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Rehabilitation For Persons Who Are Inadmissible to Canada Because of Past Criminal Activity

Overcome criminal convictions

Note: This information is for guidance and reference only. A decision on your admissibility can only be made when you apply to come to Canada or at a port of entry.

Under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), if you have committed or been convicted of a crime, you may not be allowed to enter Canada. In other words, you may be "criminally inadmissible."

This includes both minor and serious crimes, such as theft, assault, manslaughter, dangerous driving and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For a list of criminal offences in Canada, consult the Canadian Criminal Code.

Note: there are other Acts of Parliament that a person can be convicted under, such as the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

If you were convicted of a crime when you were under the age of 18, you may still be able to enter Canada.

What you can do if you are inadmissible to Canada

Depending on the crime you committed, how long ago it was and your behaviour since, you may be admissible to Canada again. You may be allowed to come to Canada if

See below for more information about what each option means.

Deemed rehabilitation

Deemed rehabilitation under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act means that enough time has passed since your conviction that you are considered absolved of your crime.

To be considered for deemed rehabilitation depends on:

  • the crime
  • if the required amount of time has passed since you completed the sentence imposed for your crime.
  • whether you have committed more than one crime.

In all cases, you may only be deemed rehabilitated if the crime would be punishable in Canada by a maximum prison term of less than 10 years.

Find out more about deemed rehabilitation

Individual rehabilitation

Rehabilitation means that you lead a stable life and that you are not likely to commit new crimes.

If you are not eligible to be deemed rehabilitated you must apply for individual rehabilitation to enter Canada. To apply, at least five years must have passed since you completed all your criminal sentences (this includes probation). You must submit an application to the Canadian visa office in your area and pay a processing fee. You should also check the visa office website to see if they have any special requirements.

Note: Applications for rehabilitation can take over a year to process, so make sure you plan far enough in advance.

Find out more about rehabilitation

Pardon or discharge

If you have been convicted in Canada and wish to apply for a pardon, see the National Parole Board website. If you were granted aCanadian pardon for your conviction, you are no longer inadmissible because of that conviction.

If you received a pardon or a discharge for your conviction in a country other than Canada, check with the CIC office closest to you to find out if the pardon is considered valid in Canada. This will help ensure you do not travel to Canada only to be refused entry or subject to other enforcement action.

Temporary resident permit

If it has been less than five years since the end of your sentence, and/or if you have exceptional circumstances, you may be eligible to be issued a temporary resident permit allowing you to enter or remain in Canada. Find out more about temporary resident permits.

Rehabilitation For Persons Who Are Inadmissible to Canada Because of Past Criminal Activity

This is not a legal document. For legal information, refer to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations or theCitizenship Act and Regulations, as applicable.

This publication is available in alternative formats upon request.


Overview

Under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, temporary residents and applicants for permanent residence in Canada may not be able to come to Canada if they have been involved in criminal activity. This guide explains when people might be considered inadmissible and under what conditions they can apply to overcome the inadmissibility. An application for rehabilitation and instructions on how to complete it are also included.


Before you apply

  • Read all of the instructions carefully before you begin to complete the application forms.
  • Ensure you are eligible to apply.
  • Gather all of the necessary documents, which are listed in the Document Checklist.
  • Photocopy the blank forms and use one as a working copy. Keep the working copy for your records.
  • Fill in the forms carefully, completely and legibly, using black ink.
  • Include the processing fee.
  • Sign and date your forms.

Determining inadmissibility

Are you inadmissible because of past criminal activity?

In general, temporary residents and applicants applying for permanent residence are considered to be criminally inadmissible if the person:

  • was convicted of an offence in Canada;
  • was convicted of an offence outside of Canada that is considered a crime in Canada; and/or
  • committed an act outside of Canada that is considered a crime under the laws of the country where it occurred and would be punishable under Canadian law.

Note: In order to determine inadmissibility, foreign convictions and laws are equated to Canadian law as if they had occurred in Canada.


Have you been charged, discharged or pardoned?

If you have been charged, discharged or pardoned, this chart will help you determine if you are inadmissible:

* You must provide an officer with complete details of charges, convictions, court dispositions, pardons, photocopies of applicable sections of foreign law(s), and court proceedings to allow the officer to determine whether or not you are inadmissible to Canada.

Charges Withdrawn or Dismissed

  • Offence Occurred In Canada
    • You are not inadmissible.

  • Offence Occurred Outside Canada
    • You may be inadmissible.*

Absolute or Conditional Discharge

  • Offence Occurred In Canada
    • You are not inadmissible.

  • Offence Occurred Outside Canada
    • You may be inadmissible.*

Pardon Granted

  • Offence Occurred In Canada
    • If pardoned under the Criminal Records Act in Canada, you are not inadmissible.

  • Offence Occurred Outside Canada
    • You may be inadmissible.*

Note: As of March 13, 2012, the term "pardon" has been replaced with "record suspension" in the Canadian Criminal Records Act(CRA) under Bill C-10.


Were you convicted as a juvenile?

In Canada, a young offender is someone who is 12 years of age or older but less than 18 years of age.

You are not inadmissible if:

  • you were convicted in Canada under the Young Offenders Act or the Youth Criminal Justice Act, unless you received an adult sentence,
  • you were treated as a young offender in a country which has special provisions for young offenders, or
  • you were convicted in a country which does not have special provisions for young offenders but the circumstances of your conviction are such that you would not have received an adult sentence in Canada.

You are inadmissible if:

  • you were convicted in adult court in a country that has special provisions for young offenders.
  • you were convicted in a country which does not have special provisions for young offenders but the circumstances of your conviction are such that you would have been treated as an adult in Canada

Overcoming criminal inadmissibility

A. Convictions/offences outside Canada

If you were convicted of or committed a criminal offence outside Canada, you may overcome this criminal inadmissibility

  • by applying for rehabilitation, or
  • you may be deemed to have been rehabilitated if at least ten years have passed since you completed the sentence imposed upon you, or since you committed the offence, if the offence is one that would, in Canada, be an indictable offence punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than ten years.

If the offence is one that would, in Canada, be prosecuted summarily and if you were convicted for two (2) or more such offences, that period is at least five (5) years after the sentences imposed were served or to be served.

See Table 1 for a summary of the type of offences and length of rehabilitation periods.


B. Convictions/offences in Canada

If you have a criminal conviction in Canada, you must seek a record suspension (formerly a pardon) from the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) before you will be admissible to Canada.

Do not complete the forms in this guide. You can request a Record Suspension Application Guide or additional information from:

Parole Board of Canada
Clemency and Record Suspension Division
410 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0R1
Telephone
: 1-800-874-2652 (Callers in Canada and the United States only)
Fax: 1-613-941-4981
Emailsuspension@pbc-clcc.gc.ca 
Websitewww.pbc-clcc.gc.ca/prdons/pardon-eng.shtml
(The instructional guide and application forms can be downloaded from the website.)

In order to be considered for a record suspension under the Criminal Records Act, a specified period of time must pass after the end of the sentence imposed. The sentence may have been payment of a fine, period of probation, or imprisonment. The usual waiting period for offences:

  • ten (10) years if prosecuted by indictment.
  • five (5) years for summary convictions.

Once you have a copy of the pardon, send a photocopy to a Canadian visa office or Citizenship and Immigration Centre. If you are travelling to Canada carry a copy of the pardon with you.

If you have had two or more summary convictions in Canada, you may no longer be inadmissible if:

  • at least five (5) years have passed since all sentences imposed were served or to be served,
  • you have had no other convictions.

C. Convictions in Canada and convictions/offences outside of Canada

If you have convictions in Canada and convictions/offences outside of Canada, both an approval of rehabilitation and a pardon are required to overcome your inadmissibility.

Note: Your request for rehabilitation cannot be made until you have first obtained a record suspension, except if you have only one summary conviction in Canada. In such instances, you may submit an application for rehabilitation for any convictions/offences outside Canada if you can provide evidence that you have submitted an application for a record suspension to the Parole Board of Canada (PBC).


Table 1 – Eligibility for rehabilitation

The following table gives a summary of the type of offences and length of rehabilitation periods.

[Note 1] The person must not have committed or been convicted of any other indictable offence.

Conviction or offenceRehabilitation period
When deemed rehabilitated [Note 1]When eligible to apply for rehabilitation
Conviction 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 yearsAt least ten years after completion of the sentence imposedFive years after completion of the sentence imposed
Commission 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 yearsAt least ten years after commission of the offenceFive years after commission of the offence
Conviction or commission of an offence outside Canada, that, if committed in Canada, would be punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or moreNot applicableFive years from completion of the sentence or commission of the offence
Conviction for two or more offences outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would constitute summary conviction offencesAt least five years after the sentences imposed were served or to be servedNot applicable

If you have a criminal conviction in Canada, you must seek a record suspension (formerly a pardon) from the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) before you will be admissible to Canada.

Note: You may be eligible to apply for a record suspension if you were :
  • convicted as an adult of an offence under a Canadian federal act or regulation;
  • convicted of a crime in another country and were transferred to Canada under the Transfer of Offenders Act orInternational Transfer of Offenders Act.

For more information, consult the Parole Board of Canada.


Eligibility for rehabilitation

What is rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation removes the grounds of criminal inadmissibility. Rehabilitation means that you lead a stable lifestyle and that you are unlikely to be involved in any further criminal activity.


Are you eligible to apply for rehabilitation?

You are eligible to apply for rehabilitation if you have:

  • committed an act outside of Canada and five years have elapsed since the act;
  • been convicted outside of Canada and five years have passed since the end of the sentence imposed. As there are different types of sentences, use the following table to calculate the five-year waiting period.

*You are prohibited by the Criminal Court from driving.

Suspended Sentence

Determining the Eligibility Date: Count five years from the date of sentencing.

Suspended Sentence with a fine

Determining the Eligibility Date: 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

Determining the Eligibility Date: Count five years from the end of the term of imprisonment.

Imprisonment and Parole

Determining the Eligibility Date: Count five years from the completion of parole.

Probation

Determining the Eligibility Date: Probation is part of the sentence. Therefore, count five years from the end of the probation period.

Driving Prohibition *

Determining the Eligibility Date: Count five years from the end date of the prohibition.

The following are three examples of how to calculate the five years waiting period:

Example 1: I was convicted of a crime on December 13, 2002, and received a jail sentence of three months. When will I be eligible to apply for rehabilitation?

You can apply for rehabilitation five years after the end of the sentence imposed. If your three-month jail sentence ended March 13, 2003, you are eligible to apply for rehabilitation on March 13, 2008, as long as no other terms were imposed on your sentence.

Example 2: On June 3, 2003, I was convicted of driving under the influence and had my driver’s licence taken away from me for three years. When am I eligible to apply for rehabilitation?

The sentence imposed ends on June 3, 2006. Count five years from the end date of the suspension or the date your driver’s licence is reinstated. You will be eligible to apply for rehabilitation on June 3, 2011.

Example 3: I have one conviction for which I was given three years of probation. Do I apply for rehabilitation after my probation is finished?

No. You are not eligible for rehabilitation until five years after the end of the sentence imposed. Since probation forms part of the imposed sentence, you can apply for rehabilitation five years after you complete your probation.

For more examples of how to calculate the five-year waiting period please go to:
www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/faq-inadmissibility.asp


Coming to, or remaining in Canada without approval of rehabilitation

If you need to come to Canada, but cannot apply for rehabilitation because five years have not passed since the end of the sentence imposed or you are not eligible to apply for a record suspension (formerly a pardon) for convictions in Canada, you may ask an officer for special permission to enter or remain in Canada. Complete the Application for Criminal Rehabilitation, but check the box that states, “For Information Only.” Attach the documents outlined in the Document Checklist. After reviewing the form and looking at the nature of the offences, number of offences, when they happened and your current situation, the officer may:

*There will be processing fees for applications for special permission to come into or remain in Canada. You will be advised of the processing fees at the time, or you can refer to our website for further details.

At Canadian visa offices outside of Canada

  • advise that they do not recommend that you travel to Canada; or,
  • advise that you could apply for special permission (temporary resident’s permit) to enter Canada*.

At Ports of Entry (airport, marine or land)

(Contact your nearest Canadian visa office before travelling to Canada.)

  • advise that you will not be allowed to enter Canada and ask you to return immediately to your country of departure;
  • take enforcement action (arrest, detention and/or removal); or,
  • advise that you could apply for special permission (temporary resident’s permit) to enter Canada*.

In Canada

  • ask that you leave Canada voluntarily;
  • take enforcement action (arrest, detention, and/or removal from Canada); or
  • advise that you could apply for special permission (temporary resident’s permit) to remain in Canada*.

Completing your application

You must provide truthful and accurate information. The information provided may be verified. Providing false or misleading information will likely result in a refusal of your application and may permanently bar your admission to Canada.

As most of the form is self-explanatory, supplementary instructions have only been provided where necessary. Attach a separate sheet of paper if you need more space and indicate the section, number and title of the question you are answering.


Section A

1. If you have determined that you are eligible to apply for rehabilitation, put a check mark in the box.

2. If you are not eligible to apply, but would like to discuss options for entering Canada (see Coming to, or Remaining in Canada Without Approval of Rehabilitation), put a check mark in the box.


Section B

1. Print your name as it appears in your passport or on your travel document or other valid identity document. Do not use initials; print names in full. For people living in the People’s Republic of China, also print names in pin yin.

2. State your date of birth in the following format: Day/Month/Year.

5. If you are a citizen of more than one country, print the names of all the countries.

7. Print all the names that you have ever used, including different spellings of your name. Explain what these names are, example, Maggie – nickname, Smith – previous married name, Leroux – birth/maiden name, Smith, John – change of name on 11 August, 2000, Chicago, ILUSA.

14. If applicable, type your e-mail address using a format similar to the following: name@provider.net

Note: By indicating your e-mail address, you are hereby authorizing transmission of correspondence including file and personal information to be sent electronically to you at the address provided.

15. Print a list of offences that you have committed. Include the name of the offence, the name and section of law, the date of your conviction, the city, province/state/county and country where it occurred, and the sentence that was imposed. If you were not convicted of the offence, print “no conviction” and enter the date of the offence instead of the date of conviction, and include the date the courts dealt with your case and the disposition (i.e. not guilty, dismissed).

16. Describe the events that led to your committing the offence(s). Include a description of your actions, explain if weapons, drugs or alcohol were involved, why you did it, and how your actions affected others (specify any physical or emotional injuries). Be clear, concise and complete. You must complete this question in detail.

17. If you are applying to come to Canada as a temporary resident, indicate the dates of your proposed travel and describe the purpose of your trip.

If you are in Canada, state the date of your arrival in Canada and describe the purpose of your trip.

If you are applying to live in Canada permanently, indicate what type of application you will make. i.e. spouse or parent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, business person, refugee, skilled worker, etc. Print the names of all your immediate family members in Canada.

18. Tell us why you consider yourself rehabilitated. Provide as much information as possible, e.g. attended drug rehabilitation program, employment history, community service, etc. You must complete this question in detail.

21. Read this section carefully and sign the form.


Section C

Do not complete this section; it is for office use only. However, include it with your application.

Use of a Representative (IMM 5476)

Complete this form if you:

  • used the services of a representative to help you prepare or submit your application; or
  • are appointing a representative; or
  • are cancelling a representative’s appointment.

If you have dependent children aged 18 years or older, they are required to complete their own copy of this form if a representative is also conducting business on their behalf.

representative is someone who has provided advice, consultation, or guidance to you at any stage of the immigration application process, or in an immigration proceeding. If someone represented or advised you to help you submit your application, then that person is your representative.

A representative is also someone who has your permission to conduct business on your behalf with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

When you appoint a representative, you also authorize CIC and CBSA to share information from your case file to this person.

You are not obliged to hire a representative for immigration matters. We treat everyone equally, whether they use the services of a representative or not. If you choose to hire a representative, your application will not be given special attention nor can you expect faster processing or a more favourable outcome.

CIC and CBSA will only conduct business with your representative on immigration matters related to the application you submit with this form. You can appoint only one representative for each application you submit.

There are two types of representatives:

Family, friends, and non-profit groups often help applicants who feel the need for support and advice on immigration matters. You can appoint a representative who does not charge fees or receive any other compensation for providing immigration advice or services to represent you before CIC or the CBSA.

Uncompensated representatives include:

  • friends and family members who do not, and will not, charge a fee or receive any other consideration for their advice and services;
  • organizations that do not, and will not, charge a fee or receive any other consideration for providing immigration advice or assistance (such as a non-governmental or religious organization);
  • consultants, lawyers, paralegals, Québec notaries, and students-at-law under their supervision, who do not, and will not, charge a fee or receive any other consideration to represent you.

Compensated representatives

Compensated representatives charge a fee or receive some other form of consideration in exchange for the advice and representation that they provide. If you want us to conduct business with a compensated representative then they must be authorized by CIC.

It is important to know that anyone who represents or advises you for payment — or offers to do so — in connection with immigration proceedings or applications is breaking the law unless they are an authorized representative or they have a specific agreement or arrangement with the Government of Canada that allows them to represent or advise you. This applies to advice or consultation which happens before or after an immigration application is made or a proceeding begins.

Authorized representatives are:

  • immigration consultants who are members in good standing of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC);
  • lawyers and paralegals who are members in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society and students-at-law under their supervision;
  • notaries who are members in good standing of the Chambre des notaires du Québec and students-at-law under their supervision.

If you appoint a paid representative who is not a member of one of these designated bodies, your application will be returned. For more information on using a representative, visit our Web site.

Section B

5. Your representative’s full name

If your representative is a member of the ICCRC, a law society or the Chambre des notaires du Québec, print his or her name as it appears on the organization’s membership list.

8. Your representative’s declaration

Your representative must sign to accept responsibility for conducting business on your behalf.

Section D

10. Your declaration

By signing, you authorize us to complete your request for yourself and your dependent children under 18 years of age. If your spouse or common-law partner is included in this request, he or she must sign in the box provided.

Release of information to other individuals

To authorize CIC to release information from your case file to someone other than a representative, you will need to complete the form Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual (IMM 5475) which is available on our Web site and from Canadian embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad.

The person you designate will be able to obtain information on your case file, such as the status of your application. However, he or she will not be able to conduct business on your behalf with CIC.

You must notify us if your representative’s contact information changes or if you cancel the appointment of a representative.


Paying the processing fee

If you are applying for approval of rehabilitation from within Canada:

Follow the instructions on the form Fees for Immigration Services, Approval of Rehabilitation (IMM 5310) (PDF, 80 KB).


If you are applying for approval of rehabilitation from outside Canada:

If the Fees for Immigration Services, Approval of Rehabilitation (IMM 5310) is attached, follow the instructions on the form. If it is not attached, consult the Canadian visa office responsible for the area in which you live.

Are processing fees refundable?

Processing fees are not refundable regardless of the final decision on your application. If your application is refused and you decide you want to apply again, a new processing fee will be required.


What if you do not pay enough money or enclose too much money?

If you do not enclose the required fee or if your credit card payment is refused, your application will not be processed. It will be returned to you with a letter requesting the correct payment. If you pay too much money, your application will be processed and a refund for the overpayment will be mailed to you within four (4) to six (6) weeks after the refund request is processed.


If you are sending in the form for information only

See the section Coming to, or Remaining in Canada Without Approval of Rehabilitation.

Do not send a processing fee. An officer will review the form and advise how you should proceed.


Submitting your application

In Canada: Mail your application to the Canada Immigration Centre responsible for your area. Addresses may be obtained by contacting the Call Centre.

Outside Canada: Mail your application to the Canadian visa office that has jurisdiction for the area in which you live. Addresses may be obtained by consulting your local telephone directories or by visiting our website.


What happens next?

Upon receipt of your application an officer will review it and any supporting documents. If you are eligible to apply, the officer will make a positive or negative recommendation and forward the application to the authority who can approve or refuse applications for rehabilitation. For less serious offences, the authority is usually the manager of the local office. For more serious offences, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration will make the decision.

The following are some of the factors that will be taken into consideration when your application is reviewed:

  • the number of offences and the circumstances and seriousness of each offence;
  • your behaviour since committing the offence(s);
  • your explanation of the offences and why you are not likely to re-offend;
  • any support you receive from your community;
  • why you think you are rehabilitated and
  • your present circumstances.

Note: The authority who approves or refuses applications for rehabilitation does not have to follow the recommendation made by the immigration officer.

Applications for rehabilitation can take over a year to process. You will be advised in writing of the decision made on your application.

Receiving approval to overcome a criminal inadmissibility is only one part of determining whether or not you can enter or remain in Canada. Once you have been approved for rehabilitation, you will need to meet the requirements for applicants seeking entry as a temporary resident or permanent resident. For more information, contact a Canadian visa office listed on our website, or, if you are in Canada, contact the Call Centre.

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