Admissibility to Canada | Criminal Rehabilitation
Marc Laforce, Certified Canadian Immigration Consultant
Each year, thousands of law-abiding citizens head to Canada on a family visit or business meeting only to be turned back at the border. Why? In a random background check by the Canada Border Services Agent (CBSA) at the point of entry into Canada, you would be deemed inadmissible if the agent finds that you have had a DUI/DWI or other type of conviction. What may be treated as a misdemeanour offence in your country may be considered an "indictable offence" or felony conviction under the Canadian Criminal Code. This rather embarrassing and untimely situation is referred to as "inadmissibility".
In most US jurisdictions, a DUI (driving under the influence)/DWI (driving while impaired) conviction carries a fine and a misdemeanour charge as opposed to being an indictable offence, but in Canada, a DUI/DWI is considered a felony offence. Under Section 36 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, a foreign national is inadmissible on grounds of criminality for having been convicted of a felony offence(s).
The most typical cause of inadmissibility is a DUI/DWI conviction typically occurring "back in the old days" or "during the college years". In the vast majority of cases, a traveler has no idea that his relatively minor offence is considered a criminal act in Canada. And for the most part, it is up to the discretion of the border agent to allow him in or not. In some cases, a temporary "pass", called a Temporary Resident Permit, is allowed for that particular visit, provided the traveler obtains what is called a Rehabilitation Certificate when and if he returns to Canada in the future. In most cases, a traveler is obliged to return home as soon as possible and can only return upon securing a Rehabilitation Certificate.
A Rehabilitation Certificate is a special application that is sent to the Canadian Embassy to assess whether a traveler has been deemed "rehabilitated" and whether he poses a threat to Canadians. Depending on the type of conviction, it is generally five years after the disposition of his sentence, including any parole and/or loss of driver's license, that he can submit an application for a Rehabilitation Certificate. Upon receiving a positive Rehabilitation Certificate, the traveler becomes admissible and may travel to Canada without future incident.
Preparation of a good rehabilitation case, no matter how bland the offence, is time consuming and requires extremely detailed work. Given the complexity of Rehabilitation Certificates, we urge travelers and visa applicants to utilize an experienced and licensed practitioner to handle any issue of inadmissibility.
Should you have a need to be in Canada in the future (whether imminently, in the next several months or even next year) and are considering clearing the way for your trip or just clearing the record in case a trip is desired, an application for a criminal rehabilitation might be advisable. Contact our US head office at 214-295-6051 or toll free 888-827-6605 to schedule an initial consultation with the practitioner. Appointments are available via the phone or at any of our US locations, subject to availability.
In addition, should you wish to apply on your own, we offer hourly consultations to help you with your application or to answer your most pressing questions. Our fee for any consultation is $150.
Application for criminal rehabilitation Canada. Temporary resident permit Canada. Marc Laforce, certified Canadian immigration consultant.
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