Have you been convicted of and/or committed a crime outside Canada? If you are now living outside Canada, you are currently criminally inadmissible to Canada because you have committed or been convicted of a crime. But that does not mean you can never return to Canada. You may be able to convince immigration authorities that you should be allowed to be able to return to Canada, despite your criminal conviction. How do you do that?

Criminal Rehabilitation

Depending on the seriousness and recency of your past criminal activity, you may be eligible to apply for a criminal rehabilitation or may be considered of what is called deemed rehabilitated. If your criminal rehabilitation application is approved or you are deemed rehabilitated, you will not be considered inadmissible to Canada any more, and your admission will be subject to the normal examination procedure at a port of entry to Canada.

What is Criminal Rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation means that you are unlikely to commit any further criminal activity and you have been living a stable productive lifestyle since your last offence. Rehabilitation removes the grounds of your criminal inadmissibility. For you to be considered rehabilitated, you must also not have committed any further crimes since you were last convicted of a crime.

Are You Eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation or Deemed Rehabilitation?

The following chart is a summary for offences convicted or committed outside of Canada:

Type of OffenceTime since your sentence completedEligible to Apply for RehabilitationDeemed Rehabilitated
An offence committed outside Canada that would lead to a sentence of LESS than 10 years if committed in Canada5 years after the commission of the offenceYesNo
10 years after the commission of the offenceYes
An offence you were convicted of outside Canada that would lead to a sentence of LESS than 10 years if committed in Canada5 years after completion of the sentence imposedYesNo
10 years after completion of the sentence imposedYes
An offence you were convicted of or committed outside of Canada that would lead to a sentence of MORE than 10 years in Canada5 years after completion of the sentence imposedYesNot applicable
10 years after completion of the sentence imposedNot applicable
2 or more offences you were convicted of outside Canada that in Canada would be Summary Conviction Offences5 years after the sentences imposed were served or to be servedNot applicableYes
10 years after the sentences imposed were served or to be served

A Summary Conviction is a criminal act that can be proceeded “summarily”, without the right to a trial by jury and without an indictment. It involves less serious offences for which the charges in Canada are generally a $5,000 fine and up to 6 months detention. They are different from Indictable offences which require an indictment and a trial process to evaluate the evidence, because they involve more serious criminal acts.

Notice the difference between being “deemed” rehabilitated and “apply” for rehabilitation. Being deemed rehabilitated is an automatic process where once the necessary period of time has passed – 10 years in this case – you are considered to have been rehabilitated. That is, Canadian immigration authorities consider that you are no longer a threat to commit a crime and you can therefore apply to enter Canada under the normal process.

If you have been convicted as a juvenile – in Canada a young offender is someone who is 12 years or older and younger than 18 years – then the following rules govern whether you are criminally inadmissible to Canada:

Type of Sentence as a JuvenileAdmissible to Canada
You were convicted under the Young Offenders Act or the Youth Criminal Justice Act – but NOT as an adultYes
Treated as a young offender in a country which has special provisions for juvenile offendersYes
Convicted in a country that does not have special provisions for juvenile offenders but your conviction would NOT have resulted in your being charged as an adult in CanadaYes
Convicted in an Adult court in a country that has special provisions for juvenile offendersNo
Convicted in a country that does not have special provisions for juvenile offenders, but your conviction would have resulted in your being charged as an adult in CanadaNo

Applying for Criminal Rehabilitation

Being eligible to apply for rehabilitation means that you must apply for rehabilitation. That means you must gather the correct documents and fill out truthfully and completely the application form IMM 1444 Application for Criminal Rehabilitation. It is a fairly simple form where you list personal information as well as the crime(s) you were convicted of and the addresses you have lived at since you completed 18 years of age. Because this form will be carefully reviewed by immigration authorities to determine if you are eligible for rehabilitation, you must ensure it is accurate and legible.

As well you should carefully read the document checklist to make sure you have all the required forms and documents. This includes:

  • Form IMM 1444 Application for Criminal Rehabilitation
  • Form IMM 5476 Use of a Representative
  • Copies of the following documents:
    • Passport Pages showing name, date of birth, place of birth
    • US Citizens can instead provide Driver’s License & Birth Certificate
    • All Court Judgements made against you with charges clearly shown
    • The laws you were convicted under – contact police or judicial authorities for copies of the appropriate laws
    • Any documents related to sentences imposed, parole, probation, or pardon
  • Originals of the following documents:
    • Criminal clearance letter from police authorities in all countries you have lived in for 6 consecutive months or longer since you turned 18
    • If you have lived in the United States please provide a State Certificate for each State of the US that you have lived in for 6 consecutive months AND a national FBI Certificate
    • If you were a juvenile offender please provide a letter from the authorities stating that the country has special measures for juvenile offenders
    • If you are applying from outside Canada, please provide the internet receipt that you must print once you have paid your fees online

If the offence is committed in Canada, you have to apply for a Record Suspension (formerly known as “Pardon”) from the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) in order to overcome your inadmissibility. If you have offences committed both inside and outside of Canada, you will need to apply for both criminal rehabilitation and record suspension. You must first obtain a record suspension before you then apply for rehabilitation. If, however, you only have 1 summary conviction in Canada, you can apply for rehabilitation while applying for a record suspension at the same time. You must provide evidence to immigration authorities that you have also applied for a record suspension.

The PBC contact information is:

Parole Board of Canada
Clemency and Record Suspension Division
410 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0R1
1-800-874-2652 (Callers in Canada and the United States only)
Fax: 1-613-941-4981

Criminal Rehabilitation Fees

Your processing fees should be paid online using a valid Credit Card or Canadian debit card. Go here for more information on how to pay online. You will also need an email address and access to a printer to print out your payment receipt. The fees involved are:

Inadmissible on grounds of criminality$200$155 (as of July 2018)
Inadmissible on grounds of serious criminality$1000$770 (as of July 2018)

If you are applying outside Canada, send your application with a copy of your payment receipt to the nearest visa office. Go here for more information.

Can’t Wait to Be Criminally Rehabilitated?

If you have to come to Canada but the 5 years required to apply for rehabilitation have not yet passed, you have the option of:

  • Applying for a Temporary Residence Permit (TRP) which is a document that gives you permission to enter Canada despite the fact that you remain inadmissible. To apply for a TRP:
    • You should have valid reasons to come to Canada, AND
    • It has been less than 5 years since the end of your sentence
  • Complete and submit your Application for Criminal Rehabilitation IMM 1444 but check the box that says “For information only” in your application. Make sure you attach the required documents that must accompany form IMM 1444 listed above.

Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant Mary Zhang has years of experience. Contact her at Maxcan’s office in Markham, Ontario. Maxcan’s offices are easily accessible from anywhere in the Greater Toronto Area.