Criminal Records and Obtaining Canadian Citizenship

By 1 March 2016June 22nd, 2022No Comments
Criminal Records and Obtaining Canadian Citizenship

If you have had brushes with the law in the past, it may not be as straightforward to obtain your Canadian Citizenship as it might be for someone with a completely clean record.    The Citizenship Act, most recently updated on June 11th of 2015, specifies what information in your record might prevent you from becoming a Canadian Citizen.

If any of the following circumstances apply to you, you will not be able to obtain permanent Canadian Citizenship:

In some circumstances, you will not be able to obtain permanent Canadian Citizenship.

Charges and Trials

Individuals who are involved in any way in an appeal that is under the Citizenship Act will be denied permanent Canadian Citizenship, including if you’re charged with or on trial for said appeal. These same restrictions apply to an appeal for an indictable offence in Canada or for one that carries that same weight of said indictable offence.

Revocations or Refusals

If an individual has committed fraud with the last ten years and their Canadian citizenship was revoked as a consequence, the individual will not be given another chance at permanent Canadian citizenship.

There are several other ways to lose your Canadian citizenship, such as being convicted of:

  • Terrorism
  • Treason or high treason
  • Spying offences
  • Armed force service for a country/organized armed group that was in armed conflict with Canada

You can also be denied permanent Canadian citizenship if your application was refused five years prior to your current application. With new bills and acts coming into play every year, it’s possible that you no longer meet—or never met—the requirements for attaining or resuming citizenship.


Before applying for permanent Canadian citizenship, you must ensure that you haven’t been convicted within the last four years of an indictable offence in Canada or an offence under the Citizenship Act.

If an individual commits an offence and happens to be outside of Canada, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t be taken into account when they apply for permanent Canadian citizenship. If said offence is judged to be equivalent to an indictable offence in Canada, and the offence was committed four years prior to submitting the citizenship application, the individual will be denied. Neither a record suspension—also called a pardon—nor amnesty will affect the rejection of the submission.

Parole and Probation

Being on parole or on probation in Canada automatically bars you from application approval.

If you were already a permanent resident and were convicted of treason, high treason, spying offences, terrorism, or took part in armed force services for a country or organized armed group that was in armed conflict with Canada, your citizenship will be revoked. Consequently, you cannot regain it.

If you applied for Canadian citizenship before June 11, 2015, most of these prohibitions will apply to you. However, if you have been convicted of an indictable offence in Canada or an offence under the Citizenship Act before June 11, 2015 you will be prohibited in the three years before you apply, rather than four years stated above.

It is also important to note that people who have had their citizenship revoked for any reason can never apply for resumption of citizenship.  If any of the above situations apply to you, it is recommended to wait until the situation no longer applies before you make an application for citizenship, or look into Canadian pardon services to see what can be done regarding your criminal record.

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