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US resident: Do I need a Record Suspension?

A US resident can only apply for a Record Suspension if they were convicted in Canada. Sometimes foreign nationals have encounters with the law in Canada. This can happen when working, studying or just visiting.  Many of these people are US residents. This is no surprise given that Americans make up the largest number of visitors to Canada.

Canada and the United States have a very close relationship. As a result, we sometimes get Record Suspension requests from US citizens. Usually, they have records in the USA and want to come to Canada. However, sometimes they have records in Canada. A US resident who has an offence in Canada, such as DUI, can’t apply for a US pardon. They must apply to the Canadian government. In Canada, a pardon is called a Record Suspension.

Why would a US resident apply for a Record Suspension?

For Americans who have ties in Canada, the benefits are:

  • Visiting
  • Work permits
  • Study permits
  • Canadian permanent residency
  • Canadian citizenship or dual citizenship
  • Family matters, such as joint custody or adoption
  • Business contracts

You do not need to be a citizen of Canada, to apply for a Record Suspension. You may qualify if:

  • You completed the sentence, which may include fines, probation or other conditions
  • You have completed the waiting period (5 years for summary offences and 10 years for indictable)
  • You were convicted in Canada of a federal offence.

Offences in other countries

You cannot apply for a Record Suspension for a conviction that took place in another country even if you now live here. However, you can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation. A successful Criminal Rehabilitation application is a permanent solution to entering Canada with a record in your home country. You may also be deemed rehabilitated after 10 years for most offences. Some serious or multiple offences are not eligible for deemed rehabilitation.

Another important thing to remember is that you can enter Canada if you have a single summary offence, such as possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana. However, you may want to apply for a Record Suspension anyway because a criminal record can still limit your opportunities in Canada even if it’s for a summary offence.

If you have both foreign offences and Canadian offences, you may also have to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation from Canadian Citizenship and Immigration to overcome any inadmissibility.

For more information about Record Suspensions, TRPs and Criminal Rehabilitation, contact us at 1-866-972-7366s for a free consultation.

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