Immigration Criminal Inadmissibility Rehabilitation Lawyer

Why Criminal Inadmissibility Problems Arise

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 travelers 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. 

How to Cure Criminal Inadmissibility

You may have already been “deemed rehabilitated” for Canadian immigration purposes if the crime(s) 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 if you can't solve you criminal inadmissibility problems administratively with the government. 

Temporary Admission Through a Temporary Residence Permit

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 an application), foreign nationals can apply to the Government of Canada for a Temporary Residence Permit (TRP). But you must understand that there is a very high threshold to qualify for TRPs. Always having wanted to visit Niagara Falls just won't cut it. Visiting a close dying relative one last time might succeed. 

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. 

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.

Top #1 Tip for Succeeding on a Criminal Rehabilitation Application

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 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 true for minor offences that can be "deemed rehabilitated." 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. 

The Firm's Qualifications to Solve Criminal Inadmissibility

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