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Canada immigration lawyer focused on helping Americans apply for a Temporary Resident Permit so they can travel to Canada with a criminal record. We offer free comprehensive consultations (unlike many businesses who demand a retainer before assessing your options).

How to Apply for Canada Criminal Rehabilitation

If a person has a criminal history in the United States, including a misdemeanor for DUI, they may be considered criminally inadmissible according to Canadian law which can result in getting blocked at the border. Rather than avoid the country, many Americans file paperwork with the Government of Canada in an effort to show they are safe and deserve access. Once it has been five years from completion of all sentencing requirements, a US citizen is eligible to apply for Canadian Criminal Rehabilitation (CR) which can permanently resolve inadmissibility to the nation. If an applicant successfully petitions Immigration Canada and is approved for Criminal Rehabilitation, any misdemeanor or felony convictions in their past will never again be problematic at the Canadian border.

Applying for Criminal Rehabilitation Canada involves a massive amount of paperwork, and many well-prepared applications will be 100+ pages long especially if multiple offenses need to be covered. The adjudication and review process is also extensive, so a Canada Criminal Rehabilitation application can often take about 6 to 12 months for government processing. In some cases, a qualified attorney can request expedited processing which can speed up the review time significantly. Due to the complexity of the legal procedure, some inadmissible Americans will simply avoid Canada rather than apply for Criminal Rehabilitation. If access to the country is important to a US citizen, they will often hire a Canadian immigration lawyer to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation on their behalf.

Questions about how to apply for Canada Criminal Rehabilitation? Contact our team today for a free consultation!

Do I Need to Apply for Canadian Rehabilitation?

Before investing time and money into applying for Criminal Rehabilitation (CR), it can smart to confirm your inadmissibility. Our Canadian immigration law firm is frequently contacted by Americans who think they need CR in order to travel to Canada, but may have an easier option. For example: if someone completed a diversion program or had their charge deferred or expunged, they may be considered admissible according to Canadian law. If someone had a single misdemeanor conviction a long time ago, they may be able to prove eligibility for "Deemed Rehabilitated by virtue of time" status. It takes a lot of paperwork to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation, so if there is an easier way to cross the border with an arrest history it is usually worth considering.

It is also smart to confirm you are now eligible to apply for Canada CR before pursuing it. Even a first-offense DUI with no accident or aggravating factors can result in several years of probation, which can delay the individual's ability to apply for a Canadian pardon. Informal or non-reporting probation can impact eligibility for CR, so it's common for someone to think they are eligible to apply before they actually are. In such a case, the person may need to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit in order to overcome their inadmissibility.

Canadian Rehabilitation Application

Part of the reason applying for Criminal Rehabilitation Canada is a headache is that all types of offenses are being screened from all over the world. The procedure is not specific to convictions from USA, and evaluates every type of criminality from impaired driving to drug trafficking. Consequently, an applicant with a single misdemeanor must go through the same process as an applicant with major felony convictions. Since some applications involve very serious crimes, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) asks for a massive amount of information and documentation including court records and background checks, and their standards are high.

In order to successfully apply for Criminal Rehabilitation (CR), an applicant must provide info such as address history since age 18, employment history, and a description of each arrest or infraction. The IMM 1444 Criminal Rehabilitation form also asks for a personal statement of rehabilitation which should explain why you believe you are a low-risk to ever reoffend. A character reference letter can help support such a statement.

One of the more challenging elements of applying for CR is equating each charge or conviction to Canadian law. This can be extremely difficult as the language of statutes in Canada can differ from the United States. Laws in both countries can also change over the years, which can be tricky. For example: when possible we try to equate a DUI or reckless driving to Canada's old driving laws, to help ensure it is "grandfathered in" as non-serious criminality. We also try to equate marijuana offenses to Canada's new laws since possession of a small quantity of cannabis was legalized in 2018. For theft or larceny offenses, the value of goods involved can impact the seriousness of the equivalent crime in Canada.

The IMM 5507 Criminal Rehabilitation checklist requests supporting documentation such as a copy of each court judgement made against you, a copy of the foreign laws under which you were charged or convicted, a copy of your passport or US driver's license and birth certificate, and a receipt showing you paid the Criminal Rehabilitation processing fee. Applying for Rehabilitation Canada also requires a criminal clearance from police authorities in your country, and a state certificate or letter from a police authority for every state you have lived in as an adult. Similar to a national FBI certificate, these background checks are often fingerprint-based and can be burdensome to acquire. The canada.ca website does not provide detailed instructions for how to order a state-level police certificate. Since the instructions can vary greatly from state to state, a lawyer will typically provide their client with step by step instructions for any applicable jurisdictions.

Help Applying for Canadian Rehabilitation

You will notice the document checklist for Rehabilitation asks about a "Use of Representative" form (IMM 5476). When you hire a Canadian lawyer to help you apply for Criminal Rehabilitation, he or she will have you sign such a form which allows them to communicate with IRCC directly on your behalf. A good Criminal Rehabilitation lawyer will also facilitate paying the government processing fee on your behalf. This can be helpful, as many people run into problems trying to pay the correct fee. For example: a DUI is now considered serious criminality by Canada, which can involve a processing fee of CAD 1148.87 or approximately USD 875. If the DUI is considered non-serious criminality, however, the fee required may only be CAD 229.77 or approximately USD 175. An experienced lawyer can help determine the appropriate processing fee for your Canada Rehabilitation application, and can customarily take care of paying it for you.

How Much Do I Need to Pay to Apply for Criminal Rehabilitation?

When determining the cost of applying for Canada's Criminal Rehabilitation, there are three main considerations. #1 is the government processing fee. IRCC will typically charge either $229.77 Canadian (about $175 US dollars) or $1,148.87 Canadian (about $875 US dollars), depending on how their view your criminal history. The seriousness of the equivalent crime in Canada can determine the exact amount they charge to review an application. #2 is the cost of a lawyer. Due to the complexity of assembling a good CR application, many people hire a Rehabilitation attorney to assist. Legal fees for helping an American apply for Criminal Rehabilitation Canada can be as low as $1800 or as high as $4500, depending on the complexity of the person's situation. In general, the more convictions you have the more expensive a lawyer will be.

The final monetary consideration: #3 the cost of obtaining supporting documentation. Some courthouses will charge for providing a copy of case records, especially if the conviction is old and the records are stored on microfiche. The price of notarized or certified court records can be even higher. Ordering the required background checks also costs money. The FBI charges $18 for an Identity History Summary Check, but if ordered via a local "LiveScan" vendor such as a post office there will often be an added convenience fee. State-level police certificates also cost money to order. You can learn more about calculating the cost of applying for CR here.

How to Apply for CR Canada from USA

Most people reading this page want to know how to apply for Canada Rehabilitation from the United States. Americans interested in gaining access to Canada with a criminal record can submit their completed Criminal Rehabilitation application (including required supporting documents) to the appropriate Canadian consulate in USA. Many Americans mail their application to the Consulate General of Canada at 466 Lexington Avenue in New York City. If you are working with a Canadian Rehabilitation lawyer, they may request expedited processing by submitting an electronic Criminal Rehabilitation (eCR) application directly on your behalf (instead of mailing away your paperwork).

Questions about how to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation? Want to learn more about how a Canadian Rehabilitation lawyer can help? Contact our team today!

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