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Criminal Rehabilitation


YOU SELECTED THIS OPTION BECAUSE:You have a criminal record and need a permanent solution to your entry into Canada. (Full Pardon)

So what does an approved Rehabilitation look like anyway?

Click here for a sample approved Criminal Rehabilitation.

If you have a criminal record chances are you are “inadmissible” to Canada and will be effectively barred from entering the country. To overcome your inadmissibility, you will need to file for “criminal rehabilitation” or what is commonly referred to as a “pardon”.

Unfortunately for many of our US friends, the Canadian immigration act will treat 95 percent of criminal offences, including misdemeanor DUIs and reckless driving offences, as “inadmissible” offences and thus requiring criminal rehabilitation.

Another group of applicants adversely impacted by inadmissibility consist of foreign spouses who wish to permanently live in Canada. A Canadian wife who wishes to sponsor her US husband will not be permitted to commence proceedings until her husband is “rehabilitated” under the rehabilitation program. Similarly, a Canadian employer will not be able to permanently sponsor a foreign worker until rehabilitation is approved. For both of these groups, temporary waivers are the only way to legally live in Canada (until rehabilitation is formally approved).

Last but not least, we have applicants who are inadmissible under grounds of “serious criminality”. While very similar to the regular process, the process for obtaining a successful decision on an application for criminal rehabilitation under serious criminality is a lot more onerous in terms of paperwork. Popular offences that fall under “serious criminality” include “breaking and entering at a residence” and drug trafficking (including “possession with intent to sale or distribute” offences) (and including marijuana).

In general, a mere traffic offence (with the important exception of a DUI, “Wet Reckless” or Reckless or “Category 1 Careless in WA”) does not constitute inadmissibility.

There are temporary and permanent ways to cure your inadmissibility. Criminal rehabilitation refers to the permanent option. For information about ways to overcome your inadmissibility temporarily and generally expeditiously at the border/airport, please refer to our Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) section of the web site.

When can you submit an application for Criminal Rehabilitation?

Depending on the type of conviction, an applicant may file for criminal rehabilitation to permanently cure his inadmissibility five years after completing his sentence, including the latter of probation/parole, restricted/loss of driving privileges, restitution payment and/or fine, etc. An applicant who is on a Sex Offender’s Registry is generally permanently barred from filing an application for criminal rehabilitation because, unless he’s able to remove his name from the list, he can never “complete” his sentence.

An application for rehabilitation is filed outside of Canada. US citizens may file a “rehab” at the Canadian Consulate of New York or Los Angeles. Citizens of the UK or Germany may file at the Canadian Embassy.

If you haven’t reached the five-year mark, you will have no other course of action but to seek to defer or expunge the charge at its source, or by applying for a temporary resident permit (TRP) at the border/point-of-entry or consulate/Embassy.

Upon receiving a positive decision for rehabilitation, the applicant becomes admissible and may travel to Canada without impediments subject to meeting the other requirements of the Immigration Refugee and Protection Act (IRPA).

Types of rehabilitation applications and firm deliverables:

  • Regular Rehabilitation – Consulate/Embassy. Firm will prepare a cover letter, assemble supporting documents, provide assistance with certain essential documents (see above), provide police clearance certificates as required, and otherwise correspond with Citizenship Immigration Canada (CIC) on behalf of the client along with full access to the firm practitioner throughout the adjudication of the rehabilitation case.
  • Regular Rehabilitation under Serious Criminality – Consulate/Embassy. Same as under the Regulation Rehabilitation but with more evidence of “rehabilitative” factors. An application for criminal rehabilitation under serious criminality will generally involve more robust letters of support (that our firm can help draft or prepare) and generally from the professional community that is relevant to the offence.
  • Spousal Rehabilitation. Same as under the Regular Rehabilitation but the firm will complement the filing with an intricate review of the Spousal Undertaking application, and coordinate the spousal/common-law process until both files are completed. If residing in Canada, the firm will generally supplement the rehabilitation paperwork with an application for a temporary waiver (temporary resident permit) (TRP) so the couple can remain together.
  • Worker Rehabilitation. Similar to the spousal rehabilitation, firm will complement the filing with an intricate review of the work permit or permanent resident forms under arranged employment on the employee’s behalf. The firm will generally supplement the rehabilitation paperwork with an application for a temporary waiver (temporary resident permit) (TRP) so the foreign worker can begin work in Canada while the “rehab” is adjudicated at the consulate or Embassy.
  • Streamlined Rehabilitation – at the Point-of-Entry. For a lucky few, a foreign person may qualify for a “streamlined rehabilitation” directly at the border/airport. The most common streamlined “rehabs” consist of those with “non-serious” offences, with a single tarnish on their record and whose sentence was completed over 10 years ago, and where imprisonment was limited to less than 6 months.

Preparation of a good rehabilitation case, no matter how bland the offence, is time consuming and requires detailed work. If an application for criminal rehabilitation contains the slightly omission or incomplete documentation, the application is kicked back to the applicant and you will have wasted 6 months of processing time.

Given the complexity of a rehabilitation cases, we urge applicants to use an experienced licensed practitioner whose core practice area is admissibility (such as this firm). Should you have an upcoming need to be in Canada (whether imminently, in the next several months or even next year) and are considering clearing the way for your trip or just clearing the record in case a trip is desired, an application for a criminal rehabilitation might be advisable.

Firm Deliverables with Respect to Applications for Criminality Rehabilitation:

  • Assess eligibility to file for rehabilitation and likelihood of a positive outcome (this is generally covered in an Admissibility Consultation)
  • Preparation of all government forms
  • Legal Research
  • Obtaining of court documents (if requested)
  • Assistance in the obtaining of police reports (including Canadian fingerprints if applicable)
  • Assembly of relevant supporting documentation
  • Assistance with letters of support (guidance/drafting for consideration, etc.)
  • Equivalency report under the Canadian Criminal Code or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act or any other relevant Act of Parliament
  • Interview preparation at the consulate (if required)
  • Interview preparation at the point-of-entry (mandatory)
  • Representation before CBSA/CIC and other government agencies on the Client’s behalf on all official correspondences (usually by e-mail but may also occur over the phone or fax)
  • Unlimited (but reasonable) access to the firm practitioner throughout the adjudication of application and until safe entry into Canada
  • Hotline number when entering Canada in case of an issue at the point-of-entry/airport

Contact our US head office at 214-295-6051 or toll free 888-827-6605 to schedule an initial consultation with the practitioner. To reach our Canadian office, you may call 514-461-1399. Appointments are available via the phone or at any of our US locations, subject to availability.