Pardons Under Canadian Law

By Author: Admin | July 7, 2010

Some persons seeking immigration to Canada have had a checkered history in Canada, characterized by a criminal record.  For these people, a pardon may be the appropriate remedy.  Guest blogger Lesley Atkinson of Canadian Pardon Service describes the concept of a Pardon under Canadian law.

Some General Pardons Information

Pardons are government documents that are granted to individuals with criminal records by the National Parole Board of Canada. Once a pardon is granted, that individual’s criminal record will be removed from federal databases and sealed permanently (with some exceptions). Many people with criminal records decide to get pardons because they will remove barriers in employment, education, volunteering, and even in child custody cases and adoption.

Recognition of Pardons by the United States

It is important to note that pardons do not guarantee an individual will be legally permitted to enter the United States. Once an individual has a criminal record and the United States is aware of this fact (through sharing programs with government databases), depending on their criminal conviction(s) they may never be permitted to cross the border. When deciding whether someone should be allowed to enter the country, US Customs will consult their ‘List of Moral Turpitude’, a document that lists a number of convictions for which an individual will be deemed inadmissible for entry (such as convictions for murder, rape, forgery, bribery, and prostitution). Less ‘serious’ crimes, such as DUI, breaking and entering, and simple assault are not classified as crimes of Moral Turpitude, and individuals with these convictions will still be allowed to enter the US. It is important to note that even if individuals have pardons, if they were convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, they will need to apply for a US entry waiver entitled “Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Non-Immigrant”. Once this entry waiver has been granted, individuals may freely visit the United States for a specified time period (generally 1-5 years).


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