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  • Amir Akhtar

Denied entry to Canada because of past criminal activity? You may look for Criminal Rehabilitation.

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

A past criminal activity could be a reason for you to be inadmissible in Canada. Does that mean that you cannot enter or migrate to Canada ever? No, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot enter Canada. Criminal Rehabilitation is a process whereby a foreign national petitions the Canadian government for permanent relief/clemency/forgiveness, for a particular crime(s) committed in a foreign country. Once a foreign national successfully undergoes the Criminal Rehabilitation process, their prior offenses will no longer impede travel to Canada.

What is rehabilitation? Rehabilitation is like an assurance that you are unlikely to be involved in any new criminal activity and that now your lifestyle is established and unwavering. This helps remove the grounds of criminal inadmissibility.

Who is considered barred from entering or migrating to Canada if criminally charged? As per Canada’s Immigration Law, anyone who has committed or been convicted of a crime may not be allowed into Canada. In legal language the individual is “Criminally Inadmissible”.

This includes both minor and serious crimes, such as:

  • Theft

  • Assault

  • Manslaughter

  • Dangerous driving

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

  • Possession of or trafficking in drugs or controlled substance

Eligibility for criminal rehabilitation In order to be eligible to apply for criminal rehabilitation:

  • 5 years must have elapsed since the completion of all sentences, probationary periods and fines; and

  • You must have been convicted of an infraction, or committed an act, outside of Canada that would constitute an offence under a federal act of Parliament

Note: The Criminal Rehabilitation application process only pertains to individuals with foreign convictions (offences outside of Canada). If you have criminal convictions in Canada but no foreign convictions, you can apply to the Parole Board of Canada for a record of suspension. If you have convictions in Canada and convictions or offences outside of Canada, both an approval of rehabilitation and a pardon are required to overcome your inadmissibility.

Calculate your five-year waiting period Check if you are eligible for the five-year waiting period.

  • Suspended sentence: count five years from the date of sentencing

  • Suspended sentence with a fine: count five years from the date the fine was paid. In the case of varying payment dates, the rehabilitation period starts on the date of the last payment.

  • Imprisonment without parole: count five years from the end of the term of imprisonment

  • Imprisonment and parole: count five years from the completion of parole

  • Probation: probation is part of the sentence. Count five years from the end of the probation period.

  • Driving Prohibition: count five years from the end date of the prohibition. You are prohibited by the criminal court from driving.

Be complete and accurate Often individuals either forget to include sufficient documents or hide certain facts. Our Advise: Never go that route! If your application is incomplete it may be returned to you and this will delay the processing of your application.

Overcome your criminal inadmissibility with Akhtar Immigration Services professional legal guidance. We use our experience to prepare your application and put the best foot forward. Click here to contact us.

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