Deemed rehabilitation

A single DUI or past criminal conviction can prevent you from visiting Canada for any purpose. However, in some cases, you may qualify to re-enter Canada with past criminal convictions if you are “deemed rehabilitated.” We discuss what it means to be deemed rehabilitated for entry to Canada after a criminal conviction here.

What is “Deemed Rehabilitation” for entry to Canada?

If you are a US citizen and have been convicted of a single crime, you may be “deemed rehabilitated” and allowed to enter Canada despite your conviction. The factors that determine if you are deemed rehabilitated are:

  • The crime you committed.
  • How serious the crime was and how much time has passed since you completed the sentence imposed for your crime:
    • At least 10 years or one indictable offense
    • At least 5 years for two or more summary convictions
  • Whether you have committed one or more crimes.
  • If the crime would be punishable in Canada by a maximum prison term of fewer than 10 years.

How do I apply to be deemed rehabilitated?

There is no application process required to be deemed rehabilitated. Therefore, it is very important that you make sure you qualify to be deemed rehabilitated before you try and enter Canada with a past conviction. Otherwise, you can be found inadmissible to Canada. You can be assessed for deemed rehabilitation in the following ways:

  1. Consular Office Assessment –   – It is in your best interest to be assessed by the Canadian consulate responsible for your area. This will help ensure you do not travel to Canada only to be refused entry or be subject to other enforcement action. This is done by completing and submitting an Application for Rehabilitation and requesting “for information purposes only.” You may also travel without applying in advance but are at the risk of being turned away at the port of entry and found inadmissible.
  2. Canadian Port of Entry Assessment – If you are a US resident you may travel to a Canadian Port of Entry and ask to be assessed.  You must bring all documents related to your criminal history in support of your claim of being rehabilitated. A Canadian immigration officer will review your documents to determine if you can be deemed rehabilitated and allowed to enter Canada. Make sure you are properly prepared before seeking a port of entry assessment as it may result in you being found inadmissible to Canada. 
  3. Attorney Assessment – A qualified attorney can compare your US convictions to the Canadian criminal code to determine the severity of the conviction in Canada and its impact on your ability to travel to Canada. Only an attorney licensed in both the United States and Canada can make a proper assessment of your criminal record to determine the impact of your US conviction on your entry to Canada.  Our attorneys are admitted in both Canada and the United States and are able to provide such assessments. Beware of Canadian Immigration Consultants and US Attorneys NOT licensed to practice Canadian law.

What happens if I do not qualify to be deemed rehabilitated?

If you do not qualify for deemed rehabilitation, you will need to obtain either a temporary resident permit or criminal rehabilitation before you can enter Canada.

Canadian Inadmissibility for US Citizens

Additional Outside Resources

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The US immigration lawyers at Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law have more than 30+ years of experience helping US citizens to enter Canada with DUIs and past criminal convictions. Read some of our hundreds of 5-star client reviews! Contact us today for an assessment of your legal situation.

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