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TRP Canada

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 Does a US Citizen Get a Canadian Record Suspension for a DUI?

If an American has a DUI or other criminal conviction in Canada, they may be able to apply for a Canadian Record Suspension, formerly called a Canadian Pardon, in order to permanently clear their record. If approved for a Record Suspension, the person's criminal history in Canada would no longer put them at risk of a border denial. This is only the case for people that have a conviction in Canada. If an American wants to be able to cross the border with a criminal history in USA (not Canada), they do not need a Record Suspension! Instead, they can apply for Criminal Rehabilitation in order to permanently overcome their inadmissibility to Canada.

If a US citizen has a summary conviction in Canada, for example a DUI that happened while they were visiting Ontario, they can become eligible to apply for a Canadian Record Suspension once it has been at least 5 years since full completion of all sentencing. In the rare case an American citizen was convicted of a serious crime prosecuted by indictment, the Canada Record Suspension eligibility wait time can increase to 10 years. If a US citizen is not yet eligible for a Record Suspension, they can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) in the meantime. A TRP can enable someone from the United States to travel to Canada with a DUI or other conviction, but is only a short-term fix available for a maximum duration of three years. In order to get approved, an applicant must provide evidence of an important reason for travel, such as visiting family or work/business.

Interested in a Record Suspension? Contact our Canadian immigration law firm today for a FREE consultation!

Why Would an American Apply for a Record Suspension Canada?

By far the most common reason for a citizen of the United States to apply for a Canadian Record Suspension is to allow them to start crossing the border again. According to Canada's immigration rules, driving under the influence (DUI) is considered a serious enough crime to render a foreign national inadmissible to the country. For this reason, if a foreigner drinks and drives while in the country they could end up banned forever unless they successfully obtain a Record Suspension Pardon. For example, a Washington State resident who gets convicted of a DUI in British Columbia may no longer be allowed to enter Canada. This can be a huge inconvenience if the person lives near the border, has family in Canada, or occasionally has work trips to a Canadian city such as Vancouver or Toronto. In such a case, the individual might decide to fill out a Canada Record Suspension application form once eligible in an effort to be allowed to start crossing the border again.

Canadian Record Suspensions are also popular for Americans that are potentially interested in moving to Canada. For example: if a resident of Michigan has a DUI in Ontario and their partner is a Canadian citizen, they might be interested in getting sponsored for Permanent Residency in Canada (similar to a Green Card). In order to be eligible for PR in Canada, however, they will likely first need to get approved for a Record Suspension in order to fix the inadmissibility caused by their DUI conviction.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Canada Record Suspension?

For a summary conviction, a Canadian Record Suspension is typically granted by the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) within 6 months. If an applicant has an indictable conviction, however, the Canada Record Suspension processing time can increase up to 12 months. Once a Pardon is issued to a United States citizen, his or her criminal record in Canada is removed from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database which can resolve their inadmissibility issues allowing them to start visiting the nation again.

Please note: Canadian Record Suspension processing times can increase or decrease based on a variety of factors including application volume. If you want an estimate of the current processing time, please give us a call.

Do I Even Need a Record Suspension?

Not all criminal convictions in Canada render the offender inadmissible to the country. Consequently, USA citizens interested in being able to travel to Canada with a criminal record may want to consult a qualified immigration attorney about their admissibility before attempting to apply for Record Suspension access. It is also important to make sure you are requesting access to Canada the right way. Record Suspensions are commonly confused with Canadian Rehabilitation, which is a completely different legal procedure submitted to and adjudicated by an entirely separate department of the Government of Canada.

Both a Record Suspension and Criminal Rehabilitation are casually referred to as a Canada Pardon, but they are applicable to entirely different circumstances. If your DUI happened in Canada, you likely need a Record Suspension. If your DUI happened in the United States, you likely need Criminal Rehabilitation. In a nutshell, above the border requires a Record Suspension, below the border requires Rehabilitation. Depending on when a person will become eligible for a Record Suspension Canada pardon, as well as the individual's purpose for visiting the country, a Canada entry waiver (TRP) may be an appropriate interim fix. Once eligible to request a Record Suspension for Canada, however, this is generally preferred by the government over a temporary waiver.

Immigration to Canada with a DUI

If a foreign national is interested in becoming a Canadian Permanent Resident but has a DUI or other criminal history inside Canada, he or she will likely need to get approved for a Record Suspension before being eligible for Permanent Residency (PR). For example: if a Canada Study Permit or Work Permit holder is charged and convicted of impaired driving in Ontario, they will typically need to obtain a Record Suspension before being able to obtain PR. Even if the individual currently lives in Canada on a valid visa and has received an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for PR via Express Entry, if they are considered criminally inadmissible because of a DUI that happened in Canada they will need to fill out a Record Suspension application before becoming eligible.

Interested in Canada PR but have a DUI or other criminal record? Phone our team today to discuss your options.

Canada Record Suspension vs. Canada Pardon

In March 2012, Bill C-10 amended the Criminal Records Act (CRA) and replaced the term "Pardon" with the term "Record Suspension". Consequently, many people still refer to a Canadian Record Suspension by its former name and Record Suspensions are commonly marketed to the public as Pardons. The process of getting pardoned via a Record Suspension is the same as it was prior to the name change, and an approval is essentially a recognition that a person is now of good conduct.

While many applicants are Canadian citizens hoping to clear their record in their own country, our focus is helping foreign nationals apply for a Record Suspension Canada for immigration or visitation purposes. For example: if an international student from India gets a DUI in Ontario and is interested in PR via Express Entry, we can help. Likewise, if a business visitor from USA gets a DUI in Alberta and needs the ability to continue traveling to Canada for work purposes, we can help.

Where Do I Apply For a Record Suspension?

A Record Suspension application that has been filled out for a candidate from America should be mailed away to the Clemency and Record Suspension Division of the Parole Board of Canada. The mailing address is 410 Laurier Avenue West in Ottawa, Ontario. The process of applying for a Record Suspension in Canada involves more than just filling out the Record Suspension application form. Applicants should provide all their court documents and must also order a local police records check (background check) from the RCMP, which involves visiting an accredited fingerprinting company or police station to submit fingerprints electronically. A full list of required documentation is available on the official Parole Board website but contains limited guidance.

When applying for a Canadian Record Suspension, any charges or convictions from outside Canada must also be adequately disclosed in the paperwork. In cases where an applicant has convictions both inside Canada and outside Canada, the individual may also need to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation. For example: a US citizen with a DUI in Canada and a DUI in the United States may need to apply for both a Record Suspension (to resolve any offenses in Canada) and Criminal Rehabilitation (to resolve any offenses in USA).

How Much Does a Canada Record Suspension Cost?

When evaluating whether or not a Record Suspension Canada is worth pursuing, many Americans want to know how much money it will cost. When calculating the total price of applying for a Canadian Pardon, both the cost of a Record Suspension lawyer and the processing fee charged by the Parole Board of Canada should be considered. The Canada Record Suspension processing fee is currently only USD 40 (CAD 50). Prior to January 2022, the Record Suspension application fee was USD 510 (CAD 658). It was reduced substantially to make the process more affordable to regular people interested in clearing their record. The application involves a lot of paperwork and the government's standards are high, so the cost of a Record Suspension lawyer is not cheap. Most experienced lawyers charge $1800+ to prepare and submit a Record Suspension application on behalf of a client. If you have an indictable conviction (similar to a felony in USA), the cost of a good lawyer will likely increase.

Canada Record Suspension Lawyer

When seeking professional assistance with a Canadian Record Suspension application, it is crucial to always verify you would be working with a licensed lawyer. There are many "consultants" that market their services in a way that is confusingly similar to a law office, but at not actually registered lawyers. If you want to maximize your likelihood of being successfully pardoned by the Canadian Government, it would be advisable to work with an experienced lawyer.

Questions about how to get a Canadian Record Suspension as a US citizen? Phone our team today!

How Can We Help?

If you have any arrests or convictions on your record and need to visit Canada, call us today or fill out this form! 24 Hour Response Time!