Many people are disappointed to know that their travels to Canada may be affected due to their previous criminal convictions and, as a result, in them being deemed ‘inadmissible’ to Canada.
There are many ways to deal with criminal inadmissibility for the purposes of coming to Canada on either a temporary or permanent basis. Depending on your situation, below are some ways we can address your criminal inadmissibility:
1. Not all prior convictions will mean that you will be refused entry to Canada. Sometimes depending on your reason for entering Canada and your past conviction, the officer at the border might still let you in. For example, you need to enter Canada for an urgent business meeting, and you were convicted of a minor offence of disorderly conduct. Now, even though Disorderly Conduct is an offence, it is possible to argue at the border why the need is higher than the possible risk. Of course, it is still up to the officer at the border to decide if they want to let you know. But if you arrive at the border with the proper paperwork, it is possible you might be let in. So preparing the proper paperwork will be key to the officer allowing you to enter Canada.
2. There may be no equivalent under Canadian federal law for the foreign offence that is the subject of conviction. This is often a technical argument based on the fact that the Canadian offence has a more narrow interpretation than the foreign offence in question. To know this, we will need to know the foreign offence and then compare it to the Canadian Criminal Code. If the offence you were convicted of outside of Canada is not considered an offence in Canada, then you will be allowed entry.
3. Having your foreign conviction expunged might negate the inadmissibility to Canada.
4. Depending on how much time has elapsed, you may be deemed rehabilitated, and that might overcome your criminal inadmissibility as well. Depending on the type of offence and how many offences are on your record, you may be considered rehabilitated after 5 or 10 years from completing your sentence. The passage of enough time since the completion of the sentence, in the absence of subsequent convictions, may, in certain circumstances, be considered as deemed rehabilitation, and the offender would no longer be inadmissible to Canada.
5. You may also submit an application for rehabilitation. Once the application is submitted, you need to wait the processing times to see the decision made on your matter. Even when you are not eligible to submit a rehabilitation application, or you have submitted the application and are waiting for a decision, there is always the possibility of applying for a Temporary Resident Permit.
What is Criminal Rehabilitation?
Criminal Rehabilitation is needed for persons who are inadmissible to Canada. Once you are approved for rehabilitation, then, assuming no further offences are committed, the past conviction(s) will no longer be a barrier to Canadian temporary or permanent residency.
Remember that Canadian Criminal Rehabilitation can only be done for convictions outside of Canada. If you have been convicted of an offence while in Canada, depending on the circumstances, then you may need to apply for a Pardon.
Who Needs Criminal Rehabilitation?
An individual may be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation if they meet the following three criteria:
- They have committed an act outside of Canada that is considered an offence in Canada;
- They were convicted or admitted to committing the act; and
- At least five years have passed since the completion of sentencing (if any)
If you want to apply for Permanent Residency and you have a prior conviction, then you must be considered rehabilitated in order to receive Permanent Resident status. Applicants wishing to stay in Canada temporarily may have the option to pursue a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) instead of Rehabilitation. However, a TRP must be renewed, whereas successful rehabilitation permanently resolves the problem of criminal inadmissibility for future stays in Canada.
For temporary entry, only a TRP is needed. However, if you are eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation, then we advise you to still apply for the rehabilitation. However, if you wish to apply for PR or citizenship, then only Criminal Rehabilitation is accepted. Without this, your application may be returned or even refused.
How Do I Pursue Criminal Rehabilitation?
This is a good question. It really depends on the seriousness of the offence and how many offences are on your record.
Individuals who committed a single non-serious offence and more than 10 years have passed since the completion of any sentencing may be “deemed rehabilitated”. If this is the case, then you technically do not have to pursue a formal application for Criminal Rehabilitation. However, we still recommend that you obtain a letter from a legal expert that explains that you are “deemed rehabilitated.” Unfortunately, there are countless cases where clients have been refused entry into Canada because of their past criminality, even though they are considered deemed rehabilitated.
If less than 10 years ago have elapsed since you completed your sentence, then you will have to pursue an application for Criminal Rehabilitation. We can help here. At Akrami & Associates, we have successfully filed a Criminal Rehabilitation application.
A serious criminal offence, where the maximum sentence in Canada would be ten years or more, will always require a Rehabilitation application regardless of when sentencing was completed.
What is the First Step?
Determining equivalency is a difficult task. It requires analyzing both the Canadian Criminal Code or other federal statutes as well as the laws of the country in which the offence took place.
It is, for this reason, we highly advise you to speak to an Immigration Specialist. Please give us a call, and let us help you move forward!