Immigration Criminal Inadmissibility Rehabilitation Lawyer

You don't need to have done much, and may have done it 30 years ago, for you to have a criminal inadmissibility problem. 


Have you ever been convicted of a “criminal offence,” or an offence that even if it isn’t “criminal" in your own country might fall into the criminal category somewhere else? If so, you could have a criminal inadmissibility immigration problem in Canada. 

For Canada, the problematic inadmissibility offences generally do NOT include driving offences (which are mostly classed as non-criminal provincial offences), unless alcohol, death or serious injury to another was involved. They do include anything to do with drugs (even very small quantities of “soft” drugs), theft, fraud, dishonesty to law enforcement or the courts, and violence. 

The relatively recent imposition of Electronic Travel Authorization requirements on travellers from visa exempt countries means that a record number of visitors to Canada - for pleasure, work or study purposes are now getting caught up in criminal in admissibility hassles. 


You may have already been “deemed rehabilitated” for Canadian immigration purposes if the crime was minor and in the distant past. Or you might need to submit a formal application for "rehabilitation."

You may need to gather criminal record checks from every place you have lived, as well as court records concerning every criminal incident. An opinion from a foreign lawyer might even be required if there is debate over how to translate the offence you were convicted of to an equivalent offence in Canada, since offence severity has a significant impact on criminal inadmissibility immigration rehabilitation potential. 

You might ultimately need to proceed before the Federal Court of Canada if you can't solve your criminal inadmissibility problems administratively with the government. 


In addition to or as an alternative to a criminal rehabilitation application (perhaps because not enough time has passed yet since the completion of the offence sentence to bring such a permanent criminal rehabilitation application), foreign nationals can apply to the Government of Canada for a Temporary Residence Permit (TRP) to gain entry notwithstanding a criminality problem. But you must understand that there is a very high threshold to qualify for a TRP as to justification for entering Canada. Always having wanted to visit Niagara Falls just won't cut it. Visiting a close dying relative one last time might succeed. Maybe.

Often the best way to qualify for a TRP is to demonstrate a benefit to Canada. So sometimes professional athletes, artists, and business people may qualify on this basis, but only with compelling supporting evidence and strict conditions. For example, one professional athlete reputedly gained entry to play in a major game in Toronto - a benefit to Canada - solely on the basis of only being in Canada for 24 hours, and being guarded by private security operators the whole time - not to protect him from Canadians, but to protect Canadian from him.

Most important to know is that the processing time for a TRP might take just as long as a criminal rehabilitation application, so if you can meet the bare minimum requirements for criminal rehab, that is usually the preferable route to follow rather than seeking a TRP. But there is nothing stopping you for applying for both rehab and a TRP at the same time.

Top #1 Tip for Succeeding on a Criminal Rehabilitation Application: Prove You’re a New MAN/WOMAN

Most applicants for rehabilitation don't realize that they really are in a popularity contest. While the government doesn't tell you this on its websites, it really wants to know far, far more information about your current life than the bare minimum application requirements in the crim rehab document checklist that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada provides.. 

In essence the government wants reassurances that you're a new man/woman, who has turned your life around since the time of your earlier offence(s). The government wants to know what led to that change of lifestyle, and what you are doing currently to give back to the community, such as through volunteer work.

Letters of reference from community leaders, co-workers, and family can help, so long as it is clear that you've told them about your criminal past, and they thus can place in context how you have changed. Detailed explanations (supported by documentary evidence) of current work, study, family and lifestyle arrangements are all important. 

Some applicants understandably get frustrated, thinking that because the minimum amount of time has passed, they'll received automatic criminal rehabilitation approval from the government. This is largely true for minor offences that can be "deemed rehabilitated” after 10 years. But for anything more major - and seriousness is judged by the maximum sentence possible under Canadian law, not the penalty you actually received - you'll need to sell your goodness to government, so that it's reassured you're no threat to Canada or Canadians. 

WHY RETAIN OUR FIRM to Solve YOUR Criminal Inadmissibility ISSUE

The firm's Managing Lawyer has served as a Federal Crown Prosecutor, criminal defence lawyer, legal counsel to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Military Police Complaints Commission, and is author of three criminal law books. He has practiced transnational criminal law with the Department of Justice Canada, including conducting Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance proceedings on behalf of foreign states.

The firm understands the challenges of attempting to match up two dissimilar criminal law systems, and works closely with Canadian and foreign consultants, lawyers and clients to solve criminal inadmissibility challenges as expeditiously as possible by preparing overwhelming detailed legal submissions and supporting documents to present to IRCC.