Are you worried that a criminal record could ruin your dreams of becoming a Canadian citizen? Permanent residents often find that their past mistakes complicate, delay, and even jeopardize their application proceedings. Let’s learn more about how a Pardon can help keep your citizenship dreams alive regardless of your history.
As a permanent resident, you have worked long and hard to contribute to Canada, reside here legally, and assimilate into the culture while keeping your own customs and values close to your heart. Your dream of becoming a citizen is close to being a reality.
But if you have been convicted of even a minor offence, it could cause your application to be denied or delayed. At the very least, it will complicate matters. It isn’t uncommon for convictions from years ago to be brought to the attention of immigration authorities when you apply.
If you are eligible, a Pardon will permanently seal your record from public visibility, helping you remain in Canada and achieve citizenship. Therefore, a permanent resident with a criminal record should take steps to obtain a Pardon urgently.
A Criminal Record Could Jeopardize Your Residency Status
Even if you and your family have been residents in Canada for many years, a serious crime can jeopardize your right to live and work here legally. A crime is considered serious if:
● the maximum sentence is 10 or more years
● you are sentenced to more than six months in prison
In some cases, it could even end up in removal from Canada.
For more information, please read an associated article “Will a criminal record affect permanent residence status”.
A Criminal Record Can Jeopardize Your Citizenship Application
Regardless of how serious the crime, your application for Canadian citizenship could still be denied, making it impossible for you to get the full rights a citizen possesses. With citizenship, you are not subject to resident rules, can vote, and can obtain a Canadian passport. You are also not allowed to be removed from the country (except in extremely rare circumstances).
Can a Permanent Resident Get a Pardon?
Yes. If you are a person who was granted the right to live and work in Canada, then you can have your record suspended, increasing your chances of successfully applying for citizenship. If you want to have the best chance of keeping your dreams alive, it’s important to show Immigration Canada that you’ve done everything you can to make up for past mistakes and are a fully contributing member of society.
How to Know if You Are Eligible for a Pardon
The regulations governing Canadian pardons are complex. The only way to know for sure is to obtain a free pardon qualification. Assuming you qualify, you will then be assigned to speak with an Accredited Pardon Officer to help you with the next steps.