Criminal Rehabilitation Canada

Criminal Inadmissibility can stop someone from being able to enter the country without special authorization from Canadian immigration officials (see Temporary Residence Permit). Criminal Rehabilitation is an application process whereby a person requests absolution from the Government of Canada for a particular crime or crimes committed in a foreign country. Once an individual completes Criminal Rehabilitation successfully, they have a clean slate with the CIC and will be able to travel to Canada without hassle from that point on.

The Criminal Rehabilitation process only applies to those who have committed offenses outside of Canada.


In order to be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation there are three criteria:

1. You must have committed an act outside of Canada that would constitute an offence under a Federal statute.

2. You must have been convicted of, or admitted to committing the act.

3. Five years must have passed since the full sentence or sentences were completed, including jail time, fines, and probation.

The most crucial consideration is establishing the equivalent offence in Canada. It does not matter how lightly or severely a given crime is treated in the country where it occurred. What is important is the gravity of the offense, as per Canada’s federal criminal code. Once the equivalence has been established, it is important to determine the maximum sentence that could be imposed by law, as this will determine the type of criminal rehabilitation required.

If you were convicted of one non-serious offence and more than 10 years have passed since the completion of your sentence, you may be Deemed Rehabilitated and Criminal Rehabilitation will not be required. If you are not sure if your offence constitutes serious or non-serious criminality, fill out the form above.

Non-Serious Criminality

If less than ten years have elapsed since the completion of your sentence and/or you have more than one conviction on your record, you are required to apply for criminal rehabilitation, if you would like to visit, work or immigrate to Canada. If ten years have passed from the completion of your sentence and you only have one conviction on your record, you will likely be deemed rehabilitated simply by the passage of time. However, individuals with more than one conviction on their record will NEVER be deemed rehabilitated by the passage of time, so an application for criminal rehabilitation is required.

For criminal rehabilitation applications involving non-serious criminality, the processing times are considerably faster and the processing fees are considerably less than they are for serious criminality.

Serious Criminality

The procedure for applying for criminal rehabilitation is the same whether or not the offence constitutes serious or non-serious criminality. It is in the manner in which the application is processed at the Canadian visa office that distinguishes the two.

If you have been convicted of an offence where the maximum prison sentence in Canada is ten years or more, it is is considered to be serious criminality. The maximum prison sentence is the only consideration for determining the severity of the offence in Canada. Serious criminality requires an application for criminal rehabilitation, as a person can NEVER be deemed to be rehabilitated through the simple passage of time. Generally speaking most offences that constitute serious criminality, for the purposes of Canadian immigration, are those that involve bodily injury, damage or a weapon. As of December 2018, DUIs and dangerous driving convictions also constitute serious criminality and will require an application for criminal rehabilitation in order to gain admissibility to Canada.

The processing fees are higher ($1000 CAD) and processing times are longer for applicants with serious criminality. These applications are highly subjective and are at the discretion of the Canadian immigration officer assigned to a given file. FWCanada has the experience and legal expertise to guide you through this process and present the strongest possible application to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration follow FWCanada on FacebookTwitter, and Linkedin. Check out our Online Assessment Form!