Overcoming Criminal Inadmissibility - Immigration Law Firm
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Overcoming Criminal Inadmissibility

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What Is Criminal Inadmissibility?

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Are you thinking about travelling to Canada? First, you may want to go over your situation to determine whether or not you are considered “criminally inadmissible.” Criminally inadmissible is a term used to describe any individual who has been convicted of an offence which would be considered a crime under the Canadian Criminal Code. In other words, if you would have been charged with a crime for doing the same things you did in your country of origin, while in Canada, you are criminally inadmissible to travel to Canada. There are a variety of reasons you may be considered criminally inadmissible. This includes anything considered an offence in the Canadian Criminal Code, such as being convicted of driving under the influence and dangerous driving, all the way to assault and manslaughter. If this sounds like the situation facing you, you’ll definitely want to carefully consider how your criminal record or any offences you have committed, will affect your admissibility to Canada.

Who Is Considered Criminally Inadmissible To Enter Canada?

As mentioned, anyone who would have been convicted of a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada is criminally inadmissible to enter Canada. It is important to understand that you do not have to have a criminal record in your home country, to be considered criminally inadmissible to Canada. Even though it is usually the case that those who would have a criminal record in Canada also have a record in their country of origin, this is not always the case. One example could be if you are pardoned by the courts in your country of origin, and you effectively have no criminal record. Even if this is the case, if the Canadian courts would not have pardoned your actions, then Canadian border officials will still treat you as if you have a criminal record and you will be criminally inadmissible to enter Canada. A much more common example occurs with citizens of the United States. In the USA, driving under the influence (DUI) is not always pursued as a serious offence. At the same time, driving under the influence is not taken lightly by Canadian courts at all. This is an example of a case in which you may be led to believe your offense is minor and you should be able to enter Canada as a deemed rehabilitated citizen after a 5 year period, rather than a 10 year period. Though, under the Canadian Criminal Code, the offense may not be considered minor, and you may be treated as if you committed a serious offence. The important thing to understand is that your criminal record in your country of origin is not directly transferrable to Canada. Your criminal record from your country of origin is essentially translated to reflect what your record would look like in Canada.

If you were charged with a crime, but were never convicted, you are not criminally inadmissible to Canada, because you have not been convicted of any crimes and have no criminal record.

Also, if you were convicted of a crime before you turned 18 and were not tried as an adult, then you are still able to enter Canada. Canada provides extensive protection to minors under the Criminal Code. Therefore, the same way the government treats all other individuals as if they were convicted in Canada, minors are also treated as if they were tried and sentenced in Canada. If an individual is convicted of a criminal code offense within Canada as a young offender, then your record would be expunged/ sealed and as an adult, it is essentially as if the crime you committed in your youth never occurred. At the same time, it is possible for young offenders to be tried and sentenced as adults for their crimes. If you were tried and sentenced as an adult, your record will never disappear, and Canadian immigration officers will treat you the same as any criminally inadmissible adult.

How Do I Overcome Criminal Inadmissibility to Canada?

There are various ways you can overcome your status as a criminally inadmissible traveller. This includes being considered deemed rehabilitated, being approved for individual rehabilitation, and being granted a record suspension. You may also apply for a temporary resident permit (TRP), but this process does not overcome your status as criminally inadmissible, it simply allows you to enter the country for a specified period of time for specific and compelling reasons. If you are permitted to enter the country on a temporary resident permit, you are not then free to travel within Canada after the permit expires. You must either apply for criminal rehabilitation, or apply for a new temporary resident permit, to be admissible to Canada.

How Do I Permanently Overcome Criminal Inadmissibility?

Deemed rehabilitation is a status you obtain if a certain period of time has passed since you have completed all conditions of your sentence, and you have not committed any new offence which would be considered a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada. Depending on the nature of the original offence, the minimum period of time which must pass is 5 or 10 years. For example, if you have been convicted of 2 or more minor offences (minor = carrying less than a 6 month prison sentence, or less than a $5000 fine), a minimum of 5 years must pass before you are eligible for consideration. Or, if you have committed 1 serious offence (serious= carrying more than a 6 month prison sentence, or more than a $5000 fine), a minimum of 10 years must pass before you are eligible for criminal rehabilitation. If you have been convicted of an offence which carries more than a 10 year prison sentence in Canada, you cannot ever be deemed rehabilitated.

To be considered for individual rehabilitation, you do not necessarily have to meet the requirements of deemed rehabilitation. Rather, you will show through an Application for Criminal Rehabilitation that you are not a threat to Canadians and are highly unlikely to commit another offence. Again, depending on the offence you were originally convicted of, a minimum of 5 years must pass for you to be eligible to apply for criminal rehabilitation. The 5 year waiting period does not begin until the day all conditions of your sentence are complete and officially documented as complete. It is important to understand the requirement for the amount of time which has passed since your sentence was served completely, is calculated from the completion of all sentencing provisions. For example, if you are charged with driving under the influence and sentenced to a 3 year license suspension, then the waiting period begins the day the license suspension is complete, not sooner.

Finally, you can overcome your status as criminally inadmissible with a record of suspension, which is essentially the same as a pardon. Though, it is very important to understand, if you were convicted of an offence outside of Canada, a record of suspension within your country of origin may not be applicable in Canada, and therefore you are still considered criminally inadmissible. To determine if your pardon changes your status as criminally inadmissible, contact Akrami and Associates to speak with a representative. 

Any individual who is considered criminally rehabilitated is now free to travel within Canada as they would be if they did not receive their previous criminal convictions. Your status as criminally rehabilitated will not expire, unless you commit a new offense which again makes you inadmissible to enter Canada.

What Do I Need To Know About Applying for Criminal Rehabilitation?

It is important to follow the proper procedure if you are seeking entry into Canada, and need to overcome criminal inadmissibility. If you’re coming from a visa-exempt country, you’ll need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). You must submit the application for criminal rehabilitation and have it processed before applying for an eTA. Applications for criminal rehabilitation can take over a year to process, so it is very important to start the process very early, so you have time to submit all the required applications, and have your documentation for travel approved. Otherwise, if you are from a non-visa exempt country, you can submit your application for criminal rehabilitation along with your application for a visitor visa, study permit or work permit at a Canadian consulate. 

If you are applying to overcome minor criminality, there is a non-refundable $200 processing fee. If you are applying to overcome serious criminality, there is a non-refundable $1000 processing fee which accompanies the application.

Submitting an Application for Criminal Rehabilitation

It is entirely up to the discretion of an immigration officer to revoke your status as criminally inadmissible to travel within Canada. Therefore, it is crucial you submit a complete and compelling application, to better your chances of having your application approved. These are the core things which must be included in your application for criminal rehabilitation:

You may provide copies of the following documents.

1. Copy of passport displaying name, date of birth and country of origin. Citizens of the United States may provide a copy of their driver’s license and a copy of their USA birth certificate.

2. Each court judgment made convicting you. This must show what you were charged with, the verdict and the sentence you were given.

3. A claim stating the foreign and Canadian equivalent laws you have been charged and convicted of.

4. Any other documents relating to your sentence. This could include documents from your parole or probation officer, or a documented pardon displaying your sentence has been removed from your record. This could also include documentation of completed rehabilitation programs, such as drug, alcohol or anger management classes.

You must provide originals of the following documents.

1. Criminal clearance at the Federal level from all countries you have lived in for 6 or more months in a row, since the age of 18.

2. Citizens of the United States must provide State clearance from all states which you have lived in for 6 or more months in a row, since the age of 18. US citizens also need nationwide clearance from the FBI.

3. The correct forms for an individual applying from within or from outside Canada, depending on your circumstances.

4. If you were convicted as a juvenile offender, documentation providing proof your country of origin also has unique measures for juvenile offenders.

There are a variety of supporting documents you should also include to prove you should be admissible into Canada. As mentioned, it is at the discretion of the officer to grant you access into Canada, so providing all the documentation you can is a good idea to better your chances of getting an approved application. You may want to provide documentation of a stable financial situation, a strong written statement compelling an immigration officer to believe you are rehabilitated, and any additional information you can provide to prove you are an upstanding citizen. Should you have a hard time providing any of these documents; it is wise to provide a good explanation as to why you cannot do so. The more you provide to convince an immigration officer, the better. So, in the event you cannot submit an entirely complete application, an explanation may compel the immigration officer to understand the circumstances you face.

Contact Akrami and Associates

We better than anyone how important it is to be diligent in applying for criminal rehabilitation to ensure a positive outcome. That is why we strive to provide you with a good understanding of the process you may go through when applying for Criminal Rehabilitation. Though, we know the process is very time-sensitive, and can be very nerve wracking. So, if you have any further questions regarding your specific circumstances, or would like a helping hand through the application process, it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to submit the application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients apply and obtain a Criminal Rehabilitation. If you believe that you may be eligible to apply, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advice.

With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!

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