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 completion of her sentence. Huda has recently married to 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 the 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 criminality, 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 offences that are not serious. The 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 for 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 indictment. Such offences are hybrid offences. Unfortunately, IRPA considers these offences indictable regardless of the way of prosecution.

What is Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation means the Canadian immigration authorities believe you are not inadmissible to Canada because of your criminal history.

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 the 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, then you need to 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 as part of gang activity; and
  • The offence is not related 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 for entering Canada at any time.

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

Processing Fee for Rehabilitation

You currently need to pay one of the following processing fees for an application for rehabilitation.

  • $200 Canadian for criminal inadmissibility
  • $1000 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 in less than five years ago, then 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 with a professional for your potential 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
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (class L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) in Toronto, Canada. He is an adjunct professor at Queen's University Law School and Ashton College. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of CICC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.