How Long Does Criminal Rehabilitation Take in Canada?

Canadian Immigration Entry Graphic

Do you have a past criminal history that includes a conviction for an offense such as DUI, DWI, reckless driving, or drug trafficking? If so, you may be deemed criminally inadmissible to Canada unless you take action before crossing the border.

Applying for Criminal Rehabilitation can permanently resolve your criminal inadmissibility to Canada. However, it’s important to know that there are often significant wait times before achieving this outcome. Continue reading to learn about the typical criminal rehabilitation processing times to overcome criminal inadmissibility to Canada.

Quick Answer: How Long is the Processing Time for Criminal Rehabilitation in Canada

Criminal Rehabilitation processing times can be as little as 6 months. Still, in many cases, the application can take the Canadian government over a year (up to 18 months or longer) to process.

Read on to learn more about what steps you can expect to take during the application process and how to maximize your chances of a swift decision.

Understanding the Timeline

  1. 5-Year Threshold: The Criminal Rehabilitation timeline starts when you finish the sentence for your last criminal conviction, including any probation, fines, or other imposed conditions. You will not become eligible to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation until at least 5 years have passed since this time.
  2. Application: Completing your application package is another significant step, requiring you to provide considerable documentation and pay a processing fee. Applications include information about your convictions, a personal statement, and evidence of your rehabilitation. Dogen Law helps its clients tackle this huge burden and ensures the application is completed correctly to prevent further delays.
  3. Processing Times: Once your application has been submitted, you can expect to wait anywhere from 6 to 18 months to receive a decision from the Canadian government. An application for criminal rehabilitation that involves non-serious criminality tends to be dealt with quicker, whereas more complex cases involving serious criminality usually take longer.

Entering Canada While Waiting for Approval

While waiting to hopefully be deemed rehabilitated by the Canadian government and therefore admissible at the Canadian border, you might wonder if any alternatives could allow you to visit Canada sooner.

A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is one such option that authorizes you to enter Canada and stay for a fixed duration between a single day and three years—usually coinciding with the dates of a specific activity you wish to carry out.

While a successful Criminal Rehabilitation application will grant you permanent admissibility to Canada (as far as criminality is concerned), a TRP has a narrower scope – expiring when you exit Canada in the case of a single-entry TRP or on the expiration date of a multiple-entry TRP. It is the only option available if less than five years have passed since the completion of your imposed sentence.

Temporary Resident Permit Processing Time

The TRP application process tends to reach a decision of granted or denied much more quickly than a rehabilitation application, averaging between three and six months. You can apply for both simultaneously. TRPs are available either through a Canadian consulate or directly at the border during emergencies, where Canadian immigration authorities will make a quick decision based on the individual circumstances.

Dogen Law has years of experience offering efficient, personalized guidance to those with criminal records who wish to enter Canada. If you want to obtain a Temporary Resident Permit or start a Criminal Rehabilitation application, our team can review your unique situation and seamlessly guide you through the application process. Get in touch today to request a free assessment of your case.

Does Criminal Rehabilitation Take Longer for Certain People?

When it comes to Criminal Rehabilitation, each application process will differ in the length of time it takes Canadian immigration officials to reach a decision. Some applications can be finalized in just six months, while others will take more than a year. What factors influence this difference?

Criminal Rehabilitation applications can be more complicated and lengthy if you have previously been found guilty of ‘serious criminality.’ This means offenses where the maximum imposable sentence in the equivalent Canadian law would be ten years or more.

In contrast, application processing times tend to be shorter if you have been found guilty of a misdemeanor such as a DUI/DWI.

Serious criminality will also cause you to pay significantly higher processing fees to the government to consider your criminal rehabilitation case.

How Can I Get My Criminal Rehabilitation Application Processed Faster?

With help and personalized guidance from an attorney experienced with Canadian immigration law, you will be positioned well to avoid the unnecessary delays that can arise from being unprepared. Together, we can ensure your application has been tailored to your unique circumstances and has the best chance of timely success.

  • Accuracy: Ensuring comprehensive and accurate criminal rehabilitation applications is critical to reducing the processing time. You must provide all required and relevant information, ensuring your application reflects a true account of the full circumstances.
  • Authorized Representatives: As Authorized Representatives with Immigration Canada, Dogen Law can communicate directly with the Canadian government on behalf of our clients, ensuring any hiccups or additional information requirements are dealt with quickly and in the proper way.
  • Up-to-Date Knowledge: We stay up to date on current trends and processing times to give our clients the most realistic time estimates for their individual cases.

How Dogen Law Can Help

Marjan Dogen is a licensed lawyer in the United States and Canada and has years of experience helping Americans with past criminal convictions overcome criminal inadmissibility issues.

If you have previously been denied entry or think you may be deemed inadmissible to Canada due to a criminal record, we can help. Canada’s criminal rehabilitation process set out a clear path for those with foreign convictions to potentially completely overcome inadmissibility.

If you would like to apply for criminal rehabilitation to enter Canada, get in touch today by completing our online assessment to see if you are eligible. If you still have questions about the process, call our toll-free number for more information.

With experienced Canadian immigration lawyers on your side, you can rest assured that you will have the best possible chance of success and receive a response from Canadian immigration authorities as quickly as possible.

Further Reading

Gain deeper insights into criminal rehabilitation, temporary resident permits, and overcoming criminal inadmissibility to Canada by reading our articles below:

Assault Charges

Border Checks, Criminal Inadmissibility, and Expunged Records

Criminal Rehabilitation & Temporary Resident Permits

DUI Resources

Felony Resources