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

Table of Contents


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

This publication is available in alternative formats upon request.


Overview

Application package

This application package consists of:

  • an instruction guide, and
  • the required forms

The instruction guide is a tool that provides:

  • the information you must know about this application before sending it to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), and
  • assistance with how to fill out the forms and the required supporting documents

Read the instruction guide thoroughly and then fill out each of the applicable forms.

The forms are specifically designed with questions that will assist the processing of your application.


Symbols used in this guide

This guide uses the following symbols to indicate information of particular importance.

Required step
What you must do to have your application processed.
Important information
Important information that you need to be aware of in order to avoid delays or other problems.
Get more information
Where to get more information.
Note:
Tips that will assist you with this application.

Who may use this application

This guide is for applicants who might be considered inadmissible to Canada. It explains under what conditions you can apply to overcome the inadmissibility. 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. An application for rehabilitation and instructions on how to complete it are included.


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; 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?

This section will help you determine if you are inadmissible if you have been charged, discharged or pardoned.

For charges withdrawn or dismissed:

  • If the offence occurred in Canada, you are not inadmissible.
  • If the offence occurred outside Canada, you may be inadmissible.

For an absolute or conditional discharge:

  • If the offence occurred in Canada, you are not inadmissible.
  • If the offence occurred outside Canada, you may be inadmissible.

Pardon granted:

  • If the offence occurred in Canada, you are not inadmissible if you were pardoned under the Criminal Records Act in Canada.
  • If the offence occurred outside Canada, you may be inadmissible.

If you may be inadmissible, you must provide an officer with complete details of all 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.

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,
  • were treated as a young offender in a country which has special provisions for young offenders, or
  • 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, or
  • 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

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, the period for rehabilitation is at least five (5) years after the sentences imposed were served or are to be served.

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.

Note. Do not complete the forms in this guide until you have received your record suspension.
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
Email: suspension@pbc-clcc.gc.ca
Website: http://pbc-clcc.gc.ca/index-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.

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

If you have had two (2) 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.

Convictions in Canada and convictions or offences outside of Canada

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.

Note: Your request for rehabilitation cannot be made until you have first obtained a record suspension, except if you have only one (1) summary conviction in Canada. In such instances, you may submit an application for rehabilitation for any convictions or 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).

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.

You are eligible to apply for rehabilitation if you have:

  • committed an act outside of Canada and five (5) years have elapsed since the act;
  • been convicted outside of Canada and five (5) years have passed since the end of the sentence imposed.

Eligibility for rehabilitation

This section gives a summary of the type of offences and length of rehabilitation periods.

If you were 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:

  • You are deemed rehabilitated: at least ten years after completion of the sentence imposed.
  • You are eligible to apply for rehabilitation: five (5) years after completion of the sentence imposed.

If you 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:

  • You are deemed rehabilitated: at least ten years after commission of the offence.
  • You are eligible to apply for rehabilitation: five (5) years after commission of the offence.

If you were convicted of an offence or you committed an offence outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or more:

  • You are deemed rehabilitated: not applicable.
  • You are eligible to apply for rehabilitation: five (5) years from completion of the sentence or commission of the offence.

If you were convicted for two (2) or more offences outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would constitute summary conviction offences:

  • You are deemed rehabilitated: at least five (5) years after the sentences imposed were served or to be served.
  • You are eligible to apply for rehabilitation: not applicable.

Note: To be deemed rehabilitated, 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. See section Overcoming Criminal Inadmissibility for more information.


Calculating the five (5) year waiting period

The following section explains how to determine the eligibility date for the five (5) year waiting period for different types of sentences.

Suspended sentence: count five (5) years from the date of sentencing.

Suspended sentence with a fine: count five (5) 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 (5) years from the end of the term of imprisonment.

Imprisonment and parole: count five (5) years from the completion of parole.

Probation: probation is part of the sentence. Count five (5) years from the end of the probation period.

Driving prohibition: count five (5) years from the end date of the prohibition. You are prohibited by the Criminal Court from driving.

Examples of calculating the five (5) year period

The following are three (3) examples of how to calculate the five (5) years waiting period:

Example 1: I was convicted of a crime on December 13, 2002, and received a jail sentence of three (3) 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 (3) 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 (3) years. When am I eligible to apply for rehabilitation?

The sentence imposed ends on June 3, 2006. Count five (5) 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 (3) years of probation. Do I apply for rehabilitation after my probation is finished?

No. You are not eligible for rehabilitation until five (5) years after the end of the sentence imposed. Since probation forms part of the imposed sentence, you can apply for rehabilitation five (5) years after you complete your probation.

There are more examples online of how to calculate the five (5) year waiting period.


Coming to or remaining in Canada without approval of rehabilitation

If you need to come to Canada but cannot apply for rehabilitation because five (5) 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 request special permission to enter or remain in Canada. To do this, complete the Application for Criminal Rehabilitation (IMM 1444) and make sure you check the box that states “For Information Only”. Attach the documents outlined in the Document Checklist.

Note: 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.

After reviewing the application and the nature of the offences, number of offences, when they happened and your current situation, the officer will advise you according to the following:

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.

Complete the application

Filling out the application

The following are the forms that must be filled out and submitted:

Important information. It is a serious offence to give false or misleading information on these forms. The information you provide on your application is subject to verification.


Be complete and accurate

If your application is incomplete it may be returned to you and this will delay the processing of your application.

If you need more space for any section, print out an additional page containing the appropriate section, complete it and submit it along with your application.


Application for Criminal Rehabilitation (IMM 1444)

As most of the form is self-explanatory, supplementary instructions have only been provided where necessary.

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, IL, USA.

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)

Who may use this form?

Complete this form only 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.

Your spouse or common-law partner does not have to complete a separate request and must sign in the box provided under question 10.

What is a representative?

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 of 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 with this person;
  • your application will not be given special attention nor can you expect faster processing or a more favourable outcome;
  • the representative is authorized to represent you only on immigration matters related to the application you submit with this form;
  • you can appoint only one (1) representative for each application you submit;
  • you are not obliged to hire a representative. We treat everyone equally, whether they use the service of a representative or not.

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

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.

There are two (2) types of representatives.

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 and Quebec 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.

Note: If an immigration representative is being paid or compensated by someone other than the applicant, then the representative is still considered to be a compensated representative.

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 compensated 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 website.

General Application Information

  • Check one box to indicate if you are appointing or cancelling the appointment of a representative.
  • Check both boxes and complete all sections if you are cancelling a representative and appointing a new one at the same time.

Section A – Applicant Information

Question 1

Write your last name (surname or family name) and given name(s).

Question 2

Write your date of birth.

Question 3

If you have already submitted your application, write:

  • the name of office where the application was submitted;
  • location of office;
  • type of application you are sending.
Question 4

Write your Citizenship and Immigration Canada Identification (ID) or Unique Client Identifier (UCI) number (if known).

Section B – Appointment of Representative

Question 5

Write your representative’s full name.

If your representative is a member of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (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.

Question 6

Check one box to indicate if your representative is unpaid or paid.

If your representative is paid, write the membership ID number of:

  • the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC); or
  • a Canadian provincial or territorial law society; or
  • the Chambre des notaires du Québec.
Question 7

Write your representative’s contact information.

Note: By indicating your representative’s e-mail address, you are hereby authorizing CIC to transmit your file and personal information to this specific e-mail address.

Question 8

To accept responsibility for conducting business on your behalf, your representative must:

  • sign the declaration
  • date the declaration, and
  • include the Party ID, only if it is known.

Section C – Cancel the Appointment of a Representative

Question 9

Fill in this section if you wish to cancel the appointment of a representative. Write the representative’s full name.

Section D – Your Declaration

Question 10

By signing, you authorize CIC 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) (PDF, 1.75 MB). The form is also available 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, they will not be able to conduct business on your behalf with CIC.


Pay 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

Where do I apply?

In Canada: Mail your application to the Canada Immigration Centre responsible for your area. Addresses are available online or by contacting the Call Centre.

Outside Canada: You must submit your application to the Canadian visa office or Visa Application Center (VAC) responsible for your area. Consult the relevant visa office or its website regarding accepted methods of submitting applications (for example, general mail, in person, by courier etc.)


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 if you are outside of Canada, contact a Canadian visa office, or, if you are in Canada, contact the Call Centre.


Factors that can facilitate processing

There are certain things you can do to help ensure that your application is processed as fast as possible:

  • make sure that all the documentation and information requested are provided with your application
  • advise the visa office, of any change to your contact information. This includes:
    • mailing address
    • telephone number
    • facsimile number (fax)
    • e-mail address

Factors that may delay processing

The following factors may delay the processing of your application:

  • missing signature on application forms
  • missing documentation
  • unclear photocopies of documents
  • documents not accompanied by a certified English or French translation
  • verification of information and documents provided
  • a medical condition that may require additional tests or consultations
  • a criminal or security problem
  • consultation is required with other offices in Canada and abroad

Find out if you are eligible

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