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How do I apply for Criminal Rehabilitation to enter Canada?

What is Criminal Rehabilitation?

Criminal Rehabilitation means the Canadian government finds that you no longer pose a risk of danger to the public based on your criminal record in the United States.  Therefore, the government permanently removes the criminal inadmissibility finding from your record. 

Your criminal record, in other words, is wiped clean for immigration purposes. 

You can now freely travel to and within Canada without restrictions, which means you can spend up to six (6) consecutive months in Canada on a valid passport. 

Am I eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation?

You are eligible to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation once five (5) years has elapsed since you completed the terms of your sentence. 

This means 5 years after you have paid all your fines, completed all your probation requirements, and served your jail sentence.  (This assumes, of course, that you have not been convicted of or committed any more crimes during this time). 

How do I apply for Criminal Rehabilitation?

Applying for Criminal Rehabilitation is a two-step process.

Step #1: Complete the Application

You must complete Form 1444 (Application for Criminal Rehabilitation) and submit the following documents:

  • Two (2) recent passport photos (within the past 6 months)
  • FBI background check (within the past 6 months)
  • State police background checks for each of the following states:
    • All states in which you have lived for six (6) months or more since you were 18
    • All states in which you have been charged with a crime
  • All court documents showing any charges or convictions and whether and when you completed all terms of your sentence
  • Probation letter authorizing you to leave Washington (if applicable)
  • Detailed Personal statement describing the circumstances of each arrest
  • Statement describing purpose of your trip to Canada
  • Documentary evidence supporting purpose of travel (e.g employer letter, Canadian travel itinerary) 
  • Evidence of Rehabilitation
    • Personal statement describing why you think you are rehabilitated
    • Letters of reference from friends and employers
    • Family circumstances (e.g. birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree)
    • Evidence of counseling, drug / alcohol treatment, vocational training, community / volunteer activities

Step #2: Submit the Application

You submit your completed application to the Canadian Consulate in New York.  The address is: Canadian Consulate in New York, 1251 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10020.

Unlike a temporary resident permit (TRP), you cannot apply at the border or the airport.  You must apply through the Consulate. 

How much does it cost to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation?

To apply based on non-serious criminal charges, the fee is $200 CAD (app. $140 USD).  For an application based on offenses of “serious criminality,” you must pay $1,000 CAD (app. $714 USD).   

How long will it take to process my application?

Criminal Rehabilitation applications can take over one (1) year to process.

Can I apply for a Temporary Resident Permit and Criminal Rehabilitation at the same time?

Yes.  In fact, this your best option, because you may be eligible to travel with a TRP while your Criminal Rehabilitation application is pending.  

Disclaimer: I am not licensed to practice law in Canada.  The information on this page is not, and is not intended to be, legal advice.  I recommend that you consult a licensed Canadian immigration attorney for your particular case.  

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