Q. If I have a criminal record in the U.S., will I be allowed into Canada to go hunting or fishing?
A. It depends. If you have just 1 “minor” offence, and it was more than 10 years ago, you can be granted entry at the border by Canada Customs without any advance paperwork. However, if you have more than 1 minor offence, or it was less than 10 years ago, or it wasn’t minor, you will need a “Rehab Permit”.
Q. What is considered to be a “minor” offence?
A. This is a complex question with too many variables to explain here, but basically a DUI that didn’t result in any injuries or damage, or a small theft (under $1,000), will generally be considered “minor”.
Q. How do I prove that I only have 1 offence and that it was more than 10 years ago?
A. Generally the Customs officer will know that you have a criminal record, and usually they can tell the date and details. However, there is always a chance that this info isn’t clear on their system, or their system may be down. In that case, the decision to allow entry is up to the Customs officer. It is advised that you carry and produce a copy of the paperwork from the jurisdiction where the conviction was entered to show the date and other details.
Q. How long does it take to get a Rehab Permit?
A. It typically takes 2-12 months. The bulk of this time is spent obtaining your records from the U.S., so if you happen to have them already, it can take much less time. It can also save time if you are able to drive to a Canadian Border Services office somewhere at the border to submit your application.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. $795 USD.
Q. Can I be denied?
A. Some applicants are denied because their criminal record is serious or extensive. Others are temporarily denied because their records weren’t obtained in time. There is no refund if your application is denied, however, you can re-apply. The agent listed at the bottom of this document has a 95% success rate in obtaining Rehab Permits for their clients.
Q. How long is the Rehab Permit valid?
A. The Canadian government will decided whether the permit issued to you is valid for life or just 1 year (generally if your conviction is less than 5 years old, only a 1-year permit will be issued).
Q. Who can I contact?
A. Lucy Perillo at Canada Border Crossing Services, www.bordercrossing.ca; firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-204-488-6350 or 1-800-438-7020.