How to Apply for Criminal Rehabilitation as per Canadian Immigration Laws?

One of the standard eligibility criteria for getting a Canadian visa is not having a criminal record or past conviction. Authorities take this clause quite seriously, and it can be a major cause for inadmissibility in the country. However, if you still want to start life on a fresh note in Canada, there is a way to expunge your records. You can apply for criminal rehabilitation. It is a consideration offered by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

What is criminal rehabilitation as per Canadian immigration laws?

Criminal rehabilitation is the process of pardoning an individual with a criminal record so that they may be allowed to enter Canada. To be eligible for criminal rehabilitation, you must have completed your sentence and at least five years must have passed since then.

You must also demonstrate that you have been rehabilitated and are not likely to re-offend. The eligibility has multiple clauses which apply and varies in each case, based on the nature of the crime and how it would have been apprehended by the Canadian judicial system. If your criminal rehabilitation is approved by the Canadian immigration authorities, it removes the cause for inadmissibility. Click here to know more about denied entry or inadmissibility in Canada.

How do I apply for criminal rehabilitation?

You can apply for criminal rehabilitation online or by mail. The application process can take up to two years, so it’s important to start as soon as possible. You will need to provide information about your criminal history, sentence, and efforts at rehabilitation. You will also need to pay a processing fee.

Once your application is received, it will be reviewed by an immigration officer who will decide whether or not you are eligible for criminal rehabilitation. If your application is approved, you will receive a pardon from the Government of Canada which will allow you to enter the country.

What are the requirements for criminal rehabilitation?

 To be eligible for criminal rehabilitation, you must have:

  • Been convicted of a crime; and
  • Completed your sentence (including any probation or parole).
  • Been convicted of an offence outside of Canada.
  • Demonstrate that you are reformed and pose no risk to Canadian society.
  • Be of good character (this will be determined by a Canadian immigration officer).

You must also wait at least five years after completing your sentence before applying for criminal rehabilitation. If you have not yet completed your sentence, you may still be eligible if you can show that there are exceptional circumstances.

In addition, you must demonstrate that you have been rehabilitated by showing that:

  • You have changed your behaviour and no longer pose a risk to society; and/or
  • The crime was an isolated incident and is not likely to happen again.

To apply for criminal rehabilitation, you will need:

  • A copy of your court documents;
  • A police certificate from each country where you have lived for six months or more.

If you meet the criteria, you can then apply for criminal rehabilitation by filling out an application form and submitting it along with supporting documents to the nearest Canadian visa office. The processing time for criminal rehabilitation applications can vary but is typically around six months.

If your application is successful, you will be granted criminal rehabilitation and will then be able to proceed with your immigration application. If your application is unsuccessful, you may still be able to apply for a pardon through the National Pardon Centre.


Criminal rehabilitation is a complex process and it is important to seek professional help if you are considering applying. An experienced immigration lawyer can assess your eligibility and give you the best chance of success. That’s where we come in. At Akrami & Associates, you will get help and guidance from a team of experienced immigration lawyers and consultants who have handled cases of criminal rehabilitation with positive outcomes in the past. You can reach us via mail at or simply give us a call at (416) 477-2545. Together we will find a way to get you to Canada for a better life.

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