Applications for Criminal Rehabilitation

Applications for Criminal Rehabilitation

Applications for Criminal Rehabilitation

What Is Criminal Inadmissibility?

If you have been charged with, or convicted of, a crime outside of Canada, you may be determined by Canadian immigration authorities to be criminally inadmissible to Canada.

Allegations of criminal inadmissibility can arise if the Canadian immigration authorities are concerned that you have a history of criminal behaviour abroad, whether in your home country, or in any other country. The type of criminality that can give rise to allegations of inadmissibility can vary, but are not limited to only the most serious offences.

The types of criminal behaviour that we typically see in those determined to be inadmissible are:

  • Criminal convictions that included prison sentences for any number of years, which can range from murder, attempted murder, assault, sexual assault, or white-collar crime;
  • Drunk driving charges or convictions; or
  • Drug possession charges or convictions.

If you have any criminal activity in your past, and if you think that a simple background search about you would raise these charges or convictions, then you may be found criminally inadmissible to Canada, and denied entry to the country whether you are seeking entry for temporary or short-term residence here.

There is, however, a way to overcome this foreign criminality, and that is by making an application for criminal rehabilitation. It is always best to speak with an immigration lawyer to determine whether this type of application is necessary, and the best way to overcome any perceived criminality.

Is an application for criminal rehabilitation necessary?

When deciding whether to go down this road, the first question that needs to be answered is whether this sort of an application is actually necessary. The factors that will help you answer this question are:

  1. Were you only charged, or also convicted, of a criminal offence?
  2. Was it only one conviction, or multiple convictions?
  3. How long ago did the conviction happen?
  4. If convicted, when did you complete your sentence?
  5. Have you been pardoned, or had your record expunged, in the place where you were convicted?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you may or may not be required to make an application for criminal rehabilitation.

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If you have to make an application for criminal rehabilitation:

To make an application for criminal rehabilitation, you need to satisfy an immigration officer that you will not pose a future risk to Canada or Canadian society.

The nature of your criminality will have an impact on the sort of material you must include in your application, but at the very minimum, you must include as much information as possible about your past offences, and how they were disposed of at the Court.

This requires, depending on where you live, criminal background checks, court documents, and any evidence of rehabilitation efforts you have already made.

As well as information about your conviction, it also helps to include information about your character, to help demonstrate to an immigration officer that you have a low chance of re-offending.

When can you apply?

The Government of Canada’s website gives a good overview of when you can make an application for criminal rehabilitation:

If you were convicted of an offence outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be an indictable offence punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than ten years:

  • You are deemed rehabilitated: at least ten years after completion of the sentence imposed.
  • You are eligible to apply for criminal rehabilitation: five years after completion of the sentence imposed.

If you committed an offence outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be an indictable offence punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than ten years:

  • You are deemed rehabilitated: at least ten years after commission of the offence.
  • You are eligible to apply for rehabilitation: five years after commission of the offence.

If you were convicted of an offence or you committed an offence outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or more:

  • You are deemed rehabilitated: not applicable.
  • You are eligible to apply for rehabilitation: five years from completion of the sentence or commission of the offence.

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What happens once you get your application approved?

If your application for criminal rehabilitation is approved, it means that you will no longer be considered inadmissible on any criminal grounds in Canada. As long as you do not re-offend, you will no longer be barred from entering Canada on criminal grounds.

If approved, this does not mean that you do not have to overcome all the other requirements of entry into Canada, but your criminality should not be an obstacle at that point, and you will not have to apply again.

It is important to seriously consider your options for whether or not you should make an application for criminal rehabilitation. You may be required to make this application, or may already be deemed to be rehabilitated, and not need to go through the process of applying and waiting for a decision to be made. No matter what, it is important to speak with an experienced immigration lawyer to consider your options, and decide on the best way forward to ensure that you are given no problems with your temporary or permanent residence application.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to apply for criminal rehabilitation?

Generally speaking, expect the application process to take anywhere between 12 and 18 months, however, there are waiting periods that must be honoured before you are eligible to apply.

Is there a government processing fee for applying for criminal rehabilitation?

Like almost all immigration applications in Canada, yes. However, the fee is different depending on the nature of the criminality. For regular criminality, the government processing fee is $200, but for serious criminality, the fee is $1,000.

We Can Help

Hummingbird Lawyers LLP has experienced immigration lawyers. We can help you with your Applications for Criminal Rehabilitation. Get in touch with us.

Adam Hummel is an Associate Lawyer in the Immigration practice, and Wills & Estates practice groups at Hummingbird Lawyers LLP.

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