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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for a pardon?

For summary offences, you become eligible for a pardon five years from the time of completing your sentence for your offence(s).

For indictable offences, you become eligible for a pardon after 10 years and with good conduct following the completion of your sentence for your offence(s).

The sentence may be a fine, jail term, surcharge, restitution, or probation. You should note that a court order prohibiting you from possessing a firearm does not constitute a sentence.

Who can grant a pardon?

Pardons are not given automatically; they are a long process that begins with making an application to the Government of Canada under the Criminal Records Act (CRA).

The complexities of this process can be time consuming. The applicant must first complete their sentence and wait the required time to prove that they’re reformed. Call toll free: 1-866-922-8159 to see if your qualified today.

Are there any limitations to a pardon?

A pardon does not negate a conviction or guarantee entry or visa privileges in other countries. Additionally, prohibition orders that are still in effect will not be erased by a pardon. A sex offender with Schedule 2 convictions will have their pardon noted on their criminal record. There is the risk of provincial and municipal government agencies (courts and police) not separating a pardoned conviction from other criminal offenses because they do not have to adhere to federal laws.

Why is there no guarantee that my pardon will never be disclosed?

The RCMP is the only police service that is bound by Federal laws. Other police services fall under provincial and/or municipal government ruling and have control over their own information systems, that include the data regarding your pardon. With that being said, police services respect the federal pardon system and generally will not disclose you pardoned criminal record as long as the appropriate steps are taken by the RCMP to inform the police. Upon evidence of your Pardon being completed by the government, staff may have your criminal records expunged/purged at the provincial and municipal levels under federal mandamus.

If I have multiple convictions, do I need a separate pardon for each conviction?

No – those who meet the eligibility requirements for all offences, and a pardon is granted, all the convictions are removed at the same time and closed.

How long will it take to obtain a pardon?

This depends on multiple factors related to how fast police departments and courts respond to requests for information. You don’t need a representative to apply for a pardon, as this process cannot be expedited. A representative can, however, make filling the forms faster.

After obtaining all the records, the performance standards set by the PBC – Parole Board of Canada – indicate that summary offences can take up to 6 months, while indictable offences can take up to 12 months. If you would like more information on obtaining a pardon, contact us toll free: 1-866-922-8159.

What are the legal effects of a pardon?

When you receive a pardon, your criminal record is removed from the Canadian Police Information Centre. Once the pardon has been granted, the RCMP will request that the investigative and/or charging police force restrict the circulation of the record.

Can a pardon be revoked or stop having effect, and what are the consequences?

After a pardon has been granted, a pardon can be revoked if: (a) the person is convicted of a summary offense under the federal act or regulation of Canada; (b) the Government of Canada determines the person is no longer of good conduct (c) The RCMP discovers a false or deceptive statement was made, or relevant information was concealed during the application process. If a pardon is revoked, it will be turned to CPIC along with other conviction records. Pardon Canada can help you if your pardon is revoked. Simply contact us toll free: 1-866-922-8159 to get the help you need.

If a prior pardon was revoked or ceased to have effect, can I apply for another pardon?

A person can apply for another pardon once the eligibility requirements are met for the newest offence.

What is the difference between obtaining a pardon and a U.S. entry waiver?

There are several differences between the two:

  • While a person is only eligible to apply for a pardon after completing the sentence ordered and waiting the mandated time period based on the charge, any Canadian is eligible to apply for a U.S. entry waiver after they’ve finished serving their sentence(s) without any waiting period.
  • Canadians who have been convicted of schedule 1 offences (sexual offence involving a child) and/or have been convicted of more than 3 offences prosecuted by indictment (each with a minimum sentence of 2 years) are ineligible for a record suspension. A U.S. entry waiver, on the other hand, is open to everyone, except for those serving a sentence or in trial, or deemed at high risk to reoffend.
  • A pardon gives you the opportunity to keep your criminal record separate indefinitely or until revoked, but a waiver lasts for 1, 2, or 5 years, and must be renewed.

How does the U.S. find out about my Canadian criminal record?

In order to protect the borders between Canada and the U.S, there are policies surrounding information sharing between the two countries. U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) agents can check the database that is shared between Canada and the U.S. if they feel suspicious of people.

Do I need a U.S Entry Waiver if I have a pardon?

A pardon does not cancel out your criminal offence conviction. Therefore you do need a U.S. Entry Waiver. However, if your record does not exist in U.S. systems, then U.S Customs and Border Protection agents will not be able to see that you have a criminal record when accessing CPIC subsequent to your pardon. To learn more about obtaining a U.S. Entry Waiver, contact Pardon Canada toll free: 1-866-922-8159.

Can a U.S. waiver application be denied?

Yes. The waiver can be denied if you are perceived a high risk to reoffend. High risk offenders are people convicted of multiple indictable sex related and/or drug trafficking offences; have more than 7 summary convictions or more than 3 indictable offences within the last 10 years; have at least one indictable conviction within the last 5 years; or have overstayed in the U.S. illegally within the last 5 years.

Are their consequences of trying to enter the U.S. when inadmissible?

Yes, a record is created in the U.S systems when you are turned away at the U.S border. This will show up each time you try to enter the U.S, whether or not you have a criminal record. This is why you need a U.S. Waiver of Inadmissibility to enter the U.S.

What happens when I try re-entering without a U.S Entry Waiver after being denied years prior?

If you are caught trying to re-enter the country when you are inadmissible, you can be arrested and/or your personal property can be confiscated, including your car. The people you are traveling with can be charged with harbouring an illegal alien if the U.S. Border Protection agents believe your travel companions knew of your inadmissibility.

How long is a U.S. Entry Waiver valid?

You can be granted a waiver to enter the U.S. for any period up to 5 years from The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. Most first time applicants receive a waiver with a 1-year validity term, however there are cases where the waiver is limited to a single entrance. If you have applied multiple times, you can get approved for a waiver with a validity period of 2 – 3 years. Although a 5 year period is possible, there are very few instances where 5 years has been granted.

Who needs a temporary resident permit?

As per Canada’s health and security regulations, foreign nationals with any criminal conviction, including misdemeanor DUI/DWI are inadmissible to enter Canada without special permission given by Canadian Customs and Border Protection via a Temporary Permit. So, anyone with any alcohol related driving infraction, such as DUI, DWI, OWL, OVI, DWAI, or even reckless driving, requires a T.R.P. to cross the border under Federal Law. Call toll free: 1-866-922-8159 to see if you qualify for Canadian entry.

Can I visit, work and/or go to school in Canada if I am from outside the country and have a criminal record?

Whether you committed a crime inside or outside of Canada, if you have a criminal record, you are inadmissible for entry into Canada. An immigration officer will review all the information within the criminal record and decide whether or not you can be granted a visa. Apply for a pardon could help your chances of receiving a visa, if your crime was committed inside of Canada. for a pardon may help convince the immigration officer to grant you a visa.

What happens if I am asked to leave Canada?

Those who have been asked to leave Canada because of their criminal record will have the opportunity to present their proof to a court on why they should be allowed to stay in Canada. You want to show the courts that you are committed to a productive and crime-free life in Canada, and that you have been on good behaviour since your charge. If a removal order is made, you will have to leave the country and reapply to come back. You are still able to apply for a pardon for your Canadian criminal convictions if you are living outside of Canada.

If someone has been removed from Canada because of a criminal record, can they come back?

It is possible to come back to Canada after being removed because of a criminal record, however, it will depend on the time of removal: Departure Order, Exclusion Order or a Deportation Order.

Can you go to Canada with a DUI?

Those who are attempting to enter Canada with a DUI, and have been arrested or convicted of Driving Under the Influence, may be criminally inadmissible to Canada. Canada immigration authorities do not look at the manner in which your conviction was processes in the USA. You are considered Criminally Inadmissible to Canada under Canadian Immigration law if you have any indictment relating to the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

During the assessment of your admissibility, it does not matter if it was a misdemeanor or a felony DUI, you may still be criminally inadmissible to Canada. A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) can give someone who is inadmissible to Canada, the opportunity to travel to Canada with a DUI.

What is a Departure Order?

If you have received a Departure Order, you have 30 days to leave the country and you must obtain a certificate of departure before leaving. If you don’t complete these 2 things, the Departure Order will automatically become a Deportation order. Complying with the rules of a Departure Order is necessary if you want to be able to reapply to return to Canada. A standard immigration screening process is the next necessary step. Receiving a pardon before reapply to come back into Canada is recommended if you have been convicted of a crime since your Departure Order.

What is an Exclusion Order?

An Exclusion Order prevents a person from returning to Canada for a set period of time. Typically exclusion orders last one year, however, Exclusion Orders can be extended to 2 years if you have misrepresented yourself during the immigration process. After the completion of the Exclusion Order duration, you can re-enter Canada. If, for any reason, you need to return to Canada before the completion of your Exclusion Order duration, you will need written authorization from the Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

What is a Deportation Order?

A Deportation Order prevents a person from ever returning to Canada without first obtaining written authorization from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) or becoming a permanent resident or citizen of Canada.

Can a foreign national legally enter Canada with a criminal record?

If a foreign national has a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), Canadian Pardon or Record Suspension, Youth and Contraventions Act record, Rehabilitation certificate, or has been “Deemed Rehabilitation,” they can legally enter Canada with a criminal record. Contact Pardon Canada toll free: 1-866-922-8159, to learn more about your options.

If I have a criminal record, can that make me ineligible to claim refugee status?

You can be considered ineligible to claim refugee status if you have committed serious, non-political offenses. In order to determine whether you are eligible or not to claim refugee status, an immigration hearing would need to be held.

***Can my refugee status be revoked because of a criminal record?***

A refugee can be asked to leave Canada because of a criminal record depending on various factors include how serious the crime committed is. You can potentially help immigration approvals by applying for a pardon because it shows your commitment towards living a crime-free life. Citizenship and Immigration Canada will allow people to stay in Canada until the pardon is approved. Call toll free:1-866-922-8159 to see if you qualify today!

If I have a criminal record, can that make me ineligible for a permanent residence status?

Not only can you be considered ineligible for permanent residence status, but anyone included in your ‘family application’ can also be determined ineligible.

If I am a permanent resident, can I lose my status because of a criminal record?

If Citizenship and Immigration Canada knew about your criminal record prior to granting you permanent residence status, there should not be a problem. However, a criminal record can stop you from applying for citizenship, and even have your permanent resident status revoked. There is also the potential that your criminal record could lead to your removal from Canada. When you applied for permanent resident status, if you withheld or did not disclose the fact of your criminal record, this could hard your immigration application and/or status.

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