Inadmissibility > Rehabilitation


A foreign national who committed or has been convicted of a crime in any country of the world is deemed criminally inadmissible to Canada.

Under Canadian immigration law, if you have been convicted of or have committed a crime, you may not be allowed to enter or stay in the country. That means that you may be “criminally inadmissible.” This includes both serious and minor crimes, such as assault, theft, manslaughter, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, dangerous driving, and trafficking or possession of drugs or illegal substances.

Depending on the crime or how you have behaved since the crime occurred and how long ago it was, you may still be allowed to enter Canada, if you:

  • Have a temporary resident permit, or
  • Applied for rehabilitation and were approved, or
  • Convince an immigration officer that you meet the legal terms to get deemed rehabilitation, or
  • Were granted a record suspension.

You need to know that if you were convicted of a crime when you were under the age of 18, you might still be able to come to Canada; it depends on your case.

Also, in some cases, you can be rehabilitated, which means that you’ll get an opportunity to come to Canada. Rehabilitation means that you are not likely to commit new crimes. There are two types of rehabilitation: deemed and individual.

  1. Deemed rehabilitation

For deem rehabilitation, your crime may no longer bar you from entering Canada if enough time has passed since you were convicted.

You may get it depending on the crime and if enough time has passed since you finished serving a sentence for it.

Regardless of cases, you may only rehabilitate if the crime committed outside Canada has a maximum prison term of less than ten years in Canada.

  1. Individual rehabilitation

The Minister, or their delegate, may decide to grant individual rehabilitation or not. You can apply for it to enter Canada, but you must show that you meet the criteria, have been rehabilitated and will be highly unlikely to commit further crimes.

Also, at least five years must have passed since the day you committed the act that made you inadmissible and the end of your criminal sentence (probation included).

Be aware that if you are applying for criminal rehabilitation along with your temporary resident application, you can submit everything together at the nearest Visa Application Centre. However, if you are a foreign national who needs an eTA, you have to submit separate applications. You must submit a separate application for criminal rehabilitation  directly to the visa office responsible for your region by courier or mail only. Besides, you must pay a processing fee.

NOTE: These applications can take over a year to process, so make sure you plan beforehand.

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January 2019

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