Please see our Criminality Rehabilitation page for current information.

Persons may be denied admission to Canada due to criminality.

For this purpose criminality is classified as follows:

  • Persons convicted of offences within Canada under any Act of Parliament punishable by a maximum of ten years or more imprisonment; less than ten years imprisonment; or summary convictions (two or more separate offences, if seeking admission less than five years following the full completion of sentences).
  • Persons for which reasonable grounds exist to believe (i.e., having objective grounds for such, based on credible information) that a conviction or convictions for an offence or offences had occurred outside Canada. The offences must have an equivalent in Canada, punishable under any Act of Parliament by a maximum of 10 years or more imprisonment, less than 10 years imprisonment, or summary conviction (two or more separate offences, if seeking admission less than five years following the full completion of sentences).
  • Persons for which reasonable grounds exist to believe that an act or omission (an offence in the country in which it occurred) had been committed outside Canada, in which an equivalent offence exists within Canada which is punishable under any Act of Parliament by a maximum of 10 years imprisonment, or less than 10 years imprisonment. An act or omission leading to a charge that did not result in a conviction will not usually result in inadmissibility (except where conviction was avoided by legal technicality). A finding of guilt of an act or omission is not necessarily considered a conviction. Pending charges can be sufficient to allow inadmissibility.
  • Where reasonable grounds exist to believe that an individual was or is a member of an organization that was or is involved in the commission of a pattern of indictable offences in Canada, or of acts or omissions outside of Canada which would be such an offence in Canada punishable under the Criminal Code (including knowledge that the organization is involved in such activity), the Narcotic Control Act or Part III or IV of the Food and Drug Act, unless the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is satisfied that the individual's admission is not detrimental to the national interest.
  • Where reasonable grounds exist to believe that a person (i) will commit one or more offences punishable by indictment under any Act of Parliament, or (ii) will participate in a group pattern of criminal activity which is planned to help in the commission of an indictable offence under any Act of Parliament.
  • Where an applicant has been convicted in Canada of an offence punishable by summary conviction, and where reasonable grounds exist to believe that the applicant had been convicted of one such offence outside Canada, and where five years has not passed since the full completion of all sentences.

Equivalency

For a foreign conviction, act or omission to cause inadmissibility, there must be an equivalent offence under a Canadian federal statute in force at the time that the applicant is seeking admission. All the circumstances of the foreign conviction must be considered to establish equivalency. An applicant may have to provide an arrest report, the charges and his or her own statement in addition to the appropriate foreign statute before a proper determination can be made.

Rehabilitation

The general rule is that persons who, outside of Canada, committed or were convicted of criminal acts cannot be admitted or issued visas to Canada unless the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration or a delegated authority approves rehabilitation. A request for rehabilitation will be successful only if it appears that future unlawful activities are extremely unlikely.

Persons convicted of an offence or offences in Canada must obtain a pardon under the Criminal Records Act to overcome inadmissibility. They can request a pardon application kit from:

Clemency and Pardons Division
National Parole Board
340 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A-0R1

Rehabilitation may only be requested after 5 years have elapsed from the completion of any sentence imposed. Interested persons must complete an Application for Approval of Rehabilitation and provide a written statement outlining the circumstances of their offence(s) and an account of all efforts they have made to re-establish themselves as law abiding members of society.

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