With increasing information sharing between governments, violations of the law can be more easily shared between governments.  Such convictions may be easier for Canada Border Services Agency officers to detect.  However, applying for a visa with some form of criminal history can be done successfully, with some extra measures.

It is important to determine how the foreign criminal conviction is viewed by Canada’s laws.  What must be determined is  whether a conviction that occurred outside of Canada has some equivalent to an Act of Parliament, or a federal  statute of Canada.  This is known as determining equivalency.

When determining equivalency, your immigration lawyer must obtain the foreign  police certificate, copy of the conviction, court decision, extracts of the foreign law (i.e. relevant Articles pertaining to the crime and  the sentence, including any built-in rehabilitation mechanisms in the foreign law).

There are some instances where the crime committed outside of Canada is not equivalent to a crime inside of Canada. For example, with respect to drunk driving provisions, a finding of guilt is rendered if there is .08 of a blood-alcohol concentration.  If a person is convicted in a foreign country of a lesser amount of blood-alcohol content, then there may not be an equivalent criminal offence in Canada.   The foreign charge should nevertheless be disclosed when applying for a visa.

Of relevance in the above issue is whether a pardon or some form of rehabilitation has been obtained from the same country in which the crime was committed.  In the best case scenario, if a person is deemed in the foreign country to have had the sentence erased through some court-imposed actions, then this may make the effect on seeking a visa to  Canada minimal.

Consult an immigration lawyer if you have a charge or conviction before seeking a visa to Canada.

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