In Criminal inadmissibility, Criminal Rehabilitation, Spousal/Common Law Sponsorship

Mary Keyork
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May and Jack contacted our office just before Christmas. They were married for seven years and anxious about the steps to take to permanently move to Canada. May was born in Canada and moved to Spain when she was seventeen.

She studied contemporary art and was working as a private gallery manager and exhibition coordinator. Jack was born in the United States. After his parents divorced, he moved to Europe to live with his mother. May and Jack met at a student party; the attraction between the two was immediate. Both young and ready to love, they started dating.
Through thick and thin, they managed to keep the spark alive in their relationship. As students, they sometimes struggled with compromising with one another and the financial burden was at times too heavy to carry.

Nevertheless, they built a wonderful relationship and started a family. Jack proposed to May when he took her to a surprise helicopter ride on her birthday. He spent countless hours planning the surprise proposal. He wanted to make sure May not only loved the surprise but also was actually surprised by his proposal as they had already discussed engagement.
May believed that the engagement should not come as a surprise but the proposal should. Jack tried his best to hide the excitement and the fact that he was working night shifts to save for the ring and the helicopter ride. He finally picked a date. May would have never guessed that he would take her on a helicopter ride and propose on the same day.

Jack was also excited that he was able to save enough money to buy May her dream ring; six prong princess cut diamond ring with a halo. The day of the proposal was perfect; the weather was warm and sunny, and Jack managed to surprise May to the point that she cried tears of joy. Having gone through some struggles together, they both realized that from now on they would face life together and hopefully forever.

In the evening, May called her parents who still lived in Canada to share the news. Everyone was thrilled for the couple and the wedding planning began. The couple had a wedding in a small town in Spain. May’s family and close friend traveled all the way from Canada and Europe to participate in the celebration of love.

Jack’s immediate family and friends were also able to join. Jack’s parents were able to put aside their painful past to join their son’s celebration of finding the woman of his dreams despite their non-amicable divorce.

After the reception, the couple took a seven-day honeymoon to Portofino, Italy. After the honeymoon, they went back to Spain and settled in their routine. As time went on, May started missing her family more and more. When she learned that her mother’s health was deteriorating she started considering going back to Canada and settling there permanently.

She wanted to return to Canada not only because she greatly missed her family, but also because Jack was not entirely happy with their life in Spain. May started her research on possible ways to get them to Canada. As someone who had a mixed heritage and darker skin color, Jack did not feel as welcomed in Europe as he used to. He didn’t face any direct discrimination; however, he had a growing feeling that he wasn’t that welcomed in Europe. As a Canadian, May was free to go back to Canada and to live there permanently; however, with Jack it was not that simple.

Being a citizen of Spain and the United States, he was free to visit for six months in the normal circumstances. Unfortunately, Jack had a criminal record that was old, but, nevertheless, made him criminally inadmissible to Canada.

In order to sponsor her husband, May would not only need to go through the spousal sponsorship process, but would also need to address her husband’s criminal record so he becomes admissible.

When Jack was young, he was charged with DUI and never thought that his reckless actions at a young age would, later on, affect his life. As a student, he was very involved in extra-curricular activities and university clubs, but also enjoyed his free time of drinking and partying with his friends from a modeling agency.

He had an exotic look and was working part-time as a model. At one of the parties, he had too many fancy cocktails and decided to drive home instead of staying the night at his friend’s place. He was speeding and had the music on, so naturally, the police car patrolling the streets that night stopped him. He was not only charged with DUI but also with resisting the officer. Jack had to pay a fine and take a course on driving under the influence.

Since then, he has apologized to the officer and cut back on his drinking mainly because the incident made May very upset. It was also then that he realized how much she meant to him and that upsetting her over trivial things like his drinking did not seem like a good idea anymore.

Five years later, the past came to haunt him even though he is not dangerous or violent. Both May and Jack were confused on how they should address this incident in their spousal sponsorship application. Clearly, simply stating that he was young and reckless would not have been enough. What if Canadian immigration officials are not satisfied with the fact that he has changed since then? What if they refuse because he was not able to prove that he has changed and will be a law-abiding citizen in Canada? What if that DUI is going to cost them their dream to live in Canada?

Would May be forced to give up on her dreams of living in Canada? She could not bear the thought of being away from her husband, but she also knew how hard it would be for her to not be able to visit Canada freely or to never spend holidays being surrounded both with her family and her husband. In addition, they were already trying to conceive a child. They put it on hold because of travel and financial goals they set for themselves, but now that everything seemed to be more stable, both May and Jack wanted to have children.

Apart from DUI Jack had no other criminal record. However, it was enough to question his admissibility to Canada. There are too many accidents involving drunk drivers for the Canadian government to not take these DUI charges seriously. Too many people lose their health and life by the irresponsible behavior of young or not so young drivers. Both May and Jack were certain that his DUI was a serious incident and they both firmly believed that it should be addressed properly.

When they contacted our office, Jack was remorseful and made it very clear that he wanted to address his DUI in the application not only because it is a requirement but also because he felt that he has changed so much since then. During the consultation, the couple was advised to submit not only the supporting documents to attest to the genuine nature of their relationship but also supporting documents that would support Jack’s application for criminal rehabilitation. Depending on the nature of the criminal charge as well as the time that has passed since the charge, there is a possibility of either applying for an individual criminal rehabilitation to cure criminal inadmissibility or to have it deemed rehabilitated.

Being equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge, Jack and May felt at ease. Just like anyone who has made mistakes, they were happy to learn that this mistake would not have to cost them their dream of living in Canada.

May was thrilled that she would finally be able to go back home. She enjoyed her time in Spain, but never really thought that she would live in Spain for the rest of her life. After all, she missed the beautiful British Columbia mountains and her family. Having always been extremely close to her mother, she always made sure to spend important holidays with family, but because of Jack’s DUI they never visited Canada together.

There is always hope to fix the mistakes people make during the times they are young and reckless; it takes not only courage but also a true dedication and truthful remorse.
Thankfully for May and Jack, Jack’s attitude and the life he led after the incident are the best proof that will support the smooth processing of their spousal sponsorship.
Currently, the couple awaits the finalizing of the application and is looking for an apartment in the beautiful city of Vancouver.