How to Apply for Criminal Rehabilitation in Canada


Do you have a criminal record and wish to enter Canada? You may be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation.

Applying for Criminal Rehabilitation in Canada

Under Canada’s federal immigration legislation, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, individuals applying for temporary or permanent residence may be considered inadmissible to Canada if they have a criminal history. It may be possible to overcome that inadmissibility, however, through a record suspension and/or criminal rehabilitation.

If you have a criminal conviction in Canada, you must seek a record suspension (formerly referred to as a pardon) from the Parole Board of Canada. In order to be considered for a record suspension, a specified period of time must have elapsed since the end of the sentence imposed. The usual waiting period is 10 years for indictable offences and 5 years for summary convictions.

When Can I Apply for Criminal Rehabilitation in Canada?

If you have convictions/offences outside of Canada, you are eligible to apply for criminal rehabilitation if you have:

  • Been convicted of an offence outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be an indictable offence punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than ten years and five years have elapsed since completion of the sentence;
  • Committed an offence outside Canada, that, if committed in Canada, would be an indictable offence punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than ten years and five years have elapsed since commission of the offence;
  • Been convicted or committed an offence outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or more and five years have elapsed since completion of the sentence or commission of the offence.

(*If at least ten years have elapsed since conviction/commission of an indictable offence or five years have elapsed since conviction for two or more summary convictions, then you may be deemed rehabilitated. In such circumstances, you will not be required to apply for criminal rehabilitation; however, it may be prudent to seek an assessment of deemed rehabilitation by the consulate, High Commission or embassy in your area prior to seeking entry to Canada)

What If My Conviction Was Inside Canada?

If you have convictions in Canada and convictions/offences outside of Canada, both a record suspension and criminal rehabilitation will be required to overcome inadmissibility.

If, pursuant to the rules listed above, you are eligible to apply for criminal rehabilitation, then you will have to submit a detailed form and supporting documentation to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The supporting documentation includes copies of:

  • court judgments made against you;
  • foreign or Canadian laws under which you were charged; and,
  • any documents relating to sentence imposed, clearly showing when your sentence was completed.

You will also be required to submit original documentation of:

  • a criminal clearance from the police authorities in all countries (including Canada) where you have lived for six consecutive months or longer since the age of 18;
  • for people who have lived in the United States, a state clearance certificate from each state in which you have resided for six consecutive months or longer since the age of 18;
  • if you were a juvenile offender, a letter or document proving that the country in which you were convicted has special measures for juvenile offenders;

If My Offence Was Outside of Canada?

With respect to a criminal history outside of Canada, if:

  • your charges have been withdrawn or dismissed; or
  • you have received an absolute or conditional discharge; or
  • you have been granted a pardon,

then you may still be considered inadmissible to Canada. You will still be required to submit the above-noted documentation, and/or any other relevant documentation, to CIC so that an officer may determine whether or not you are inadmissible to Canada.

Can I still enter Canada if I don’t qualify for Canadian Criminal Rehabilitation?

If you don’t qualify, you still may be able to apply for entry. You could apply for a Temporary Residence Permit or a TRP in some cases where your conviction was more recent.

Do You Need Help With Your TRP Apllication?

The VisaPlace Group of Lawyers (VPGs) and their staff are all independent, licensed practitioners who understand how important it is for to you to achieve your immigration goals and have been trained to follow best practices and procedures to maximize your chances of success! Although seeing a TRP can be challenging in regards to a criminal past, we will do all we can to fulfill you immigration goals.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

  • Dr. Warren

    On Tuesday night, May 21, I was denied entrance to Canada, first time ever. Detained at Lewiston-Queenstown bridge for 2 hours. Inside immigration treated me well, and professionally, outside they ravaged my pickup truck and stole 200 dollars only from my camera case. There was 300 dollars in the camera bag, and the person took only 200, the two one hundred dollar bills out of the packet which contained 100 in a 50, 2 20s and one 10. This was so I would not notice the two one hundred notes missing. Similar to taking a check from the middle of a check book, that very night after crossing back into the USA, I went to the camera bag and the camera was out of its protective gauze bag and the money missing. There is a metal box on the pickup, and when the doors are raised, the inspections officer cannot be seen, and the situation at the immigration terminal at 10:30p.m. was rather dark. Only one officer was involved in the theft and I witnessed it from the glass enclosed building, watching the vehicle the entire time. The other officer was on the other side of the vehicle and did not see his partner due to the two truck box doors raised, blocking their view of each other and upon witnessing the theft in person, I could not make allegations because I was already being turned back. Not sure what to do now from the USA side. I can identifify the CBSA individual who stole the funds. It is acceptable and more than legal to reject me, but why do they have to steal from me as well, if Canada is trying to prove itself as a moral country by analyzing one’s past history, but stealing at the border themselves? If I were trying to commit fraud or false allegations, I’d be asking 500 or 1000 dollars, but why 200? Because this is the honest amount I had and witnessed being taken only by one person.

    Dr. Warren

    • Hello Warren

      Thank you for your question. I am not clear why CBSA denied your entry in the first place. What was their reason for denying your entry to Canada? Also did you get the CBSA officer’s badge number who allegedly took your $200.00.

      We need more details to help.

      Michael Niren

  • Adona

    After approval of Canadian criminal rehabilitation how does a permanent residence apply for a B1 USA visa to visit the US… and is the process as long?

    • Hi Adona

      Thank you for your question. If you get Permanent Residence for Canada, you may or may not need a visa to the USA depending on your country of origin. And if you have a criminal record, you may need to apply for a US Waiver.

  • Steven R Calvert

    I have a re-instatement of all rights certificate from the State of Washington. Does this qualify as to the above requirement of a state clearance certificate?

    • Hello Steven
      It may qualify you for Criminal Rehabilitation . This all depends on the nature of your offence and whether that document amounts to an expungement. If it does, then yes you may indeed be eligible.

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