Immigrating to Canada With a Criminal Record

When looking into immigration to Canada it is important to ensure you not only meet all of the requirements of the Immigration program you wish to apply for, but also that you meet all of the entry requirements of Canada itself.

When seeking to immigrate to Canada you need to ensure that you are not inadmissible for any reason. The list of issues that could make you inadmissible to Canada are as follows:

  • You are a security risk to Canada
  • You have committed human or international rights violations,
  • You have been convicted of a crime, or they have committed an act outside Canada that would be a crime in Canada
  • You have ties to organized crime,
  • You have a serious health problem,
  • You have a serious financial problem,
  • You lied on your application or in an interview,
  • You do not meet the conditions in Canada’s immigration law, or
  • One of your family members is not allowed into Canada.

At this time we will only be focusing on the topic of criminal inadmissibility.

If you have ever been convicted of a crime in any country, or you have a committed an act in any country that would be considered a crime in Canada, or you have actually committed a crime in Canada, you could be barred from entering or immigrating to Canada.

A conviction means that you were convicted of the offence and the offence will show up on your police clearance. When immigrating to Canada you will need to produce a police clearance from any country you have lived in for 6 months or longer since turning 18 years of age.

Committing an act means that you have committed an act and have been arrested and charged for the act, but not necessarily convicted yet. If you have a case or a charge pending against you, you could still be inadmissible and would need to await the outcome of the case to determine if you are admissible or inadmissible.

The most common offence, which most people do not think would have a bearing on their ability to immigrate to Canada, is driving under the influence or drugs or alcohol. However, that is the most common type of inadmissibility.

If you have been convicted, or have a charge against you for this type of offence you could be inadmissible depending on when the offence took place and when your sentence was completed or will be completed.

For example, if you have already been convicted and you were given a fine only, the sentencing would be complete once you paid the fine. If you had an additional condition against you such as a suspended license or attending mandatory classes, the sentence would be complete once the suspension or classes were completed.

If you committed an offence and were convicted and sentenced and at least ten years of passed since the sentence was carried out you could be deemed rehabilitated to Canada depending on how serious the offence was.

If you committed an offence and were convicted and sentenced and at least five years have passed since the sentence was carried out you may be eligible to apply for rehabilitation depending on how serious the offence was.

The difference between deemed rehabilitation and rehabilitation is that in once case you would not have to do an actual application to be eligible to enter Canada.

If it has been at least ten years since the completion of your sentence you only need to be able to show this via paper work, you do not actually need to complete a rehabilitation application.

If you have more than one offence on your criminal record this would affect any rehabilitation applicable to you. Also, if you committed the criminal act in Canada this too would have an affect on your application.

If you do have a criminal record, if you have had it expunged (or the equivalent) you would no longer be inadmissible to Canada.

Determining criminal inadmissibility can be a complex process. If you require any assistance with your determination please contact us for assistance! Or you can complete a free eligibility assessment below!

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