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How can I be deemed rehabilitated to enter Canada?

What is Deemed Rehabilitation?

Deemed Rehabilitation means that you are eligible to enter Canada after a certain period of time has passed since you were convicted or committed a crime outside of Canada.

In other words, you are automatically “deemed” rehabilitated after a certain time period, without having to formally apply for rehabilitation through the Canadian government. 

Am I eligible for Deemed Rehabilitation?

You are eligible for Deemed Rehabilitation if you meet the following conditions:

You committed a crime that would be considered a non-serious, indictable offense in Canada

  • Ten (10) years have passed since you completed your criminal sentence. This means you paid all your fines, served your jail time, and successfully complied with probation.
  • You have no other convictions for crimes that would be considered indictable offenses in Canada
  • You have no more than one (1) offense on your record that would be considered a summary offense in Canada

You have two (2) crimes on your record that would be considered summary offenses in Canada

  • Five (5) years have passed since you completed your criminal sentence. This means you paid all your fines, served your jail time, and successfully complied with probation.
  • You have not been convicted of a crime that would be considered a indictable offense in Canada in the past five (5) years
  • You have not been convicted of a crime that would be considered a summary offense in Canada in the past five (5) years (i.e. your third summary offense conviction)

Do I have to apply for Deemed Rehabilitation?

No, unlike the process for applying for a temporary resident permit or criminal rehabilitation, you do not have to formally apply.  You are automatically eligible after 5 or 10 years, depending on your criminal record. 

How can I prove when crossing the border that I qualify for Deemed Rehabilitation?

In theory, the immigration officials should easily be able to tell based on your record whether you are eligible, but Canadian immigration lawyers recommend that you have a so-called “Legal Opinion” letter from a Canadian attorney supporting your eligibility. 

Am I eligible for Deemed Rehabilitation if I have a felony conviction?

Probably not.

Most felonies in Washington—including all class A and class B felonies—would be classified as serious, indictable offenses if committed in Canada. 

Deemed Rehabilitation is not available for offenses of “serious criminality,” as defined under Canadian law. 

Am I eligible for Deemed Rehabilitation if I have a DUI conviction on my record?

The answer depends on when you were convicted of DUI. 

As of December 18, 2018, DUI is considered an offense of “serious criminality” in Canada, and therefore you are not eligible for Deemed Rehabilitation.  This happened after Parliament passed Bill C-46 into law.  To get into Canada now with a DUI, you need a valid temporary resident permit or be criminally rehabilitated.  

However, if you were convicted of DUI before December 18, 2018, you may be eligible for Deemed Rehabilitation without having to formally apply for entry.  Canada is still working through the legal consequences of Bill C-46, so you should consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer to see if you qualify for grandfathered Deemed Rehabilitation. 

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