Research done by Princeton University indicates that one in every four Americans has a criminal background. That is an estimated 65 million Americans. A criminal record can not only hold you back from getting a desirable job in the United States but can also deny you entry to your neighbours up north. Do not let a criminal record hold you back on job opportunities, ski trips, or visiting loved ones. If you have made mistakes like many people have in their past, you can still be paying the consequences many years later. Whether it is business or pleasure that brings you to Canada, strict restrictions can hold you back.

There are two general options for United States citizens looking to enter Canada, despite having a criminal record in the United States.

The first option is a Temporary Resident Permit, which would allow you into Canada for a defined period.

The other more permanent option is a “Deemed Rehabilitation Assessment”. This would overcome your inadmissibility permanently.  You may need to attend the Canadian consulate with the documentation once we have compiled it on your behalf. We would require you to collect the following:

  • A criminal clearance certificate from the national police authorities for all countries in which you have resided at least six months since reaching the age of 18. This would consist of an FBI certificate for the United States or an RCMP certificate for a Canada criminal record. These records are matched via fingerprints.
  • State police certificates and local police certificates from all locations within the US where you have resided at least six months since reaching age 18.
  • Three letters of reference from responsible citizens (parole board, public officials, respectable private citizens, clergymen).
  • A copy of each court judgment made against you, which shows the charge, section of the law under which you were charged, the verdict, and the sentence.
  • Any foreign (including Canadian) laws under which you were charged or convicted
  • Your description of the events giving rise to the offence and any extenuating circumstances
  • If your driver’s license suspension was a result of your conviction, you must give official proof of restoration of full privileges and of the date of restoration.
  • A letter from your employer including a brief job description, length of service and current salary

If you have any questions regarding these applications for visiting Canada with a criminal record or wish to enlist the services of Pardon Services Canada file such an application, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices.

Information on Processing Fees


Growth in the U.S. Ex-Felon and Ex-Prisoner Population, 1948 to 2010