The John Howard Society will assist individuals in applying for a Record Suspension (formerly pardon) through the Parole Board of Canada. For more information please call: 709-552-2225 or (toll-free): 1-877-726-5541.

Record Suspension

A record suspension allows people who were convicted of a criminal offence, but have completed their sentence and demonstrated that they are law-abiding citizens for a prescribed number of years, to have their criminal record kept separate and apart from other criminal records.

Before you can apply for a record suspension, the waiting period to be served, the type of offence (summary or indictable) and nature of the offence must be confirmed. Prescribed waiting periods range from 5 – 10 years. If you apply too early, or have outstanding fines, your record suspension application will be rejected. An individual is not yet eligible for a record suspension if they have outstanding fines on any of their past charges

Detailed information can be found at  the Parole Board of Canada website.

Travel Waiver

Certain criminal records may exclude you from travel into some countries. A Waiver is a document, issued by the country to which you would like to travel, allowing you to enter even if you do not meet the entry requirements. For example, the United States restricts entry for people who have been convicted of certain crimes. You can find a list of what these crimes are at www.cbp.gov.

If you have a record of one of these crimes, you will need a Waiver of Inadmissibility to enter the US. Never try to travel to the US if you are excluded: you could be detained, fined, charged or incarcerated.

The waiver is issued by US Customs & Border Protection (CBP), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, and carries a short term. You can apply by filling out Form I-192 and submitting the required documents. The list of crimes, Application Form and instructions can be found on the US Citizenship & Immigration website: www.uscis.gov and the application is submitted at a CBP Port of Entry.

The application process can take up to a year and is expensive. The costs will depend on the types of documents you need to submit, but the application itself costs $585.00 US (as of 2012).

If you have obtained a record suspension, you may still need a waiver to travel to the US. Border officials may have access to different kinds of information than Canadian police and do not recognize a Canadian Record Suspension. Even a conditional discharge for certain offences can exclude you from entry.

For more information, read the CBP website: www.cbp.gov, contact your nearest Port of Entry.

A Caution About Private Services

You may have seen ads for companies that say they can get you a record suspension faster, easier or “guaranteed.” The truth is, it’s impossible for them to speed up or guarantee the process or outcome. The eligibility requirements and process are the same for everyone, no matter if they apply through a company or on their own — everyone gets the same consideration. You do not have to pay a private company or a lawyer to obtain a record suspension, you can go through the process yourself and only pay the document and application fees.

However, if you’re having difficulty with the process and would like some assistance, try getting information and help from:

  • The Parole Board of Canada helpline (toll-free): 1 800-874-2652.
  • John Howard Society NL – Next Steps, Employment Services: 709-552-2232 or (toll-free): 1-877-726-5541.