Author: Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB
Last Updated On: May 28, 2024

Application for Rehabilitation – Overcoming Criminal Inadmissibility

Application for Rehabilitation:

Huda, a citizen of Bahrain, was an international student in Germany for three years. While she was in Germany, the police arrested her because of fighting with her roommate. Huda had injured her roommate with a china plate. Subsequently, a court in Germany sentenced her to one month in jail. Unfortunately, they eventually deported Huda from Germany about eight years ago after the completion of her sentence. Huda has recently married a Canadian Citizen. Since she wants to immigrate to Canada, Huda wonders if her criminal history could prevent her from moving to Canada. She has heard about the application for rehabilitation, but she is not quite sure what it is and how she could apply.

A criminal history outside Canada could make you inadmissible to Canada. However, if you receive a certificate of rehabilitation, you become admissible again.

What is Inadmissibility?

Canada prevents certain foreign nationals and permanent residents from entering Canada. A person could be inadmissible to Canada because of security, human rights violations, criminality, medical issues, financial issues, misrepresentation, or other reasons. Consequently, you need to resolve inadmissibility, or you won’t be able to immigrate, study, work or visit Canada. If you want to know more about inadmissibility to Canada, read the following article:

What is Criminality?

Criminality refers to any activity that Canada considers criminal. The primary law that lists criminal activities is the Criminal Code of Canada. Nonetheless, other Canadian laws such as the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) include some provisions about criminal activities.

The location of the offence is not important. However, if the activity is a crime in your country but not a crime in Canada, then it does not matter. For example, homosexuality is not a crime in Canada, so it doesn’t matter if it is a crime in your country or not. You need to consult with a criminal lawyer in Canada for official advice on this subject.

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Criminality versus Serious Criminality

Under Canadian immigration law, serious crime refers to any of the following offences:

  • The maximum penalty is at least ten years under Canadian laws or
  • If committed in Canada, you served more than six months in prison.

For offences outside Canada, the duration of prison time is not important. You only need to look into the equivalency of the crime in Canadian laws. If an activity is not serious, it could be criminality under one of the following conditions.

Summary, Indictable, and Hybrid Offences

Offences in Canada could be indictable or summary.

  • Summary Offences: These are not serious offences. A conviction usually results in fines and a few days of jail time. The maximum prison time for a summary offence is often, but not necessarily, less than six months. Also, there is no right to a jury trial.
  • Indictable Offences: An indictable offence could usually result in long-term prison time.

Sometimes, the law allows an offence to be prosecuted summarily or, by the way, by indictment. Such offences are hybrid offences. Unfortunately, IRPA considers these offences indictable regardless of the way of prosecution.

What is Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation in the context of Canadian immigration means convincing immigration authorities you are not criminally inadmissible due to your past criminal record. This can be achieved through two main ways: deemed rehabilitation or application for rehabilitation.

The Location of Offence

If the offence occurs in Canada, then rehabilitation is not an option. In such circumstances, you need to apply for a Record Suspension. Read the following article for more information:

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Deemed Rehabilitated

If you are deemed rehabilitated, you may enter Canada freely. In such situations, you do not need to apply for rehabilitation. Deemed rehabilitation applies to offences outside Canada only. You could be deemed rehabilitated under the following circumstances:

  • The offence was not serious criminality. It was a hybrid or indictable offence. You have had only one conviction in your lifetime. The offence was outside Canada. You don’t have any convictions inside Canada. At least ten years have passed since you completed your sentencing or
  • You have multiple summary convictions. You have no hybrid or indictable offences outside Canada. You have no convictions inside Canada. At least five years have passed since you completed your last sentencing.

Read the following article for more information about deemed rehabilitation.

Application for Rehabilitation

If the offence is outside Canada and you do not qualify for deemed rehabilitation, you must apply for rehabilitation if you meet all of the following.

  • You completed your sentence and paid all the fines more than five years ago;
  • You have no convictions inside Canada, or if you do, you have received acquittal or record suspension for them;
  • The offence is not organized criminality or rather part of gang activity, and
  • The offence is unrelated to human rights violations or security (e.g. espionage or terrorism).

To succeed, you need to convince the immigration officer you won’t repeat any criminal offences in the future. You also need to convince them you are not a threat to the safety or security of Canadians. If approved, you will receive a certificate of rehabilitation, and you are free to apply to Canada at any time.

Of course, rehabilitation only lifts your criminal inadmissibility to Canada. If you intend to travel, study, work, or immigrate to Canada, you must meet the requirements accordingly.

Processing Fee for Rehabilitation

You need to pay one of the following processing fees for an application for rehabilitation (updated May 25, 2024).

  • $229.77 Canadian for criminal inadmissibility
  • 1,148.87 Canadian for serious criminality

You do not need to give biometrics for an application for rehabilitation. The processing fees and the need for biometrics are subject to change.

Application for a Temporary Resident Permit

If you completed your sentence or paid the fines less than five years ago, your only option is potentially a TRP. Read the following article for more information.

Inadmissibility due to Other Issues

Rehabilitation is for criminal inadmissibility. If you are inadmissible for other issues, consult a professional about your options.

Hire a Professional!

Application for rehabilitation is a complex process. It could take several months to complete and involves legal arguments. Do not do it yourself! Make sure to hire a professional.

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    Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
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    Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB

    Al Parsai is a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University (Osgood Hall Law School). A respected member of CICC, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.