer could still make a determination that you are inadmissible.|
People who have committed crimes outside Canada but have not been caught, charged, or convicted are also technically inadmissible to Canada. While it is not possible for an immigration officer to know you have committed these crimes and determine that you are inadmissible unless you disclose this information to them, it is not recommended that you hide any offence. Failure to disclose information may be treated as misrepresentation and is a crime.
Rehabilitation – Crimes Committed Within Canada
If you have been convicted of a crime in Canada, you must apply for a record suspension, formerly known as a pardon, before you will be admissible to Canada. If your convictions occurred only in Canada, you need only the record suspension and do not need to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation to become admissible to Canada.
You can apply for a record suspension (pardon) with the Parole Board of Canada at:
Parole Board of Canada
Clemency and Record Suspension Division
410 Laurier Avenue West
Telephone: 1-800-874-2652 (Callers in Canada and the United States only)
(The instructions and application forms can be downloaded from the website)
If you have been convicted of crimes both inside and outside Canada, you will need both a pardon and an approval of Criminal Rehabilitation to become admissible to Canada.
If you have been granted a pardon, you should send a copy to IRCC and carry a copy of it with you if you plan to come to Canada.
How to Calculate the 5 Year Waiting Period:
|Sentence||Date Eligible to Apply for Rehab|
|Suspended Sentence||5 years from date of sentencing|
|Suspended Sentence with fine||5 years from date last payment of fine was made|
|Imprisonment without parole||5 years from last date of imprisonment|
|Imprisonment and parole||5 years from completion of parole|
|Probation||5 years from completion of probation|
|Prohibition from Driving||5 years from end of prohibition|
If 5 years have not yet elapsed since the date of the completion of your sentence, you must apply for special permission to enter Canada known as a Temporary Resident Permit. You can apply for this document at the port of entry (Canadian land border or airport customs) at the time you travel, or you may apply before you travel by submitting an application to the Canadian Visa Office (Canadian Embassy) in the country where you live. Please see our page on Temporary Resident Permits for further information.
Approval or Refusal of Criminal Rehabilitation Application
When your application is received, an officer will determine if you are eligible to apply. If you are, he or she will make a recommendation for approval or refusal of the application (although this recommendation will not always be followed) and forward it to the manager of the local office who can make the final decision. For applications with very serious offences, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship may make the final decision on your application. You will be advised in writing whether the application has been approved or refused.
Some of the factors that influence whether the application is approved or refused are:
- The number of criminal offences on your record
- The seriousness of each offence
- Your explanation of the offences
- Your behavior since you committed the offence
- Why you are not likely to re-offend
- Your present circumstances
- Support you receive from your community
- Why you believe you are rehabilitated
Criminal Rehabilitation Processing Time
Applications for Criminal Rehabilitation take an average of 18 months to process. If you need to enter Canada sooner, you should apply for a Temporary Resident Permit.
Basic Requirements for Criminal Rehabilitation
You must provide:
- Proof that 5 years have elapsed since completion of your sentence;
- (photocopy) ID page of your passport;
- (US Citizens only) copy of your US birth certificate and US driver’s license if you do not have a passport;
- (photocopy) court judgement against you;
- (photocopy) laws you were charged under;
- (photocopy) documents related to sentencing such as parole, probation, court records, etc;
- (original) criminal clearance;
- (if you have lived in the US) original state clearance and FBI clearance;
- (original) if you were a juvenile offender, documents pertaining to this.
Cost of Criminal Rehabilitation
Immigroup fees are on a case-by-case basis, but service fees usually range from around $1500 for the most basic application to around $3000 for more complicated matters. Top Priority service for clients who need their application processed urgently carries additional costs.
If you do not know where you stand, whether you are eligible to enter Canada, or how to proceed contact us for assistance.
In addition to the legal fees paid to a consultant or lawyer to assist you with this process, the applicant must also pay a fee to the Canadian government for filing their application.
The fee for approval of Rehabilitation is usually CDN$200.
However, if approval of the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is required, the fee becomes $1000. Applications should be submitted with the $200 fee enclosed. If an additional $800 is required for completion of the application, you will be advised to provide the additional funds.
Fees paid in conjunction with a Criminal Rehabilitation application are not refundable, even if the application is refused.
All information on this page was sourced directly from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada at www.cic.gc.ca.