Criminal Rehabilitation Canada: Submitting an Application

If you are an American citizen looking to enter Canada and you have a criminal record, you may be denied admissibility at the border.

Dogen Law may be able to assist you in navigating these complex legal matters and achieving your goal of entering Canada. Our experience in criminal rehabilitation applications paves the way for you to overcome past obstacles and embrace new opportunities north of the border.

What is Criminal Rehabilitation?

Criminal Rehabilitation is a legal process designed to help individuals with a criminal record overcome their inadmissibility to Canada. It is important whether you’re trying to apply for permanent residence, temporary residence, or simply want to visit Canada.

In the context of Canadian immigration law, a person with a criminal record may be deemed inadmissible to enter or stay in the country if their past criminal activities are considered severe enough to pose a threat to Canadian society. Criminal Rehabilitation allows such individuals to enter Canada, provided they meet specific eligibility criteria, such as completing their sentence and demonstrating that they have been rehabilitated. If granted, Criminal Rehabilitation can remove the legal barrier preventing an individual from entering Canada for both their current trip and future visits.

Among the array of offenses that could potentially lead to your criminal inadmissibility to Canada are the following:

  • Theft

  • DUI (including DWI, DWAI, and related offenses)

  • Assault

  • Domestic Violence

  • Drug Possession

  • Drug Trafficking

  • Weapons Violation

  • Probation Violation

If you have any of the above offenses on your criminal record, we at Dogen Law may be able to help you through the intricate Criminal Rehabilitation process.

Evaluating Your Eligibility for Criminal Rehabilitation

In general, you can apply for Criminal Rehabilitation if you satisfy one of the following conditions:

  • committed an act outside of Canada and five (5) years have elapsed since the act;

  • been convicted outside of Canada and five (5) years have passed since the end of the sentence imposed.

Given the distinctiveness of each case, enlisting the counsel of a proficient immigration lawyer remains a prudent step, ensuring optimal guidance tailored to your circumstances. At Dogen Law, we stand ready to navigate the intricacies of your situation, steering you toward the most suitable pathway to a successful Criminal Rehabilitation application.

Applying for Criminal Rehabilitation in Canada

Applying for Criminal Rehabilitation can be a tedious process. Ensuring you have the correct documents and are prepared for interactions with immigration officers and border agents will improve your chances of a smooth entry to Canada.

Dogen Law can guide you through every detail, ensuring your Criminal Rehabilitation application is well-positioned for a favorable outcome.

Preparing Documentation for Criminal Rehabilitation

Correct documentation and an understanding of Canadian law are paramount when seeking entry to Canada with a criminal record. Documents typically include valid identification, travel papers, relevant court documents, letters of reference, and supplementary paperwork that border authorities require on a case-by-case basis.

Dogen Law offers comprehensive guidance on the precise documents you must possess, aiding you in sidestepping any unnecessary border-related predicaments.

Preparing for Border Encounters

Canadian immigration officials will likely inquire about your criminal record during your entry process. Maintaining transparency and providing accurate details are of utmost importance. Ready yourself for potential inquiries by gaining insight into how to answer questions about your past criminal convictions.

With Dogen Law’s support, you can be well-prepared to manage these interactions confidently.

Criminal Rehabilitation vs. Temporary Resident Permits

Two of the most common legal paths to overcoming inadmissibility into Canada with a felony or misdemeanor are to obtain a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation. While both options grant you access to Canada, it’s essential to discern their distinct characteristics and prerequisites.

Contrasting TRPs and Criminal Rehabilitation: A Glimpse of Differences

The key difference between Temporary Resident Permits (TRPs) and Criminal Rehabilitation centers on the timeline from the occurrence of your offense or the completion of your sentence. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Eligibility for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) arises if less than five years have transpired since your sentence concluded, or if unique circumstances apply.

  • Opting for Criminal Rehabilitation becomes viable when more than five years have passed since your sentence’s conclusion, providing an appealing solution.

Additionally, processing times and how long you can stay in Canada differ between TRPs and Criminal Rehabilitation. In short, and as the name suggests, TRPs are temporary, whereas Criminal Rehabilitation is a more permanent solution to overcome inadmissibility to Canada.

For urgent and credible reasons for entering Canada, applying for a Temporary Resident Permit may be the best solution to meet your needs. TRPs are typically single-entry permits and will allow you to enter the country for a limited time, generally the length of your visit. TRPs do not guarantee re-entry, and you may need to apply for a new TRP if you wish to return or a multi-visit TRP.

On the other hand, a successful application for Criminal Rehabilitation will allow you re-entry to Canada like most other Americans wanting to visit Canada.

Timing and Strategy: Navigating the Application Process

It’s important to note that Criminal Rehabilitation applications generally take longer than Temporary Resident Permit applications. As such, a strategic approach often involves pursuing both avenues concurrently. By securing a TRP, you can cross the Canadian border while simultaneously awaiting the verdict of your Criminal Rehabilitation application — balancing your immediate and future travel aspirations.

Evolving Rules and Parameters

In more recent years, the rules for Deemed Rehabilitation have changed. Foreign individuals convicted of a DUI, DWI, DWAI, OVI, and other drinking and driving offenses are no longer automatically granted Deemed Rehabilitation.

Navigating Complexities: Get Your Free Assessment

Deciphering whether you qualify for automatic Deemed Rehabilitation or need to initiate a Criminal Rehabilitation application for entry into Canada can be intricate. At Dogen Law, we offer a complimentary assessment, enabling you to explore your eligibility comprehensively. With our experienced legal team, you can make informed decisions that align with your aspirations and legal requirements.

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

Yes, it is possible to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) and Criminal Rehabilitation simultaneously. This strategic approach allows you to address both immediate entry needs through a TRP and pursue a more permanent solution with Criminal Rehabilitation. Applying for both options concurrently can provide you with the flexibility to travel to Canada while awaiting the outcome of your Criminal Rehabilitation application.

How Much Does Criminal Rehabilitation Cost?

The Government of Canada requires a processing fee of $229.77 for non-serious crimes with less than a ten-year sentence. A serious crime requires a processing fee of $1,148.87 to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation in Canada.

Typically, you will pay the initial $229.77. If you need to pay more, you will receive a notice for the extra fee. You will also pay the same price if you seek a TRP in Canada. Although, there are some cases this fee can be waived.

How Long Is The Processing Time For Criminal Rehabilitation?

The Canada Rehabilitation application can take approximately six to twelve months (6-12) to process. That is often why the council will advise you to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit simultaneously. Processing a TRP can take three to six months (3-6).

If you arrive at the border with an emergency, you can apply for a TRP, which may expedite the processing time. However, the Canadian government advises against this option. To know more about TRP, you can read about it in our article.

What Crimes Require Criminal Rehabilitation?

Many crimes require Criminal Rehabilitation in Canada. The most frequent that we see are driving offenses that involve:

Driving With Drugs Or Alcohol

There are various classifications of driving under the influence, including:

  • OWI (Operating While Intoxicated)

  • OUI (Operating Under the Influence)

  • OMVI (Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated)

  • DUI (Driving Under the Influence)

  • DWI (Driving While Impaired or Intoxicated)

  • DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired)

  • DWUI (Driving While Under the Influence)

Reckless driving may also get you turned away at the border. Therefore, you will also have to apply for CR in this case. 


Fraud includes theft or any offense where the intent is to deprive another individual or company, and/or organization of their rightful ownership of something. The monetary cost determines the severity. 

A theft under $5,000 is deemed a non-serious offense, but committing fraud over this amount is considered a serious crime. The offense may also be upgraded to a serious crime if violence, the threat of violence, or a weapon is used. 


Assault includes different types of verbal or physical disputes between one or more individuals. It’s important to note that assault with or without a weapon doesn’t change the severity. In both cases, you will be inadmissible to Canada and requires Criminal Rehabilitation. 

Drug Offenses

Drug offenses may include sale, distribution, consumption, purchase, or possession. Whether it is viewed as a serious or non-serious crime may depend on the type of drugs, the number of drugs in possession, and the action taken with the drugs. 

Because there are so many variables, it is best to consult an experienced immigration attorney to know how to proceed.

How Dogen Law Can Help

Navigating the complications of Criminal Rehabilitation in Canada can be challenging.

At Dogen Law, you’ll gain access to experienced and licensed lawyers in both Canada and the United States. We’ll help you assess your situation, gather the correct documentation, complete application forms, and submit your request for criminal rehabilitation. With the help of a reputable immigration law firm like Dogen Law, applying for Criminal Rehabilitation becomes a smooth process and has a higher chance of success.

Don’t be turned away at the border. Complete your Criminal Rehabilitation eligibility assessment today and see if Dogen Law can help.

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