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Difference between Rehabilitation and Deemed Rehabilitated when crossing the US/Canadian border




As summer travel plans to Canada are starting to take shape, we

wanted to post a friendly reminder about the difference between

Rehabilitation and Deemed Rehabilitated when crossing the

US/Canadian border.


Criminal inadmissibility to Canada for foreign convictions (convicted abroad)

The information below explains in general terms the following two concepts:

1. When a person may be deemed rehabilitated

2. When a person may be eligible to apply for rehabilitation approval in Canada


1.Deemed rehabilitated period: 10 years

Becoming ‘Deemed rehabilitated’ occurs automatically, 10 years after completion of all terms of the sentence but solely if there is only one conviction on your record and the conviction is not equivalent to a serious indictable offense (crime) in Canada.

For US citizens and US green card holders, this determination can be done mainly at the border or Canadian Port of Entry (POE) unless the person is applying for permanent residence or a work or study permit, etc. You do not need to submit an application for this determination.


2. Eligibility to apply for Rehabilitation period: 5 years

Eligibility to apply for Rehabilitation:

Occurs five years after all terms of all sentences received for all convictions have been

completed. Applying for Rehabilitation entails submitting a rehabilitation approval application ‘Rehab’ to the Canadian Consulate (Visa Office). Unfortunately, this process cannot be done at the Port of Entry. If approved, it will remove your criminal inadmissibility to Canada for the foreseeable future unless you have a subsequent conviction.

Rehabilitation processing times often can take over a year.

If you have a criminal conviction(s) and are required to travel to Canada urgently, the alternative option is to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). Multiple-entry TRPs are allowed and issued. The Law does not prevent you from submitting a Rehab application and a TRP application at the same time or having both applications in process simultaneously.

It is highly recommended that the foreign national applies for rehabilitation once they become eligible as they may be advised that TRPs will no longer be issued at the Port of Entry or by the Visa office abroad.

*If you have been convicted in Canada, the process is different and includes applying for a

suspension of record (formerly known as Parole) when becoming eligible.*

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