Having a Spouse with Criminal Record
In order to ensure the security of every Canadian citizen and permanent resident, the immigration officers are vigilant, when it comes to accessing foreign nationals’ admissibility. If you have a spouse who has a criminal record, he or she may be denied entry to Canada. Furthermore, this inadmissibility will prevent you from successfully sponsoring your spouse. Fear not, you still have an option to sponsor a spouse with criminal record. Before applying for spousal sponsorship, there is a need to overcome your spouse’s criminality, depending on the nature of the crime and what sentence they received. In this blog, you will learn about how to sponsor a spouse with criminal record.
Resolving Criminal Inadmissibility
One of the most important steps prior to sponsoring a spouse with criminal record is to have the spouse’s criminal record expunged, obtain Criminal Rehabilitation, or be deemed rehabilitated. Rehabilitation means that, you lead a stable lifestyle and that you are unlikely to be involved in any further criminal activities.
Criminal Rehabilitation Eligibility
First and foremost, you need to have a criminal past to be able to apply for criminal rehabilitation. In order to be eligible for criminal rehabilitation, the charges on your record must have occurred at least a certain number of years ago. The number of years which must have passed from the time you successfully completed all the conditions of your sentence is dependent on the crime you committed in the first place. If you were convicted on a summary conviction, otherwise known as a misdemeanor in the Unites States, at least 5 years must have passed since the time you completed all the conditions of your sentence before you are eligible for criminal rehabilitation. Otherwise, if you were convicted of an indictable offense, also known as a felony in the United States, at least 10 years must have passed since you successfully completed all the conditions of your sentence. If you committed an offense which would have resulted in a prison sentence of at least 10 years, you will never be eligible for criminal rehabilitation.
Criminal Rehabilitation Essential Documents
To apply for criminal rehabilitation, you must address your criminal inadmissibility. You must prove you have reformed from your criminal past, and you do not pose any threat to Canadian society. You must show that, you have complied with every sentence that was imposed on you. You should collect police clearances from anywhere you have lived for six months since the age of 18, and court dockets from the times you attended court. These documents will help the officers determine exactly what you were sentenced with, and when you completed each condition of your sentence. Then, you must prove you are a productive member of society, and have grown since your criminal past.
At this point, you may be wondering how you can prove to be an upstanding member of society. The common way to prove this is by providing a detailed personal statement. The personal statement, along with a few letters of reference from individuals who know you well and can write about your good character, may help strengthen your application. Other than these, you may also provide proof of your volunteer work, donations to charity, and so on.
Finally, in regards to your productivity, you need include your resume and/or employment letter. It is important to keep in mind, the more information and documentation that you provide, the better chance you have for approval. Where you cannot provide certain documents, it is highly recommended to provide an explanation as to why. This will show the Immigration officer that you have good intentions and are willing to provide the documentation, but unfortunately you cannot.
Coming to or Remaining in Canada without Criminal Rehabilitation
If you need to come to Canada but you are not eligible for criminal rehabilitation, you may submit a temporary resident permit to enter or remain in Canada instead.
What happens Next
Upon receiving your application for criminal rehabilitation, an immigration officer will review it along with any supporting documents. If you are eligible to apply, the officer will make a positive or negative recommendation and forward the application to the authority who can approve or refuse applications for rehabilitation. For less serious offences, the authority is usually the manager of the local office. For more serious offences, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship will make the decision.
Please note, an application for rehabilitation requires completing relevant application forms and providing various supporting documents. The application may take approximately a year, or sometimes, more than a year, to process once filed. To avoid excessive waiting time, you may submit your criminal rehabilitation application before, or at the same time as your spousal sponsorship application.
Contact Akrami and Associates
Overcoming inadmissibility and applying for a spousal sponsorship can be very confusing and overwhelming, as there are different types of requirements that you need to meet. It is important for you to pay close attention to every detail during your application process. The failure to do so could result in application refusal. Ultimately, it could make you ineligible to sponsor any individual in the future, or make you inadmissible to Canada if you are the principle applicant. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you seek professional help. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients with spousal sponsorship and criminal rehabilitation. If you have any questions regarding spousal sponsorship and/or criminal rehabilitation, or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advice, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at 416-477-2545.
With Akrami & Associates there is always a way!!