Foreigners who wish to visit Canada may be turned back at the border because of their criminal records. However, all hope is not lost. Even if you have been deemed inadmissible at the border, there are other things you can do to be deemed rehabilitated.
You can apply to be deemed rehabilitated, apply for criminal rehabilitation, or apply for a temporary resident permit. All the methods listed above have a slightly different application process.
In this article, we will focus on the ‘criminal rehabilitation process. Here, we will explain what criminal rehabilitation refers to and how you can apply for rehabilitation.
Afterward, we will list everything you should know about criminal rehabilitation in Canada. The process of applying for criminal rehabilitation will be explained as well. When applying, you will need to submit some documents; we will list the documents that you will need to complete the process.
Finally, we will explain the other step you can take if you are not approved for criminal rehabilitation.
If you wish to apply for criminal rehabilitation, we recommend that you read this article thoroughly.
What is Canadian Criminal Rehabilitation?
Criminal rehabilitation refers to a situation whereby a foreigner who is inadmissible to Canada applies to be rehabilitated.
Hence, the foreigner’s criminal record is absolved and it is no longer the basis for the foreigner to be inadmissible to Canada. Therefore, the foreigner will be able to travel to Canada as they wish.
Importantly, not all foreigners are eligible for criminal rehabilitation. If you wish to apply, you should first check that you meet the conditions. The conditions that make you eligible to apply for criminal rehabilitation are listed below;
– You were convicted of an offense outside of Canada.
– The punishment for the offense in Canada is up to 10 years in prison.
– You have completed your sentence and all the conditions attached to the sentence.
– It has been at least 5 years since you completed your sentence and all the attached conditions.
– You have not been convicted since completing the last sentence.
Everything you should know about criminal rehabilitation in Canada
1. If you were convicted of a summary or indictable offense within Canada, you are not eligible for criminal rehabilitation.
If you committed an offense on a previous visit to Canada, you may be deemed inadmissible to Canada afterward.
However, you will be unable to apply for criminal rehabilitation. Instead, you should apply for a criminal record suspension.
The process of getting a criminal record suspension is not the same as the process for getting criminal rehabilitation. We recommend that you hire an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer.
2. You can apply for criminal rehabilitation if you committed an offense within and outside Canada.
If you have a criminal record that shows offenses within and outside Canada, you should apply for criminal rehabilitation. Afterward, you should also apply for a criminal record suspension. This process is time-consuming and expensive.
Before applying for a criminal record suspension or criminal rehabilitation, ensure that you meet all the requirements.
3. Five years must have passed since your sentence ended before you can apply for criminal rehabilitation.
The 5-year count begins after you have finished your prison sentence, paid court-ordered fines and completed community service.
4. If you need to visit Canada less than 5 years after the completion of your sentence, you can apply for a temporary resident permit. If you have a valid reason for visiting Canada, you may be given a permit.
With the temporary resident permit, you will be able to visit Canada for the period the permit is valid. After the temporary resident permit expires, you will be deemed inadmissible to Canada.
Some individuals are granted multiple-entry temporary resident permits. This will let them leave and enter Canada as they wish until the permit expires. This is an expensive and temporary solution to being deemed inadmissible to Canada.
5. If 10 years have passed since you completed your sentence, you may not need to apply for criminal rehabilitation. Individuals who have one misdemeanor or minor felony on their criminal record may be deemed rehabilitated.
To be deemed rehabilitated, you must have completed your sentence. Furthermore, 10 years must have passed since you completed your sentence.
If you qualify for deemed rehabilitation, you can skip the criminal rehabilitation process. Importantly, you do not qualify to be deemed rehabilitated if the offense you committed is a serious felony or has a 10-year minimum sentence.
To be deemed rehabilitated, you will need to get to a border, entry port, Canadian embassy or consulate with all your documents.
If you are not deemed rehabilitated, you can apply for criminal rehabilitation. If you need to visit Canada urgently, you can apply for a temporary resident permit.
6. The time it will take to process your application varies
There is no guarantee that your application will be processed quickly. The officer that assesses your application may perform thorough checks and this could lengthen the time that it will take to process your criminal rehabilitation application. Some other things that may affect the processing time for your application include:
– How many convictions are on your record?
If you have committed multiple offenses outside Canada, it could take longer to process your application.
– The severity of the offense or offenses you committed.
The immigration official may need more time to deliberate if an individual that committed a serious offense should be approved for criminal rehabilitation
– Are there facts that need to be verified?
If you claim to be rehabilitated, and stable, the official may need to cross-check this information. Furthermore, they may need to confirm that you have completed your sentence. This will lengthen the time that it takes to process an application for criminal rehabilitation.
– How complex or straightforward is the application?
It will be faster to process the application of an individual who has one misdemeanor or felony on their record. However, if the individual has multiple convictions within and outside Canada, it will take longer to process their application.
– Did you submit all the necessary documents?
Submitting all required documents will give the immigration official all the information they need to process your application. If you do not submit everything, you may be called and asked to provide other documents.
Furthermore, your application may be rejected due to the absence of supporting documents and information.
Failure to submit all the necessary documents will lengthen the time that it will take to process your application.
7. The cost of applying for criminal rehabilitation varies
When you apply for criminal rehabilitation, you will need to pay an application fee. This fee is not refundable and will not be returned to you even if your application is denied.
The application fee ranges from 200 to 1000 dollars. The fee that you will pay is determined by the severity of the offense you committed. Individuals with a minor offense on their record may pay 200 dollars for their application.
However, people with multiple offenses or a serious felony on their record will have to pay up to 1000 dollars to apply for criminal rehabilitation.
8. You may need to hire an immigration lawyer
If you are unsure of the application process for criminal rehabilitation, you may have to hire a lawyer. The lawyer will ensure that you have all the necessary documentation needed to be approved for rehabilitation.
Also, the lawyer will advise you on how to write statements, acquire documents and convince the official to review your application. If you will be interviewed, the lawyer will also advise you on how to answer the questions you will be asked.
9. It could take over 1 year for your application to be processed
The application for criminal rehabilitation could take 12-18 months to be processed. Therefore, if you are inadmissible to Canada but need to travel to Canada urgently, you should apply for a temporary resident permit first.
How to apply for criminal rehabilitation
Below is the procedure you need to follow to apply for criminal rehabilitation;
1. Download and fill the application form: Ensure that the information on the form is accurate and up to date. If the information on the form is inaccurate, your application may be denied and you may be penalized for being dishonest. After filling the form, you need to sign and date the form.
2. Attach the necessary documents
3. Pay the application fee: To begin the application process, you will need to pay a criminal rehabilitation application fee.
4. Submit your application: After filling the form, attaching the important documents and paying the application fee, you can submit your application form. The form should be sent to the Canadian consulate.
Canadian Consulate in New York
1251 6th Ave
New York, NY 10020, USA
This is not the same address where you send an application for a temporary resident permit.
Documents that you will need to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation
These are the documents that you should attach to the application form.
- A valid passport and other means of identification
- A recent passport photograph
- A recent clearance certificate from the Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI)
- Recent police certificate from the state where you were charged with an offense
- A police certificate from every state where you have lived for at least 6 months. Every police certificate you submit should not have been acquired more than 6 months before you submit your application. If your police certificate is old, you will need to submit an updated certificate.
- Court documents that concern your previous convictions. The court documents must contain information about the charges, hearing, and sentencing details.
If you have been convicted for an offense in Canada, you should also include all documents concerning the case.
- Documents that show how the sentence was imposed and evidence on how you completed the sentence.
- The documents show you have paid fines and court-ordered compensations. Evidence that you paid probation and supervisory fees.
- Letter from a correctional officer or probation officer stating that you are of good behavior
- A reference letter from individuals like your superior at work, attesting to your character.
- Evidence that you have completed court-ordered programs (if applicable):
– Proof that you attended counseling or therapy
– Proof that you completed community service
– Evidence that you have attended rehabilitation programs
These documents should also state when you completed the programs.
- An employment letter. This letter should contain the date when you started the job and should include your responsibilities in the office.
- If your criminal record has been expunged, you should include documents concerning the expungement. Similarly, if your records are sealed, you should divulge this information. Submit all information and documents that explain the details of the misdemeanor or felony.
- Documents that concern your family. These include marriage certificates, birth certificates, divorce papers, and custody agreements.
The documents on this list will be used to determine if you qualify for criminal rehabilitation. The documents that you will have to submit will be determined by the circumstances surrounding your conviction.
If you do not submit all the necessary documents, your application could be denied. Even if your application is not denied, it may take longer to process your application.
If you have submitted all the listed documents and do not qualify for criminal rehabilitation, you still have another option. You can apply for a temporary resident permit.
In conclusion, we recommend self-assessment to determine if you are eligible to receive criminal rehabilitation. If you are qualified, you can proceed with the application process. You can improve your chances of being approved by hiring an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer.