Yes, you may be able to get permanent residency if you have a criminal record. However, you should apply for a Record Suspension or Criminal Rehabilitation first. Permanent residence status is a pathway to Canadian citizenship. If you are a permanent resident, you cannot vote or hold public office, but you can reside and work in Canada. You receive the protections of Canadian law and access to social benefits. There are certain criteria you must meet in order to become a permanent resident, and the status may be revoked.

As part of your permanent resident application, you are required to provide a police certificate. This is used to assess whether incoming people are a security risk to the country. The kind of police certificate and criminal record check you must provide will depend on under what circumstances you are entering Canada, such as whether you plan to study or provide caregiving services.

You may be denied permanent residency if you were deemed inadmissible to Canada because of serious criminality or similar reasons. You do not have to be a Canadian citizen to apply for a record suspension, also called a pardon, or criminal rehabilitation. A record suspension applies to convictions within Canada, while criminal rehabilitation covers offences committed outside the country.

Clearing up your criminal record can help you move on from past mistakes that may hurt your chances of becoming part of Canadian society. You don’t have to figure things out by yourself. You can get help from people who understand the system.