Foreign nationals who are charged with and convicted of criminal activity may be inadmissible to Canada and be denied entry when crossing the border. However, Criminal Rehabilitation Canada fixes this problem for American citizens.
The Criminal Rehabilitation application is specially designed for citizens of the United States who are considered criminally inadmissible to Canada as it removes the grounds of inadmissibility and permits the applicants to enter Canada.
In this guide, we will be considering the conditions to qualify for criminal rehabilitation, how to apply and how long it would take to process your application.
What Is Criminal Rehabilitation?
Criminal Rehabilitation (CR) attests that the Canadian government no longer considers you a danger to the public based on your past criminal record in the United States. Hence, the government removes your criminal inadmissibility status and wipes your record clean for immigration purposes.
With this, you will not only be granted entry to Canada but you would also be allowed to work and lead a stable life. CR is a permanent way to overcome criminal inadmissibility and as long as you do not commit any more crimes, you can call yourself a free man.
Types Of Criminal Rehabilitation
There are two types of Criminal Rehabilitation. They are;
- Individual Rehabilitation
- Deemed Rehabilitation
This type of rehabilitation requires applicants to submit a formal application to a Canadian consulate. Your application needs to show that you have been rehabilitated and will no longer carry out criminal activity.
A common and acceptable way to do this is to provide evidence demonstrating that you now lead a stable lifestyle and the steps you have taken to improve your behavior (social and vocational skills you’ve learned).
Before applying for this rehabilitation program, you must have waited 5 years after the completion of your sentence, and depending on the severity of your conviction, the application fee could be either $200 or $1,000. Individual rehabilitation applications take approximately 12 months to process.
You may be deemed rehabilitated if 10 years have passed since the completion of your sentence and you have not been convicted of any indictable offense in the last 10 years.
As added evidence to prove to the border officer that you should be allowed entry into Canada, you may get a Legal Opinion Letter.
Am I Eligible For Criminal Rehabilitation?
You would be eligible to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation if five years have passed since you have served your jail sentence, paid all your fines, and completed all your probation requirements. And of course, you must have not committed any crime within 5 years.
If less than five years have passed and there is a special or urgent need for you to come to Canada, you can fill out the Criminal Rehabilitation application and check ‘For Information Only. An immigration officer will decide if you should be given special permission to come to Canada temporarily.
In the case where you have criminal convictions in Canada but no foreign convictions, you may apply to the Parole Board of Canada for a record of suspension.
How Do I Apply For Criminal Rehabilitation?
The application for criminal rehabilitation is in 2 steps;
Step 1: Fill Out The Application
The first step is to complete the Application for Criminal Rehabilitation (Form 1444) and provide the required documents. You may expect to provide the following;
- 2 recent passport photographs (within the past 6 months)
- FBI background check (within the past 6 months)
- State police background checks for all the states you levied for 6 months and above since you turned 18 and all the states you have been charged with a crime.
- A detailed personal statement describing the circumstance of each arrest
- Court documents showing any charges or convictions you had and whether you completed your terms of sentence
- Letter of probation authorizing you to leave Washington (if applicable)
- Personal statement explaining the purpose of your visit to Canada
- Documentary proof supporting your purpose of travel like a letter of employment, Canadian travel itinerary, etc.
- Evidence of Rehabilitation. This includes a personal statement describing why you think you a rehabilitated, reference letters from friends and employers, and family circumstances such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, or divorce decrees. Evidence of counseling like vocational training, drug/alcohol treatment and community/volunteer activities may also be required.
Step 2: Submit The Application
After you have completed the application and provided the necessary document, the next step is to submit your application at the Canadian Consulate in New York.
Unlike a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), you cannot apply for the Canada CR at the border of the airport. Your application must be submitted to the consulate.
The Canadian Consulate in New York is at 1251 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10020.
The Application for Criminal Rehabilitation Canada is called IRCC form IMM1444 which is also referred to as IMM1444.
The Canadian CR is extremely detailed, requesting extensive information and personal documents of the applicants. Filling out the application is not easy, which is understandable since they will be admitting you into the country with prior records of criminal activity.
Hence, the officials make sure that the individual or applicant has reformed behavior and will not pose a threat to Canadian society if granted access.
Form 1444 requests applicants to submit a comprehensive list of all their residential addresses since they turned 18. This may be a challenge for Americans who have lived and worked in many different locations throughout their lifetime.
The form also demands their full work or employment history since they became adults(age 18) and explicitly states not to omit any gaps in time.
Aside from the tremendous amount of personal information requested, Canada CR also demands that applicants provide sufficient and credible documents to back up their personal statements.
Putting together all of the necessary documentation is one of the most challenging parts of the application process but hiring a professional would lift most of the weight off your shoulders.
Another challenging part of the application process is finding what law in Canada a U.S crime translates to. This is the more reason why hiring a professional, especially a law expert will be advantageous.
Form IMM 1444 is available on the Immigration Canada website as IMM1444E.pdf.
Calculating The 5 Year Waiting Period
The following details how to calculate or count the eligibility date for the 5-year waiting period for various types of sentences.
1. Suspended sentence – To calculate, count 5 years from the date of sentencing.
2. Suspended Sentence With A Fine: Count 5 years from the date the fine was paid. If you have varying payment dates, the rehabilitation period starts on the date of the last payment.
3 Imprisonment Without Parole: Count 5 years from the end of the term of imprisonment.
4. Imprisonment And Parole: Count 5 years from the completion of parole.
5. Probation: Count 5 years from the end of the probation period.
6. Driving Prohibition: Count 5 years from the end date of the prohibition.
How Much Does It Cost To Apply For Criminal Rehabilitation?
The application fee you pay would depend on the severity of the conviction. For non-serious criminal charges, the application fee is CAD 200 which is approximately USD 140.
For severe convictions, you will pay an application fee of CAD 1,000 which is approximately USD 714.
How Long Will It Take To Process My Application?
Canada Criminal Rehabilitation applications can take up to a year or more to process.
Can I Apply For A Temporary Resident Permit And Criminal Rehabilitation At The Same Time?
Yes, you can. With your temporary resident permit (TRP) you may be eligible to travel while your Criminal Rehabilitation is processed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Difference Between Rehabilitation And Deemed Rehabilitation?
For deemed rehabilitation, 10 years must have passed since the completion of the sentence imposed while for individual rehabilitation, 5 years must have elapsed since the completion of the sentence imposed.
What Crimes Keep You Out Of Canada?
The following are crimes that can make you inadmissible to Canada;
DUI (this includes DWI, DWAI, reckless driving, etc.)
Can I Go On Holiday To Canada If I Have A Criminal Record?
No U.S. citizen or resident with a criminal record may be allowed entry to Canada because of criminal inadmissibility.
How Does Canada Know If You Have A Felony?
The Canadian border has full access to all the criminal record databases in the United States, so if you have been convicted of a felony, you are most likely to be identified at the border.
How Do I Apply For Rehabilitation Status In Canada?
Download the application forms.
Fill out, sign, and date your application forms.
Pay the applicable fees.
Mail your completed application.
Can I Enter Canada With A Dismissed Case?
Yes, you can. According to Canadian immigration law, inadmissibility cannot be based upon an offense that is deemed as a dismissed charge or an acquittal.
What Crimes Cannot Be Pardoned In Canada?
Sexual offenses involving a minor.
More than 3 indictable offenses where the sentence was more than 2 years in jail each time.
Crimes in which the sentence can never be completed (lifetime in jail or lifetime probation)
What Is Considered A Serious Crime In Canada?
Crimes that carry a maximum prison sentence of fewer than 10 years are considered non-serious criminality while serious criminality involves crimes that are punishable by a prison sentence of 10 years or more.
Can I Go To America With A Criminal Record?
Having a criminal record does not automatically restrict you from traveling to the US.
Can I Go To Canada 10 Years After DUI?
DUI or impaired driving is now considered serious criminality under Canadian immigration law and is no longer qualified for automatic Deemed Rehabilitation after ten years. Essentially, this means that an American citizen or resident with a single DWI will be denied entry to Canada regardless of how long ago the offense happened.
Criminal rehabilitation is the permanent solution for US citizens that are criminally inadmissible to gain entry to Canada. A successful CR application wipes off your criminal record and gives you a clean slate to start afresh.
You can contact an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada center in Canada or a Canadian embassy, high commission, or consulate outside Canada for more information.
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