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.
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 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In general, temporary residents and applicants applying for permanent residence are considered to be criminally inadmissible if the person:
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.
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 are inadmissible if:
If you were convicted of or committed a criminal offence outside Canada, you may overcome this criminal inadmissibility
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.
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
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
For more information, consult the Parole Board of Canada.
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.
You are eligible to apply for rehabilitation if you have:
*You are prohibited by the Criminal Court from driving.
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:
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:
At Canadian visa offices outside of Canada
At Ports of Entry (airport, marine or land)
(Contact your nearest Canadian visa office before travelling 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.
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.
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, IL, USA.
14. If applicable, type your e-mail address using a format similar to the following: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Do not complete this section; it is for office use only. However, include it with your application.
Complete this form if you:
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.
A 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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Follow the instructions on the form Fees for Immigration Services, Approval of Rehabilitation (IMM 5310) (PDF, 80 KB).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.