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Can a Non-Conviction Record Affect an Immigration Application?

Citizenship and Immigration Canada Application

A non-conviction record is a record of dismissed, discharged or withdrawn criminal charges. Having a non-conviction record can affect your immigration application, even if the charges were never brought to light.

Obtaining a record suspension, also known as a pardon, can prevent a non-conviction record from interfering with your immigration status. Read on for more information about how a non-conviction criminal record can affect your immigration application and what you can do to avoid that situation.

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Non-Conviction Criminal Records in Canada

You have a criminal record under Canadian law if you have been accused and charged with a crime and were fingerprinted within Canada or if you have attended Canadian criminal court, even if the charges were dropped or dismissed.

This non-conviction record can jeopardize your immigration status. At the very least, it will make the process of obtaining immigration status much longer. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) may deny an immigration application based on a non-conviction record, potentially resulting in deportation.

Even charges that were dropped or dismissed years ago will appear on your non-conviction record and can be used as grounds to deny your immigration application. People who have already obtained immigration status can have their status revoked due to the presence of a non-conviction record. Having a non-conviction record may also prevent those with immigrant status to apply for citizenship. Immigrants who have received citizenship may have their citizenship revoked because of a criminal record, although this is rare and even less likely with dismissed or dropped charges.

Non-Conviction Record and Refugee Status

A non-conviction record can also negatively impact your refugee status. Refugee status is granted to people who were forced to flee their country and are seeking asylum in Canada. Refugee status can be revoked and refugees may be deported due to the presence of a non-conviction record. Refugees with non-conviction records may also be prevented from applying for permanent residency or citizenship.

How Can I Prevent a Non-Conviction Record from Jeopardizing My Immigration Status?

In order to prevent a non-conviction record from negatively affecting your immigration application, apply for a pardon or record suspension. A record suspension does not eliminate your criminal record, but it can separate your dropped, discharged or dismissed charges from your publically visible record. The process of application for a pardon goes as follows:

  • First, you must determine if you qualify to apply for a pardon.
  • If you are eligible, you may apply for a record suspension.
  • Once you have applied for a record suspension, notify CIC as soon as possible.
  • If you are granted a pardon, make sure to contact CIC to let them know.

Any criminal charges against you can negatively affect your Canadian immigration status, even if the charges were dropped or dismissed. A non-conviction record can prevent you for make you lose you immigration status, prevent you from applying for Canadian citizenship, and even get your deported from the country. Keep your immigration status secure by discovering if you’re eligible for a pardon or record suspension.