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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Criminality

How is an assessment done on my admissibility?

Foreign offences are equated to Canadian Acts of Parliament, such as the Canadian Criminal Code and a determination is made by an Immigration officer, on whether the charge/conviction makes the offender inadmissible to Canada under Canada`s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. For example, if a person has a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol with the blood alcohol reading in excess of 0.08% the person would be inadmissible under A36(2)(b) of Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The equivalent offence in Canadian law may be to S253 of Canada's Criminal Code, punishable under S255(1)(b) by way of indictment.

What are the common convictions that will make a person inadmissible to Canada?

Drink driving or impaired driving convictions (even if they are recorded as a traffic offence) where the blood alcohol reading is 0.081% or above – or a breath reading of 0401mgms/L or above, will make you inadmissible to Canada. Other common convictions that may make a person inadmissible to Canada are: reckless or dangerous driving, common assault, street racing, hinder or resist a police officer in the execution of duty, possession, supply, trafficking of drugs (including cannabis) and shoplifting (theft), fraud or criminal damage, to name a few. 

I was charged with an offence. However the court outcome was that “no conviction was recorded”. Can I enter Canada as a visitor?

Yes. You should also carry your current police certificate and the documents which show that no conviction was recorded and present them to the Canadian Port of Entry, if requested. You do not have to make further contact with the Sydney office.

What do I need to provide for an admissibility assessment to be done?

In order to commence an assessment of your admissibility, you are required to: Complete the application form for Criminal rehabilitation (PDF*) (Note: you are not applying for Rehabilitation at this time – this form is for information only); Provide a police certificate from the country where the conviction occurred; Provide copies of the court / bench/ police records/fact sheets relating to your conviction; Provide copies of the specific sections of law under which you were convicted.


If you have been convicted of “driving with excess blood alcohol concentration”, please provide documentary evidence of your blood alcohol concentration.

If you have been convicted of possession of Cannabis (marijuana) or Cannabis resin (hashish), please provide documentary evidence of the quantity of the substance for which you were convicted.

If you were convicted of theft or any offence resembling to theft (eg: fraud, false pretence, embezzlement etc.), please provide documentary evidence as to the value of the theft for which you were convicted.

You should submit all the information in one package – do not send these items to this office separately. Allow a minimum of 4-6 weeks from the date this office receives your documents before sending a status update. Do not book or pay for any travel until you have received written advice from this office of the outcome of an assessment.

If I am inadmissible, can I just go for a visit/holiday?

No, if a person is determined to be inadmissible to Canada they are unable to enter Canada as a visitor, student, worker or immigrant until such time as relief is granted.

How can I get relief (approval to travel) if I am criminally inadmissible?

After a prescribed period of five (5) years has passed since the completion of any imposed sentence (and there have been no other convictions that affect your admissibility) an application for Criminal Rehabilitation may be lodged. If approved, Rehabilitation will overcome the inadmissibility permanently.

What is a “sentence,” and how do I calculate the “rehabilitation date?”

The sentence is the penalty imposed by a Court for your offence and can take the form of a monetary fine, a period of licence disqualification,or jail term.You are eligible to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation when 5 years has elapsed from the completion of the sentence (like when the fine was paid in full or the period of disqualification ended). You will have to provide documentary evidence of the full payment of all fines imposed.

My conviction occurred and was completed over 10 years ago. What now?

If you only have one conviction of a less serious nature, after a prescribed period of ten (10) years has passed since the completion of any imposed sentence (and there have been no other convictions that affect your admissibility) you will be deemed to be rehabilitated pursuant to R18(2) of Canada's Immigration Regulations. You do not have to contact this office. If you have more than one offence, deemed rehabilitation may not apply to your case and you will require a formal assessment.

If I do decide to travel to Canada, do I have to tell immigration that I have a conviction?

You are advised to carry the final disposition of the hearing - or a copy of your police certificate - or other evidence that no conviction was recorded - as the Port of Entry officer/s may ask you about previous convictions/criminal charges. You are obliged under Canada's Immigration Act to answer that question truthfully - and if you have the documentation to prove you have no conviction recorded it will be useful at that time.

I know I am inadmissible to Canada because of a conviction. What if I just go to Canada and don't admit my conviction?

If your conviction comes to light at the port of entry or during your visit to Canada, you will be reported under the Act and could face removal from Canada and future inadmissibility as a person who has been removed, in addition to inadmissibility due to the conviction. If you knowingly enter Canada while you are inadmissible, then later make an application for permanent residence in Canada, your application for permanent residence is likely to be refused. This applies even if you are sponsored as the spouse or partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

What if I am inadmissible and not yet eligible to make an application for Criminal Rehabilitation – but still want to travel to Canada?

If the conviction is less than five years old and you are inadmissible, you cannot travel to Canada without written approval from Canada Immigration. Under exceptional circumstances only, consideration for temporary entry may be granted by the Ministers’ delegate in the form of a Temporary Resident Permit .

I have original paperwork to show that my actual blood alcohol reading for my drink driving conviction was 0.080% or less. Can I enter Canada as a visitor?

Yes, provided the conviction or traffic infringement notice was not for Impaired Driving, a drink driving offence alone with a blood alcohol reading 0.08% exactly or below will not make you inadmissible. You may proceed to Canada. You do not have to contact the Canadian Consulate General in Sydney, Australia.

My conviction comes within the provisions of: the NZ Clean Slate Act 2004 / the spent convictions scheme in the Australian State or Territory where I was convicted or I hold a Fiji Certificate of Criminal Rehabilitation. Do I have to declare the conviction – do I still need an admissibility assessment?

Some convictions are considered “spent” or “clean slated” after a period of time has passed. These convictions should still be declared on any application being made for a visa to go to Canada. In cases where the clean slate/spent schemes have been applied, Canada also accepts these cases as spent – and the person is admissible to Canada. There is no need for you to seek an admissibility assessment.

If I don’t need an admissibility assessment before I leave, what should I carry with me to Canada ?

You may wish to carry an updated police clearance certificate to show you have no disclosable outcomes (no convictions) or carry documentary evidence that your conviction outside of Canada does not equate to an indictable offence in Canada – or that no conviction was recorded. Most common of these examples are DUI offences where the blood alcohol reading is less than or equal to 0.08% or the breath alcohol reading is less than or equal to 0400mgms/L. In these cases you may have a conviction in your country, but it would not have resulted in a conviction in Canada – you are admissible.


*Note: To view the PDF version of a document you may require Acrobat Reader available free of charge from Adobe or other software capable of viewing PDF files. An accessible version of Acrobat Reader, which includes support for screen readers, is also available. Alternatively, you can convert a PDF file to HTML or ASCII text by using one of Adobe’s conversion services.



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