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Home » Can You Travel To Canada If You Have Had A Dwi | How Can I Get Into Canada If I Have A Dui Conviction On My Permanent Criminal Record? 75 Most Correct Answers

Can You Travel To Canada If You Have Had A Dwi | How Can I Get Into Canada If I Have A Dui Conviction On My Permanent Criminal Record? 75 Most Correct Answers

Are you looking for the topic “Can you travel to Canada if you have had a DWI – How can I get into Canada if I have a DUI Conviction on my Permanent Criminal Record?“? We answer all your questions at the website https://tw.taphoamini.com in category: Tw.taphoamini.com/photos. You will find the answer right below. The article written by the author The DUI Guy+ has 8,431 views and 160 likes likes.

You can go to Canada if you have a DUI conviction by acquiring a Temporary Resident Permit entry waiver or becoming rehabilitated through an appropriate government office or border station. If a person has several DUIs, however, applying for a TRP or Criminal Rehabilitation may be onerous.Any additional criminal charges will require the application for “criminal rehabilitation” be made. Automatic eligibility for entry to Canada with an old DUI requires a waiting period of 10 years after sentencing requirements are completed.Consequently, an American traveling to Canada with a DUI history from twenty years ago may need to prove their offense qualifies. Additional charges, such as leaving the scene of an accident or driving while suspended, can further preclude a visitor with an old DUI from being assumed safe by border authorities.

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Timestamps:
Intro: 0:00
General rule: 1:05
Reason for the change: 1:43
What Canada looks for in their determination: 2:13
How to overcome inadmissibility: 3:15
If a DUI is amended down to a driving offense: 4:30
Temporary Resident Permits (TRP): 7:13
\”Canadian\” Expungements: 8:49
How does Canada know about your criminal record: 11:06
Can you fall through the cracks and get in anyway: 13:20
Final thoughts and free consultation from FWCanada: 15:40
Outro: 16:47
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Maresa Feil’s contact info:
www.duicanadaentry.com
Toll-Free: 1-855-316-3555
Email for free consultation: [email protected]
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Synopsis:
Travellers intending to visit Canada after a DUI or other criminal conviction may be found to be criminally inadmissible and denied entry to Canada. Travel to Canada requires either a passport or enhanced driver’s license. The border agent will then use this document to verify your identity but also to perform a background check. When the border agent scans your passport, they will have access to not only the personal information printed on it, but also your criminal record.
There are 2 ways to overcome inadmissibility and get access to Canada
1. Applying for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) allows you to suspend your criminal inadmissibility for a finite period of time. This type of permit is usually used by individuals where it has not yet been 5 years since the completion of their sentence. In order to get a TRP, you must have compelling reasons for requiring entry to Canada. The benefits of your entrance and stay in Canada must prove to outweigh the potential safety and health risks to Canadian society.
2. Expungements are known under Canadian law as Criminal Rehabilitation which is a process in which an individual who has been deemed inadmissible to Canada for a prior conviction. The process involves requesting the Canadian Consulate to permanently abolish their inadmissibility to Canada: in other words, it removes the prior convictions from the traveller’s record in oder to eliminate their inadmissibility, for the purposes of travel to Canada. In determining whether they are eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation, the offender must ensure that their criminal conviction(s) was committed outside of Canada, and that a minimum of five years have elapsed since the completion of their sentence(s).
FWCanada offers FREE consultations to anyone interested in finding out about their eligibility to travel to Canada, simply call us toll free at 1-855-316-3555, we would be happy to help!
Individuals may also be interested in pleading down their DUI, if they are eligible or obtaining an expungement in Kentucky to overcome inadmissibility to Canada. It’s best to speak with an expert like The DUI Guy about this.
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The information contained in this video is for entertainment purposes only and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. These materials are for informational purposes only and do not constitute advertising, a solicitation, or legal, or other professional advice. They may or may not reflect the most current legal developments, and are not promised or guaranteed to be correct or complete. Viewing these materials does not create an attorney-client relationship, and you should not rely upon this information for any purpose without seeking professional legal counsel in your state.
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How can I get into Canada if I have a DUI Conviction on my Permanent Criminal Record?
How can I get into Canada if I have a DUI Conviction on my Permanent Criminal Record?

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  • Author: The DUI Guy+
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How long after a DWI can you go to Canada?

Any additional criminal charges will require the application for “criminal rehabilitation” be made. Automatic eligibility for entry to Canada with an old DUI requires a waiting period of 10 years after sentencing requirements are completed.

Can I visit Canada if I had a DUI 20 years ago?

Consequently, an American traveling to Canada with a DUI history from twenty years ago may need to prove their offense qualifies. Additional charges, such as leaving the scene of an accident or driving while suspended, can further preclude a visitor with an old DUI from being assumed safe by border authorities.

Can I get into Canada if I had a DUI 10 years ago?

As of December 2018, a DUI is considered a serious crime in Canada, and no longer qualifies as an offense that is automatically Deemed Rehabilitated after 10 years. As a result, a US citizen with even a single DUI/DWI that occurred more than a decade ago can still be denied entry into Canada.

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Countries You Can’t Enter If You’ve Gotten A DUI
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  • Canada. Having a DUI is considered a serious crime in Canada (it’s punishable by up to a decade in prison). …
  • Japan. …
  • Malaysia. …
  • Mexico. …
  • The People’s Republic of China. …
  • South Africa. …
  • United Arab Emirates.

Entering Canada with a DUI

Can You Go to Canada with a DUI?

Unfortunately, getting into Canada with a DUI is not as simple as showing up at the border with a valid United States passport. If you have ever been arrested or convicted for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, regardless of whether it was a misdemeanor or felony offense, you may be criminally inadmissible to Canada and denied entry. Even if you do not have any intention to drive while in the country, a DUI (including civil infractions and “physical control” violations) can cause you to get turned away at the border and can impede your eligibility across all Canadian immigration programs. There is also no presumption of innocence at the Canadian border, so even a DUI charge pending trial can result in a denial.

How to Obtain Permission to Enter Canada with DUI

Most people reading this want to learn how to get into Canada with DUI as simply and easily as possible. To overcome criminal inadmissibility to Canada, a person must correctly apply for and then successfully receive permission from Canadian authorities to visit the country. Getting such permission to enter Canada can be a highly complex legal process that could easily overwhelm someone without professional assistance. Criminal inadmissibility to Canada as a result of a DUI or DWI can be overcome in two different ways:

Temporary Solution

The first option is a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), which can allow a person with a DUI to enter or stay in Canada for a specific period of time provided they have a valid reason to visit. A Temporary Resident Permit can be extremely helpful for individuals who are not yet eligible for the permanent solution of Criminal Rehabilitation, and it is possible for a TRP to be valid for multiple visits for as long as three years provided the individual’s application is strong enough. A Canada TRP can take a while to obtain, so it is best to apply well in advance of your intended travel date.

Permanent Solution

The second option is Criminal Rehabilitation (CR), which is an application process whereby a person petitions Canadian immigration authorities to forgive their prior DUI conviction forever. To be eligible to apply for Criminal Rehab, five years must have passed since the sentence was fully completed including payment of fines, community service, classes, probation, and any other conditions which may have been imposed by the court. Successfully completing the Rehabilitation process gives an individual a fresh start and can allow them to enter Canada freely again. Unlike a Temporary Resident Permit, which is only good for a fixed amount of time, Criminal Rehabilitation never needs to be renewed and can provide access to Canada for life. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, the peace of mind and convenience of being able to go to Canada any time without ever worrying about being denied entry for a DUI makes this solution especially attractive to eligible individuals.

Deemed Rehabilitation

An American may be “deemed rehabilitated” if they only have a single conviction that is not considered serious criminality in Canada and enough time has passed since completion of all sentencing including any probation. Prior to December 2018, if a visitor could prove it had been more than ten years since the sentence was finished, and he or she had no other arrest history, Canadian authorities may disregard an old DUI and grant the person entry into the country. This policy has since changed! As of December 2018, a DUI is a serious crime in Canada and such an offense no longer qualifies for automatic Deemed Rehabilitation after ten years. This significant change is due to the Government of Canada implementing tough new DUI laws that increased the maximum length of imprisonment to a decade. Consequently, impaired driving offenses are now considered too serious to qualify for Deemed Rehabilitation, and an American with a single DUI can now be denied entry at the Canadian border even if the incident happened more than ten years ago.

If an offense occurred before December 18th, 2018 (when the law changed) and it has been more than ten years, it may be possible to claim “grandfathered” Deemed Rehabilitation but it is imperative to consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer to determine your eligibility. Now that impaired driving is considered a major crime in Canada, it is advisable that any American with a DUI, DWI, OWI, OVI, OUI, DWAI, wet reckless, or any other intoxicated driving arrest or conviction in their past speak with a professional about their admissibility before attempting to enter Canada. If you have two or more drunk driving violations or other excludable criminal convictions on your record, you will likely never be deemed rehabilitated by virtue of time and may be refused entry at the Canadian border without a Temporary Resident Permit or Criminal Rehabilitation even 20+ years later.

To maximize your likelihood of getting into Canada with a DUI, it is important to consult with an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer who can help you take the necessary steps before and during your application to have the highest possible chance of being approved. Why risk having to explain to friends, family, or co-workers that you were denied entry to Canada? Our Canadian immigration attorney has extensive experience helping Americans overcome criminal inadmissibility issues so that they can successfully travel to Canada with a DUI or similar offense in their past. Let us take care of the hard work for you; we are excellent at this! Contact our team today for a free consultation!

Coronavirus Update (July 5th 2022)

Due to COVID-19, the Canadian border was closed to non-essential travel such as tourism for nearly 17 months. Canada’s border is now open to all fully vaccinated Americans allowing tourists to visit the country once again. US citizens and Green Card holders entering Canada from USA will not need to quarantine if they submit their proof of vaccination before arrival via the Canadian Government’s ArriveCAN app. As of April 1st 2022, a negative COVID-19 test is no longer required to enter Canada.

All visitors to Canada in 2022 should expect extra thorough screening at the border. The Canadian consulate is still active and accepting applications for special permission to enter Canada with a DUI. Our Canadian immigration law firm is also open and offering free consultations!

Why Exactly Does Canada Deny Entry to People with a DUI?

In Canada, indictable offenses are considered serious criminality (similar to a US felony) while summary offenses are considered less serious (similar to a US misdemeanor). If an American wants to visit Canada but has ever committed an act that could be considered an indictable offense in Canada, they may be classified as criminally inadmissible. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a hybrid offense in Canada, which means it can constitute a summary offense or an indictable offense depending on the situation and how the prosecutor wishes to proceed. Although most DUIs on Canadian soil are only summary offenses, the potential for one to be indictable makes driving under the influence a potentially excludable act for foreign nationals. In a nutshell, because a misdemeanor DUI from the United States equates to an offense north of the border that could be considered serious, Canadian border agents treat a US DUI as a serious crime.

Many Americans are shocked to learn how difficult entry into Canada with DUI charges can be. The Canadian border now has full access to the FBI criminal database via the country’s CPIC database, which is operated by the RCMP and interfaced with the United States National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Consequently, a traveler can be instantly red-flagged for a DUI or DWI as soon as they present their US passport at border security. In fact, even a DUI arrest with no conviction (including an acquittal or not guilty verdict) can cause a US resident to be rejected at the Canadian border since the original arrest will still be visible to border officers and the visitor may need to prove his or her admissibility.

Legal Basis for Denying Americans That Have a DUI

Section 36 of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) says that foreign citizens can be criminally inadmissible to the country upon “having been convicted outside Canada of an offense that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an indictable offense under an Act of Parliament.” IRPA 36 3a then specifies “an offense that may be prosecuted either summarily or by way of indictment is deemed to be an indictable offense.” This allows Canada to keep out foreign nationals who have been convicted of a potentially indictable offense such as felony assault, fraud, or drug trafficking, but also allows them to deny entry to people convicted of a hybrid offense such as a misdemeanor for driving while impaired.

Since Canadian immigration regulations view DUIs as serious offenses, a single impaired driving incident in the United States can bar a person from visiting Canada forever regardless of how inconsequential it was in the state it happened. If a DUI charge was reduced to wet reckless driving, which is common in California and a few other states, the offense will typically still equate to a full DUI in Canada since impairment was involved. Even after pleading a DUI down to a more minor charge such as dangerous or reckless driving (with no mention of alcohol in the statute), an American may still not be eligible to cross the Canadian border without risk of an entrance denial. This is because the Canadian equivalency of a dry reckless driving conviction can be “dangerous operation” which is a serious crime punishable by as long as ten years in prison. Even civil DUI infractions, such as DWAI in New York or OWI in Wisconsin, can block an American citizen from visiting Canada despite being a traffic violation not a criminal conviction.

Can You Go to Canada If You Have a DUI Charge Pending?

When determining eligibility to travel to Canada with a DUI arrest, it is not the seriousness of the charge in the USA that matters; it is what the possible crime equates to under Canadian law. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) is the legislation that determines whether entry into Canada for a non-Canadian may be denied on grounds of inadmissibility. According to this Act, a pending DUI charge is treated as “under indictment” and potentially excludes a US citizen from entering. At the end of the day, the onus is always on a visitor to be able to prove his or her admissibility when challenged by a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer. Once a person is arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, until they have adequate proof there is a 0% chance they will ever be convicted, such as evidence of a dismissal, they could face big problems if they try to enter Canada. For this reason, if you drive under the influence of alcohol and get pulled over, your ability to go to Canada may come to an abrupt end.

Even a reduced DUI charge does not guarantee smooth sailing when entering Canada. The reduction of charges from drinking and driving to some lesser charge such as reckless driving or careless driving can still cause you to be denied entry at the Canadian border. This is because dangerous operation, even with the absence of impairment, is also a serious crime north of the border. If you have any arrest record at all, getting admitted to Canada may require a substantial amount of preparation. If your misdemeanor DUI charge was dismissed or you were found not guilty, documented proof of the favorable status may help facilitate a successful border crossing but consulting a qualified Canadian immigration attorney before traveling would be advisable.

Can You Enter Canada with a DUI If You Will Not Be Driving?

A US citizen with a criminal record for impaired driving can still be stopped from crossing the border into Canada even if they will not be operating a car, truck, SUV, motorcycle, RV, boat, or any other motor vehicle during their visit. Some people with a DUI history think that if they fly into Canada, and do not intend to drive while in the country, they will be granted entry without a problem. Canadian immigration regulations do not distinguish whether a person intends to drive while visiting or not. Consequently, Americans may require Criminal Rehabilitation or a TRP in order to successfully travel to Canada with a DUI conviction, regardless of their intended transportation plans once in the country.

Likewise, some Americans with a DUI think they are allowed to drive across the border as long as they are only a passenger in the vehicle and not the driver. Again, a visitor’s method of travel has no effect on their admissibility according to Canadian law. Even if a friend, family member, or co-worker will be doing all the driving, or you plan to rely solely on Uber or public transit, if you are inadmissible to Canada because of a DUI there is a substantial chance border security will forbid you from entering. Our legal team has literally spoken to hundreds of US citizens that were denied entry due to a past DUI or DWI despite being a passenger in the vehicle with no intent to ever drive while in Canada. Please be warned: if you inadmissible due to a DUI conviction, traveling to Canada by car can be extremely risky even if you are not the person driving.

Some also believe that you can enter into Canada with a criminal history as long as you do not disclose it at the border. This is absolutely false, as the Canadian border has unlimited access to US criminal databases and a past charge or conviction can instantly flag a visitor upon arrival. It is wise to always be honest and forthcoming with border authorities, as attempting to mislead immigration officials can lead to serious consequences such as being banned from crossing the border for several years. A DUI charge or conviction from the USA can cause a traveler to be turned back at a land border crossing or detained and flown home upon landing at an airport in Canada, regardless of how long the visitor plans to stay in the country. Even for a short visit of less than 24 hours, such as a quick business trip, border security can still block a foreign national from coming into Canada because of a past misdemeanor.

Can I Get Into Canada with a DUI for Drugs (No Alcohol)?

A DUI in the USA does not have to be alcohol-related in order for Canada’s border security officers to deny entry for criminality. Going to Canada with a DUI drugs (DUID) can be as difficult as crossing the border with a DUI alcohol. Above the border, it is against the law to operate a vehicle while impaired by any legal or illegal drug, just as it can be against the law to drive after drinking beer, wine, or liquor.

Americans are frequently charged with driving while intoxicated because they were on prescription medication such as painkillers or “stoned” from consuming marijuana. You can be charged for driving under the influence of drugs regardless of whether or not the drug is legal. Even if you have been prescribed medicine by a doctor, if the substance “could affect the nervous system, brain, or muscles of a person as to impair” it is illegal across North America to be operating a motor vehicle while on it. Consequently, it is possible to get a DUI by driving while on prescribed drugs that can impair, and a criminal conviction of this type can mean a person is no longer welcome in Canada without special permission.

Does It Matter Which State the DUI Occurred?

One of the major reasons why many United States residents seek assistance from an experienced immigration lawyer before trying to enter Canada with a DWI is to determine the exact criminal equivalency and excludability of their specific offense. The procedure for finding equivalency was determined by the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal, which held that the essential elements must be determined by the precise statutory words used. Since DUI laws (including under 21 DUI laws) and the precise wording of each statute vary from state to state, the Canadian admissibility of an individual can depend on the US state in which their offense happened. The precise wording of documents related to an acquittal, absolute discharge or conditional discharge, pretrial diversion agreement, deferred adjudication, deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), deferred disposition (suspended sentence), probation before judgment (PBJ), expungement/dismissal, or pardon can also vary from state to state.

Other violations that are often added to impaired driving charges can further complicate matters. Examples include driving with a suspended license, no car insurance, damage to property, leaving the scene of an accident, speeding, or refusing a breathalyzer, chemical test, or blood test. Violating certain civil traffic laws can also have an impact on admissibility to Canada, despite being a traffic infraction not a misdemeanor conviction. If you are concerned you might be criminally ineligible for international travel, it may be smart to consult with a licensed immigration attorney in Canada about your particular situation.

Our legal team has assisted hundreds of US citizens and Green Card holders from coast to coast with Canada DUI entry. Concentrating on helping Americans travel to Canada with a DUI, our Canadian immigration lawyer is licensed and qualified to provide legal assistance to residents of all 50 states including Alaska (AK), California (CA), Colorado (CO), Florida (FL), Michigan (MI), Minnesota (MN), New York (NY), Ohio (OH), Texas (TX), Washington (WA), and Wisconsin (WI). Not only do we accept clients from every US state, we are also familiar with the DUI laws in many of these states as well as how to order a state-level criminal history report in each. The exact process of retrieving the documents required for DUI Canada entry can differ by state and county, so a seasoned professional can offer enormous value. Our team of experts can help make crossing the border into Canada with a DUI as easy as possible!

Will the People I Am Traveling with Find Out I Have a DUI?

Entering into Canada with a DUI first offense is stressful enough by itself, but worrying that bosses, co-workers, employees, business partners, girlfriends/boyfriends, or other people traveling alongside you will learn about your impaired driving charge at the border can be intensely disconcerting. Most people flying into Canada for business are traveling with at least one other person that they work with, and chances are this individual is not aware that their co-worker has a criminal record. The good news is that in many circumstances it may be possible to keep your DUI a secret from a boss or co-worker even when entering Canada with them.

The easiest scenario in which to keep your driving while impaired incident private from those you are traveling with is to procure a Canada Temporary Resident Permit or Rehabilitation prior to your date of travel. A TRP may be obtained in advance of a trip to Canada, and once a person has a valid waiver in their possession it is notably easier to cross the border discreetly. Applying for a TRP via a Canadian visa office commonly takes a few months for government processing, however, which is too long for many Americans interested in getting into Canada with a DUI. Since some people, especially business travelers, are given at most a couple weeks notice of a trip, their only option may be to apply for a TRP at a Port of Entry (POE) which is not ideal. Even if there is not enough time to secure an entry waiver in advance of travel, it may still be possible to keep a misdemeanor DWI a secret from co-workers especially if flying into Canada. Because we focus primarily on helping Americans get into Canada with a DUI, our legal team has a plethora of experience on how to keep a drinking and driving conviction a secret from work associates when entering Canada.

Questions about how to enter Canada with a DUI while keeping it discreet from other passengers? Phone us today for a free consultation!

Refused Entry to Canada?

If you have already been denied entry to Canada because of a DUI conviction, it is very important to not return until legally able to do so. It is advisable in such circumstances to consult with a qualified Canadian immigration attorney to ascertain the best means of ensuring successful DUI entry into Canada in the future. If you attempt to enter via another Port of Entry without first addressing your DUI inadmissibility, denial is almost certain and an outright ban from Canada can result.

Once a US citizen has received an official refusal of entry to Canada because of a criminal record for driving drunk, it is advisable for them to fix their inadmissibility before attempting to cross the border again. Any form of perceived non-compliance with CBSA instructions can significantly reduce a person’s odds of being granted permission for DUI entry in the future. Consequently, it is important not to make any rash decisions if angry about being bounced at the border. In many cases, a denied traveler is permitted to officially withdraw their application for Canada entry DUI admission. For more serious cases, Canadian border officials might issue a Section 44 Report and forward the case to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). There will then be an Admissibility Hearing in which a judge will determine if the Section 44 Report’s allegations are true and if so a Removal Order may be given.

How to Travel to Canada with a DUI

Some Americans may need the services of a qualified immigration professional to determine if they can legally enter Canada with a DUI record. Others may already know that they are criminally inadmissible but require help from an attorney to come up with a workable plan for how to cross the Canadian border successfully. Even if a person has no prior criminal history, a single misdemeanor DUI can now render a foreign national inadmissible to Canada for life. A criminal conviction for driving under the influence of alcoholic drinks does not necessarily mean a person will never be allowed to cross the border, however, it simply means they may require special governmental permission before traveling to Canada with a DUI.

If a foreign citizen is inadmissible to Canada because of an arrest or conviction in their past, and he or she does not wish to avoid the nation, they have the option to prepare and file a Criminal Rehabilitation application if all sentencing has been finished for a minimum of five years. If approved for Rehabilitation, any past DUI convictions will no longer be an obstacle when going to Canada. If a person already has a trip planned and will be visiting soon, filing a TRP application may be acceptable. Canada Temporary Resident Permit eligibility and document requirements have recently changed. For example, applicants living in the USA should now include a fingerprint-based FBI Identity History Summary in their application package. Applicants should also provide evidence of an important reason for traveling, such as a business trip. This is one of the many reasons it may be important to work with an immigration lawyer familiar with the 2022 Canada DUI Entry rules (as well as any scheduled DUI Canada entry 2023 changes).

Traveling to Canada with DUI Expungement

Visiting Canada with a DUI expungement, or after receiving a pardon or discharge for a crime, can still be tricky for American citizens. Occasionally, a state or county “pardons” or “discharges” a person’s crime, or allows the record to be expunged after a period of time. This does not automatically guarantee the individual can enter Canada normally, however, and they should consider contacting a qualified legal professional to see how CBSA agents might view the pardon. In some cases, an expunged misdemeanor may be equivalent to a Record Suspension in the Great White North, but in other situations it might still be viewed as a full conviction. Even after you expunge a DUI conviction in the United States, or have your criminal record sealed, it will still be visible to Canadian border officers. Consequently, anyone with a criminal history related to drinking and driving in America should ensure they are well-prepared before traveling to Ontario, Quebec, BC, or any other part of Canada.

There are examples of people being denied entry by Canada even after participating in an expunging program, as well as the refusal of entry of individuals who have been officially pardoned by the local jurisdiction. Depending on the exact situation, it may be possible for an American to still be considered inadmissible to Canada even after their DUI conviction has been pardoned, sealed, or expunged. Although getting into Canada after a DUI expungement is often possible with the right documentation, not all United States expungements are considered non-convictions under Canadian law. Consequently, if you have ever been convicted of operating a motor vehicle while impaired, it is always advisable to speak with a lawyer before traveling to Canada even if it has been properly expunged.

In situations where a driving under the influence expungement may no longer be treated as a conviction by Canada, a Legal Opinion Letter can help explain exactly why a person should be considered legally admissible to the country under Canadian law. It does not matter if a person is traveling with a tour group to see Niagara Falls, attending a wedding in Toronto with their husband or wife, or going fishing or hunting in Canada’s backcountry wilderness, any crime on a foreign national’s record that possibly equates to a serious offense in Canada could become a problem at the border. Consequently, before going to Canada with DUI charges visible on your background check it may be smart to adequately deal with them. At the end of the day, entering Canada with DUI charges is at the total discretion of border agents who consider a person’s unique situation particularly how long ago the incident transpired, how the offense equates to Canadian law, as well as the party’s reason for visiting.

Driving to Canada vs. Flying Into Canada

The legality of DUI travel to Canada is the exact same regardless of what method of transportation is used, so flying to Canada with a DUI does not officially increase a person’s probability of getting in compared to driving there. Even if a person will not be driving while in Canada, they can still be blocked from entering the country if they have a DWI. This means a passenger in a vehicle can be turned away at the border because they once drove drunk, even if the driver has a clean record. It also means flying into Canada with a DUI can be problematic even if the individual will not be renting a car and has no plans to operate a motor vehicle during their trip.

Entering Canada with a DUI can be equally difficult for American men and women. This is because there is no sex discrimination at the border since both males and females are equally capable of drinking and driving while visiting Canada. In a nutshell, any foreign citizen who has ever been convicted of driving impaired in the United States of America may be at risk of a border denial regardless of how they arrived at a Port of Entry, what they plan to do inside Canada, how long they plan to stay, or what they look like. People who are denied a NEXUS card because of a DUI could find that the NEXUS refusal brings their criminal past to the attention of the Canadian border, which could lead to them being denied entry on their next visit. For this reason, it is advisable for any American who receives a NEXUS rejection due to a misdemeanor DUI to consult a qualified immigration lawyer before their next trip to Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, or any other Canadian city.

Can I Go to Canada with a DUI?

The most common question our law firm gets asked is: can you get into Canada if you have a DUI? There is no simple answer, however, it all depends on the precise situation. It is impossible to accurately respond with a yes or no to a generic question such as can you travel to Canada with a DUI, since every situation is unique. In general, travel to Canada with DUI on your record is possible as long as you have obtained special permission to enter or are not classified as inadmissible. Since a misdemeanor DUI conviction frequently renders a foreign national inadmissible on grounds of criminality, many Americans that do have a DWI are at risk of getting denied at the border unless approved for Rehabilitation or a Canada entry waiver. In some cases, Canadian admissibility can be very tricky to determine without assistance from an experienced immigration lawyer.

Wondering if you can get into Canada with a misdemeanor or felony DUI in your past? Questions about your specific situation? Contact our law office now for a free consultation!

What About Other Offenses for Driving Impaired?

By now you probably know it can be tremendously difficult to enter Canada with DUI convictions, but what about other types of offenses related to driving while drunk or driving with a “buzz”? Driving under the influence of alcohol (D.U.I.) is the most common acronym used in the USA, but almost any conviction related to intoxicated operation of a motor vehicle can be equated to a serious crime in Canada. “Operating” includes people with physical control of a vehicle, even if they were parked and did not plan to drive, and “motor vehicle” includes boats, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), and dirt bikes, in addition to cars and trucks.

Impaired driving charges that can potentially make someone inadmissible for international travel include OMVI (Operating a Motor Vehicle while Intoxicated), OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired), DUIL (Driving Under the Influence of Liquor), DUII (Driving Under the Influence of an Intoxicant), OUI (Operating Under the Influence), DUAC (Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration), DWUI (Driving While Under the Influence), and DUBAL (Driving with an Unlawful Blood Alcohol Level). Civil traffic violations, such as Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) and DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired), can also render an American inadmissible to Canada despite being a traffic ticket not a criminal conviction.

Even if a charge for impaired operation is reduced to wet reckless driving, dry reckless driving (no mention of intoxication), dangerous driving, negligent driving, or careless driving, a visitor may still be considered criminally inadmissible according to Canadian law. If you were charged with boating under the influence of alcohol (BUI), or even some obscure charge such as operating a motorized lawn mower or golf cart while intoxicated, your ability to go to Canada can also be effected. Travel to Canada from US with DUI or similar charges appearing on your file can sometimes be hard, so the best strategy is to plan ahead.

How to Visit Canada with DUI

Americans can obtain permission to enter Canada with a driving under the influence conviction by getting approved for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation (CR). Both applications are complex, however, and statements made when petitioning the Government should be supported with adequate documentation. Some of the supporting documents that may be required for a TRP or CR application are multiple letters of recommendation, a drivers abstract, federal and state police records, proof of completion of all sentencing, and a letter written by the individual explaining why they did what they did and how they have changed and no longer pose a risk to society.

Evidence a sentence was fully completed can include a receipt for payment of fines, a certificate for attending a MADD Victim Impact Panel, an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) removal document, or a reference stating you went to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. If the DUI is old and the court documents have been purged, consider asking the court clerk for a letter or email stating the court disposition was requested but is no longer available. Anyone hoping to visit Canada with a DUI may also need a document from a local police department stating that there is not an active warrant out for their arrest. Unlike DUI classes, probation, or a court-imposed license suspension / conditional driver’s license, SR-22 insurance is typically not viewed by Immigration Canada as part of an offender’s sentence.

When reviewing a request for permission to go to Canada with a DUI, the Canadian consulate may perform a deep background check on the applicant in an effort to find any other crimes they have ever committed. This can include crimes such as mischief, theft, dangerous driving, reckless driving, trespassing, assault, disorderly conduct, public intoxication (PI), possession of marijuana, underage consumption / underage possession of alcohol, domestic violence, and various firearm offenses. Many Americans know it can be tough to get into Canada with a DUI, but not everyone realizes other misdemeanor or felony convictions can also be problematic. Similar to visiting Canada with DUI convictions, foreign citizens with other types of criminal offenses in their past may also need to successfully petition the Canadian Government for entry permission.

Assessment at Border

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers can turn away any non-Canadian citizen or permanent resident who wants to visit the nation for a large number of reasons including health problems, financial issues, past criminal convictions, or because they pose a general security risk. Immigration officials determine the admissibility of travelers seeking to enter Canada on a case-by-case basis. Consequently, your friend getting into Canada with a DUI does not mean you will be allowed to enter Canada with a DUI as well. Each visitor is assessed by border agents on each visit, so even if you have successfully traveled to Canada with DUI convictions in the past there is no guarantee you will be admitted in the future.

If You Have a DUI Can You Go to Canada for Business?

Going to Canada with a DUI for work purposes can be easy if a person plans ahead and obtains Rehab or is issued an entry permit in advance of travel. Unfortunately, many American citizens and residents do not realize that a DWI can result in Canada denying them entry until they are stopped by CBSA. Even if you ask the average DUI attorney in the United States: can you get into Canada with a DUI? Some of them will not know that an impaired driving conviction can have repercussions when traveling internationally. If you are criminally inadmissible because of a drunk driving incident but you only learn about the Canada DUI entry laws shortly before a business trip, you may need to decide between canceling your travel plans and applying for a TRP at the border. The second option is potentially a risky maneuver, even if entering Canada for work.

Business travelers may be able to enter Canada with a DUI by obtaining special permission to cross the border with a misdemeanor ahead of time, but doing so can be difficult. When it comes to crossing into Canada with a DWI, a foreigner’s TRP application should contain details of what lead to the initial arrest and why entering Canada is important for them. Every application is unique, so a colleague or family member getting approved for DUI Canada entry certainly does not guarantee you will as well. For example, being stopped at a random police roadblock can be viewed differently than if a police officer identified your vehicle as traveling at excessive speed or crossing double lane lines and consequently performed a traffic stop. A person’s blood alcohol level can also be a factor; there is a difference between driving drunk and driving with a slight buzz, so the results of a standard field sobriety test or blood test can impact a TRP application. Likewise, needing to enter Canada because your company’s head office is located there, or because you are a pilot or flight attendant, is certainly not regarded the same as wanting to visit for a vacation.

DUI Entry Canada with Multiple Convictions

You can go to Canada if you have a DUI conviction by acquiring a Temporary Resident Permit entry waiver or becoming rehabilitated through an appropriate government office or border station. If a person has several DUIs, however, applying for a TRP or Criminal Rehabilitation may be onerous. For people wondering how to enter Canada from USA with a DUI, it is imperative to recognize that a second offense often makes it much more difficult to be approved since it will be harder to convince officials that you have reformed if you have made the mistake or poor choice to drink and drive more than once. Since restrictions on entry to Canada can prohibit foreign nationals from crossing the Canadian border with a criminal record unless sanctioned by the Government, some Americans simply avoid international travel to their northern neighbor if they have multiple DUIs.

Success Rates for Traveling to Canada with a DUI

No immigration lawyer should ever speculate on the exact percent chance someone has of successfully entering Canada with a DUI conviction or guarantee a client will get approved for a TRP or Rehabilitation. Doing so would not be reputable, because a lawyer can only estimate the strength of an application but will never know for sure if it Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or CBSA authorities will approve it. Each and every case is unique, and past results are not necessarily indicative of future results. For example, it is very possible for one American with three DUIs to receive an approval, and another on the same day at the same location with only two DUIs to not be approved.

When attempting to travel to Canada with a DUI conviction, an incomplete IRCC application form, lack of supporting documents, or the officer’s personal opinion or gut instinct can all have a sizable impact on the final outcome. A person’s reason for coming to Canada can also play a decisive role. If you are an artist, actor, professional athlete, musician, or entertainer, or are traveling to assist one, phone our team today to learn how you can apply to be granted entrance to Canada with a DUI via a “national interest” narrative. Tour managers, security personnel, stagehands, publicists, band members, light or sound technicians, coaches, and documentary filmmakers that need to visit Canada can all potentially apply under this narrative.

Canadian entry with DUI is often required by people whose occupation sometimes demands they travel north of the border. From a California computer programmer needing to attend a mobile app development conference in Vancouver, to a New York investment banker trying to land a deal with a Bay Street hedge fund in Toronto, there are thousands of reasons for crossing the Canadian border with a DUI as a business professional. Our team also has experience helping airline staff fly to Canada with a DUI and commercial truck drivers cross the border with a criminal history. We have also helped many entrepreneurs travel to Canada with DUI charges or convictions, as well as people that own real estate in the country.

What Are the Chances of Entering Canada with DUI?

When evaluating whether or not to bother applying for a TRP, many people ask themselves: what are my chances of entering Canada with a DUI? Every person’s situation is unique, and no reputable professional will ever be able to provide an exact probability of success. Another intelligent question is: what are the consequences of being denied entry to Canada? If a person is just taking a short vacation across the border, perhaps they are willing to accept the risk of being refused entrance. If a person wants to go to Canada with a DUI to attend a business function, however, their risk tolerance likely goes way down. If you wish to secure admittance before attempting to cross the border, the lowest stress route is applying for entry permission from the Canadian Government in advance of travel via a Temporary Resident Permit or Criminal Rehab.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me Enter Canada?

Some Americans attain legal help from a licensed practitioner when applying for DUI Canada entry. We are a Canadian immigration law firm whose core practice area is admissibility, so we are very familiar with the regulations that can bar a foreign national from traveling to Canada. Many people search the Internet to learn how to visit Canada with a DUI, but there is a lot of inaccurate information on the topic. Some Reddit users talk as if every person in the USA that has a misdemeanor is in the exact same situation when it comes to crossing the border, which is ridiculous. At the end of the day, determining how a crime committed in the United States translates to the Criminal Code of Canada can be extremely challenging. For example, there is not always an equivalent offense under Canadian federal law. The DUI laws in Canada also changed in 2018, which can make finding the equivalent crime in Canada extra confusing for convictions in the United States related to driving impaired. For this reason, without assistance from a lawyer it is not always clear who needs to apply for TRP or Criminal Rehabilitation access and who does not.

We not only offer free consultations to people looking to fly into Canada with a misdemeanor or felony intoxicated driving conviction, we can help foreign nationals with just about any Canadian criminal inadmissibility issue. Whether you have a conditional discharge for drug possession and want to cross the border for a vacation, or are a Temporary Foreign Worker wondering how a DUI arrest in Canada will affect your immigration status, call us today for a free consultation. The presumption of innocence until proven guilty, a core judicial principle in both the United States and Canada, also does not apply at the Canadian border. As a result, a person with pending charges for an offense that could be considered indictable north of the border could be barred from entering Canada even in the absence of a conviction. Consequently, if you have ever been arrested or charged with intoxicated driving in the USA, CBSA authorities may question you about it even if you were never convicted.

If you wish to travel to Canada with DUI charges or convictions in your past, you have the option to hire an immigration attorney to assist you. An experienced admissibility lawyer can help Americans go to Canada with a DUI misdemeanor by helping them try to procure a Temporary Resident Permit or Rehabilitation. For some people, the rules around Canada and DUI entry are scary or annoying enough that the individual decides to just stay away from the nation. For others, however, the inability to fly to Canada for business purposes because of a DUI allegation or conviction can jeopardize their employment. In such cases, a person will often request special permission to cross the Canadian border with a DUI which involves showing they are a law-abiding citizen who will never drive after drinking alcohol again.

Does It Matter Where in Canada I Intend to Travel?

Successfully entering Canada with DUI charges does not necessarily depend on where in Canada you plan to visit or what your First Port of Arrival (FPOA) will be. Since the admissibility of someone from the United States of America attempting to enter Canada is determined by Canada’s federal criminal and immigration laws, it does not matter which province an individual intends to visit. If you plan to use an experienced attorney to assist you in entering the country with a DWI, you may be happy to know that we have provided our services and legal advice to hundreds of Americans interested in entering Canada with a DUI. Our Canadian immigration lawyer is licensed to practice in Canada and can help US citizens enter every province & territory in Canada including British Columbia (BC), Alberta (AB), Ontario (ON), and Quebec (QC). This means the CanadaDUIEntryLaw.com team and our Canada immigration lawyer can help you with DUI travel to Canada regardless of your planned destination. It also does not matter which specific Port of Entry you arrive at, whether it be by car or bus at a land border, by plane at one of the many Canadian airports such as Toronto’s Pearson Airport, or by cruise ship in Vancouver or Victoria BC.

Sitting there reading this wondering: can I enter Canada with a DUI? We encourage you to call us today to get real answers to your questions thanks to our free 1 on 1 consultations. Our goal is to help make traveling to Canada with DUI as easy as possible for our clients!

Canada Border Crossing Services

There were major changes to Canada’s DUI entry rules in 2018 and 2019. Changes to Canada’s entry rules were not direct, but a consequence of changes to Bill-C46 coming into power on December 18th,2018. Those changes made visitors that could previously enter Canada legally after a waiting period of 10 years, including those from the United States, become inadmissible no matter how long has passed.

Canada DUI Changes in 2018

Bill-C46 upped the maximum charge for DUI (Driving under the influence – same as DWI ) in Canada to a 10-year prison sentence. This meant that a DUI charge was also upgraded to become a major offence or “serious criminality” for legal purposes. It’s the upgrading of a DUI to be considered “serious criminality” that changed crossing with a DUI going forward.

Border Crossing with A DUI

Prior to December 18th,2018 a foreign DUI charge was a considered a minor offence as the Canadian criminal charge was a maximum of 5 years in prison. Border officials would allow visitors from the US and other countries to enter provided that ten years had passed since they completed their sentencing requirements for their DUI charges. So basically, after any fines or time served were completed, waiting a further 10 years would give a person without other charges a very good chance of being “deemed rehabilitated”. Deemed rehabilitation would allow people with old DUI’s to enter Canada.

When the maximum charge for a DUI in Canada was increased to 10 years in prison, “deemed rehabilitation” no longer applied as the previously minor offence was now a major offence.

DUI Entry Rules Changes Affected Millions

The scope of the problem was enormous. Tens of millions of Americans and people from around the world became inadmissible over night. Truck drivers, airline pilots, visitors of all kinds, would be potentially inadmissible. The effect of the changes would also cause problems for people immigrating or seeking refugee status in Canada. From what we have been able to learn, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) did not immediately enforce the rule changes. Potentially millions of visitors would have had to pay to apply for rehabilitation and then wait up to a year to gain entry to Canada.

DUI Entry Rule Changes in 2019

Early in 2019 Canada’s Immigration Minister’s made a statement in the media, “anyone deemed rehabilitated for an impaired driving offence outside Canada before December 18, 2018…” “…would not need to reapply for relief to overcome inadmissibility due to that same offence.”

Deemed rehabilitation was grandfathered in for any foreign national convicted of a DUI prior to December 18, 2018. It should be noted that this is simply a policy and not a legal change. Policies are subject to change as the administration deems fit. This means a change in government could potentially mean a change in this policy.

How Long Do You Have to Wait to Go to Canada After A DUI?

Right now, with no other criminal charges, the waiting period for anyone with a DUI conviction prior to December 18th, 2018 is 5 years with an application and 10 years without a formal application. The waiting period begins after their full sentencing requirements are completed. Any additional criminal charges will require the application for “criminal rehabilitation” be made.

Automatic eligibility for entry to Canada with an old DUI requires a waiting period of 10 years after sentencing requirements are completed. This has been grandfathered for convictions prior to December 18th, 2018.

Questions?

Everyone’s situation is unique and it’s always a good idea to ask questions to get the correct answers. For a free consultation simply give Mitch a call T (204) 488-6350 or 1-800-438-7020. Alternatively, you may complete the contact form on this page.

I Had a DUI 20 Years Ago Can I Go to Canada?

Can I Go to Canada if I Had a DUI 20 Years Ago?

If a US passport holder has a criminal conviction in their past that equates to a potentially serious crime in Canada, they could be denied entry at the border on grounds of criminality. A DUI is now a serious crime in Canada that can be punished by up to a decade in prison. Consequently, a single misdemeanor conviction for DUI, DWI, OVI, OWI, DWAI, or even wet reckless driving can render an American criminally inadmissible to Canada for life. It is possible to obtain permission to cross the Canadian border with a DUI by applying for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation. A TRP is a quick fix for a limited period of time, but requires a valid reason for travel. Canadian Rehabilitation is a permanent fix, but takes substantially longer to obtain and involves more paperwork.

If a visitor only has a single DUI from nearly twenty years ago, they may be grandfathered in under Canada’s old laws and considered “deemed rehabilitated by virtue of time.” Canada changed their DUI laws in December 2018 making driving under the influence a serious crime. Before Bill C-46 was enacted into law, however, a DUI in Canada only had a maximum prison sentence of five years. This meant that foreign nationals with a single DUI conviction used to be “deemed rehabilitated” or assumed safe by the Government of Canada once it had been ten years since full completion of all sentencing.

If a US citizens wants to visit Canada with a DUI that happened close to twenty years prior, he or she may be eligible for grandfathered Deemed Rehabilitation since the offense occurred long before Canada updated their laws. Before attempting to enter Canada with a twenty year-old drunk driving offense, however, is it advisable to consulate with a Canadian immigration lawyer about your eligibility for grandfathered Deemed Rehabilitation. Now that driving impaired is a major crime north of the border, Canadian border security do not mess around with such offenses and the onus is always on the visitor to prove their admissibility! If a traveler does not bring adequate proof of their admissibility, there is a risk they could be turned around at the border regardless of how long ago the incident occurred. If an American has more than one impaired driving conviction in their past, Deemed Rehabilitation is likely never a possibility and the person will often need to apply for special entry permission to avoid the risk of a border refusal.

Want to enter Canada but have a DUI from about twenty years ago? Contact our legal team today for a FREE consultation!

Can Canada Even See a DUI From 20 Years Ago?

It is easy to forget about an old DUI after 15-20 years, after all such an event is usually an unpleasant experience most people are happy to stop thinking about. The Canadian border never forgets, however, and our law firm has spoken to hundreds of Americans who were denied entry due to criminal convictions from as far back as the 1970s. The Government of Canada has full access to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. Consequently, the Canadian border can see almost every single arrest and conviction that has happened in the United States in the last half century, and there is no limit to how far back the Canadian border checks for a DUI.

Even if a conviction eventually “dropped off” or was sealed or expunged, you should expect the Canadian border to still know about it. Visiting Canada with a DUI after twenty years is certainly possible in a multitude of cases, but anyone with an arrest record involving DUI or DWI should show up at a Port of Entry well prepared. Individuals who are concerned about getting into Canada with a DUI from 20 or 30 years ago can phone an immigration law office north of the border to discuss their admissibility.

If someone is not eligible for Deemed Rehabilitation, such as person that had two DUIs from twenty years ago, they can learn how to get into Canada with a DUI by applying for a Temporary Resident Permit or Rehabilitation. While lots of people just avoid the country once they learn they are inadmissible, a person whose offenses occurred 20+ years ago will often have a strong case that they should be considered rehabilitated if they do decide to apply for a Canadian pardon. Other driving offenses, such as driving with a suspended license, dangerous driving, careless driving, and reckless driving (both dry reckless and wet reckless), can also now equate to a serious crime above the border.

My DUI Happened 20 Years Ago, Why Does Canada Still Care?

Many Americans are shocked to learn that a misdemeanor conviction for driving while impaired can be an issue at the Canadian border even twenty years later. This is because driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be an indictable offense in Canada, which is similar to a felony in the United States. If a US citizen is convicted of drunk driving today, they can be banned from Canada forever. This being said, back in the day the laws were not as harsh, hence why Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers would often overlook a DUI from twenty years prior if the visitor had no other criminal history. With Canada’s tough new DUI laws, however, the scrutiny at the border has increased considerably and agents can now require proof that an individual traveling on a US passport or Enhanced Drivers License (EDL) is allowed in according to the border rules.

Why Do I Need to Bring Paperwork to the Border?

If you had a DUI twenty years ago, you are probably not thrilled about the idea of hiring a lawyer just to help ensure you get into Canada successfully. If CBSA authorities can see my twenty year-old DUI, why can they not tell if I am eligible for grandfathered Deemed Rehabilitation many people wonder. There are several reasons it may not be clear to border security if an American with a misdemeanor DWI from twenty years ago is inadmissible or not. To begin with, eligibility for Deemed Rehabilitation is based upon full completion of all sentencing not the arrest or conviction date. Many people hear that going to Canada with a DUI from 10 years ago or longer can be much easier than visiting with a recent conviction, but do not realize when the clock starts ticking or what all is involved.

An FBI background check typically shows when a person was charged with drunk driving, and when they were convicted, but from looking at the database alone border agents have no idea if a person paid their fines, took their classes, or successfully completed other court ordered sentencing requirements. Canadian border agents also frequently have no idea how long a person had their license suspended, or when their probation ended, unless the traveler brings such documentation with them. Even non-reporting probation can slow down eligibility for Deemed Rehabilitation.

Ever since intoxicated driving became serious criminality north of the border, Canada’s border agents have become much more stringent when dealing with visitors with a DUI or reckless driving conviction appearing on their background check. If a US citizen with a misdemeanor conviction from twenty years ago drives to the border or flies into Canada and does not have any court documents or paperwork on them, border agents will use their discretion when deciding if the person should be admitted into the country. This can obviously be very risky for the visiting party, since the trip can become a disaster if border agents decide not to grant them admission into the country. After twenty years, some agents could certainly decide a person is likely deemed rehabilitated and give them the benefit of the doubt, but without proof of admissibility some agents could deny entry to a visitor with an old criminal record for driving drunk.

Not all misdemeanor and felony convictions related to impaired driving even qualify for grandfathered Deemed Rehabilitation according to the rules. Consequently, an American traveling to Canada with a DUI history from twenty years ago may need to prove their offense qualifies. Additional charges, such as leaving the scene of an accident or driving while suspended, can further preclude a visitor with an old DUI from being assumed safe by border authorities.

Establishing that a foreign national is eligible to be grandfathered in under the old rules can also involve establishing that the corresponding offense in Canada, at the time of the incident, was not yet considered serious criminality. Equating an offense from the USA to an old law in Canada that has a different maximum imposable sentence than today’s DUI laws can be particularly difficult. For this reason, many Americans interested in going to Canada with a DUI arrest or conviction from 15, 20, or even 25 years ago obtain a Legal Opinion Letter from an experienced immigration lawyer in Canada. Such paperwork can allow a person to show up at the border without stressing, knowing they have adequate evidence for proving their admissibility according to Canadian immigration law. If someone wants to visit Canada with a dismissed DUI charge, they should bring proof the final result was not a conviction otherwise border authorities may be concerned about the charge.

Wondering how to get into Canada with a DUI from twenty years ago? Contact our team today for a complimentary consultation!

“I Got into Canada with a DUI”

“I Entered Canada with a DUI” – True or False in 2022?

Many Americans are shocked to learn that Canada might not let them in because of a past DUI. In USA, most impaired driving offenses are only misdemeanors, and in a few states they can be considered traffic violations, so reading that a single DUI can cause an American to be denied entry at the Canadian border may sound like fake news. It is 100% true, however. A DUI is now a serious crime in Canada punishable by up to ten years in jail, so border patrol can treat them similar to a felony. What about all the people online claiming to have gotten into Canada with a DUI, you might ask? Well, let us explain some of the various ways a person can end up getting into Canada with a DWI.

#1 – I got into Canada with a DUI… before they changed their laws! A DUI only became serious criminality in Canada in December 2018. Before the laws changed, it was much easier to get into Canada with a drunk driving offense. If you do a Google search for “I got into Canada with a DUI” you will find several blog and forum posts of someone bragging about not getting denied entry by Canada despite having a DUI, but if you look at the date the post was made it is almost always before the rules changed. If you search “I got into Canada with a DUI 2021” you will notice a lot less people making such claims.

#2 – I got into Canada with a DUI… because it was old! If an American has a single DUI conviction from more than ten years ago, officials at Canada’s border may consider the visitor “deemed rehabilitated by passage of time” and allow them to enter. Now that a DUI is a serious crime north of the border such an offense no longer qualifies for Deemed Rehabilitation, but old convictions may be grandfathered in under the previous laws although a Canadian immigration lawyer should always be consulted regarding eligibility.

#3 – I got into Canada with a DUI… because it was expunged! If an American had their wet reckless driving or DUI conviction expunged, which is possible in a couple states, it may now equate to a Record Suspension in Canada and no longer render the person criminally inadmissible to the country.

#4 – I got into Canada with a DUI… because it equates to a non-conviction in Canada! If an American was arrested for drunk driving but ended up going through a pre-trial diversion or deferred judgment program, upon completion of the process the offense may no longer be considered a conviction under Canadian law. The onus is always on the visitor to prove his or her admissibility, however, so any American with an arrest history should consider speaking to a qualified attorney before traveling.

#5 – I got into Canada with a DUI… because the agent did not know or did not care! While the Canadian border does have full access to the FBI’s criminal database, the background checks can be random and occasionally a visitor with a DUI does not get flagged at the border upon presenting their passport. It is also possible that a visitor’s DUI was visible, and the border agent simply chose to ignore it for some reason (although this is rare).

#6 – I got into Canada with a DUI… at the border agent’s discretion! A DWI can render a US citizen inadmissible to Canada on grounds of criminality, but ultimately the decision is up to border patrol whether or not to let a traveler into the country. From time to time, an individual with a criminal history can be given a stern warn by border authorities but ultimately allowed to enter the nation. Some offenses, such as negligent driving, disorderly conduct, or a zero tolerance “Under 21” DUI, may not be concerning enough to the border agent to warrant a border denial.

#7 – I got into Canada with a DUI… because I obtained special permission to enter! If you search Reddit, Tripadvisor, or a popular travel forum such as Lonely Plant, you will find many posts about how a person managed to get into Canada successfully by obtaining a Temporary Resident Permit or TRP. If your trip to Canada is important and you have a DUI, it is advisable to obtain special entry permission rather than gambling at the border.

Worried about getting into Canada with a DUI? Contact our legal team today for a FREE consultation!

I Know Someone Who Traveled to Canada With a DWI, Will I Be Allowed?

If you are considered criminally inadmissible to Canada because of a past conviction for DUI, DWI, OVI, OWI, DWAI, reckless driving, or any other intoxicated driving offense, there will be a substantial risk of you being denied entry on each and every visit to Canada. It does not matter how many people you know who managed to get into the country with a DWI, if you are inadmissible you are risking a refusal of admittance every time. Even if you were able to cross the Canadian border with a DUI in the past, you can still have issues on a future trip.

We have spoken to hundreds of Americans who were denied entry at Canada’s border despite previously entering the country successful. Every trip is entirely independent, so even if a border agent used his or her discretion and granted you entry on a previous visit despite an arrest record, the next CBSA agent you deal with does not have to let you in. If you investigate how does Canada know a visitor has a DUI and how far back does Canada check for a DUI, you will learn that even drinking and driving convictions from 20 or 25 years ago can be a big problem.

How Do I Get Into Canada With a DUI?

There are two ways to overcome criminal inadmissibility so you can enter Canada successfully with a past criminal conviction. A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is a short-term fix available to US citizens with a valid reason for travel such as business trip. It is possible to request a multiple-entry TRP for up to three years. Criminal Rehabilitation is a permanent fix, and can allow a United States citizen with a DUI conviction to cross the border as frequently as they wish. In order to be eligible to apply for Rehabilitation, however, all sentencing including probation must have ended at least five years ago. Rehabilitation is also a much slower process, so some people end up applying for both with the goal of entering Canada quickly on a TRP while still resolving their inadmissibility permanently.

Should I Try My Luck at the Border?

Lets be honest, if you are reading this page you were likely searching for stories of people getting into Canada with a misdemeanor conviction for intoxicated driving. Perhaps you were hoping to find tons of examples of people who got into Canada with a driving under the influence offense which would suggest it happens often. Be careful! Tens of thousands of US citizens are denied entry at Canada’s border every year, so even if there are hundreds of Americans who can honestly brag “I visited Canada with a DUI” it certainly does not mean the odds are good. If you fly into Canada with a drunk driving conviction you could be detained at the airport and flown back home on the next available flight, which would obviously not be very fun. The proper way to enter Canada with a misdemeanor for driving impaired is to obtain permission from the Government of Canada.

Heard someone entered Canada with a DWI? Questions about getting into Canada when you have a DUI? Phone our Canadian immigration law firm now for a complimentary consultation! Our law office can help give you the best possible chance of getting into Canada with an impaired driving conviction.

Entering Canada w/ DUI: What You Need to Know

Should I apply for both Criminal Rehabilitation and a Temporary Resident Permit if I have a DUI?

Yes. A Criminal Rehabilitation (CR), if accepted, waives your inadmissibility to Canada permanently. Therefore, if you are eligible for a CR, it is advised that you apply for it as well as a TRP, since the CR offers a permanent solution, while the TRP only offers a temporary one.

A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is temporary, and only extends to a granted, specific, period of time. A TRP restricts the length of your stay, and makes you subject to various conditions, such as not being allowed to work or study without a work or study permit, not allowed to re-enter Canada, and being forced to leave immediately after your authorized stay.

What questions does the Temporary Resident Permit application form ask?

The Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) application requires that the applicant demonstrate that there is a significant reason why they must enter Canada.

What documents are required to apply for a Criminal Rehabilitation or a Temporary Resident Permit?

You are required to submit criminal background checks, identification documents, court records, etc.

Will the people you are traveling with find out you have a DUI?

It is likely that the people you are traveling with will find out that you have a DUI, unless your Criminal Rehabilitation has been accepted, in which case your inadmissibility to Canada has been waived, and you do not need to present the application at the border or at customs.

However, if have a valid Temporary Resident Permit, you must bring this application with you, which makes it likely that those you are traveling with may discover your DUI.

Additionally, if you are inadmissible to Canada, your family members (spouse, common law and dependent children) are also considered to be inadmissible, and may or may not be issued an initial TRP. This is up to the discretion of a border officer, who can determine if the circumstances justify their stay in Canada. If the circumstances are justified, each family member will be issued an individual TRP.

Why are individuals who have been convicted of impaired driving potentially not allowed to enter Canada?

A DUI is considered a serious crime in Canada, and there is the fear that someone who has been arrested for a DUI may re-offend in the country. Therefore, an individual must show that they have a valid Temporary Resident Permit or are Criminally Rehabilitated before entering the country.

Canada does not classify offenses as misdemeanors and felonies, like the US. Instead, offenses are classified as a summary or indictable offense, with a summary being the most similar to a misdemeanor, and an indictable offense being the most similar to a felony. A DUI is considered to be a hybrid offense, which means that the Crown attorney can elect whether to prosecute it as a summary or an indictable offense.

Can you go to Canada with a misdemeanor DUI?

Canada does not use misdemeanors and felonies to classify offenses. Instead, offenses are classified as a summary or indictable offense, with a summary being the most similar to a misdemeanor, and an indictable offense being the most similar to a felony. A DUI is considered to be a hybrid offense in Canada, and at the discretion of a Crown attorney to decide. According to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 36(3)(a) “an offense that may be prosecuted either summarily or by way of indictment is deemed to be an indictable offense, even if it has been prosecuted summarily.” Therefore while a DUI is not always considered to be an indictable offense, regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor in the US, it can render you inadmissible to enter Canada.

Can a United States citizen enter Canada with a DUI?

A US citizen can enter Canada with a DUI temporarily if they apply for a Temporary Resident Permit, or permanently through the process of a Criminal Rehabilitation. A valid Temporary Resident Permit must be presented at the border upon entry to Canada, while those who hold a finding of a Criminal Rehabilitation do not need to present any permit, as the finding permanently removes the inadmissibility from their file.

Can someone with a DUI conviction in the us travel to Canada?

U.S. citizens are the only worldwide citizens who do not require an eTA to travel by air, which means that they are the only ones who can present a Temporary Resident Permit at the airport. For those outside of the U.S. who have a DUI conviction, the only way to get into Canada is to fly into the U.S. and then drive to the Canadian border with a Temporary Resident Permit.

Additionally, Canada has front line access to the National Crime Information Center database, which makes American offenses easier for border agents to detect.

Can you enter Canada with a DUI after 10 years?

If an individual was considered Deemed Rehabilitated for a DUI before December 2018, they may still be allowed entry into Canada without a Temporary Resident Permit or a Criminal Rehabilitation, however they should always consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer to see if they qualify for grandfathered Deemed Rehabilitation.

As of December 2018, a DUI is considered a serious crime in Canada, and no longer qualifies as an offense that is automatically Deemed Rehabilitated after 10 years. As a result, a US citizen with even a single DUI/DWI that occurred more than a decade ago can still be denied entry into Canada.

Can you enter Canada with a DUI if you will not be driving?

Regardless of whether you will be driving while in Canada, with a DUI, you are still deemed inadmissible, since, once you have crossed the border, Canada has no way of enforcing or monitoring your behaviour.

Does this mean, if the DUI charges against you were dropped, that you would still be unable to enter Canada?

Entry into Canada may be possible if you provide evidence at the border that the criminal charges were never filed, or that your DUI charges were fully dropped without a conviction resulting. Whenever anyone is arrested and fingerprinted, a criminal record is created, which can be accessed at the Canadian border, where there is no presumption of innocence.

What do you need to do to get into Canada with a prior DUI on your record?

Consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer to see if you are eligible to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or a Criminal Rehabilitation (CR). These are necessary for your entry into Canada.

A CR is required if more than five years have passed since your conviction, or if you have more than one conviction on your file. The application costs and processing fees are considerably shorter for a CR involving non-serious criminality than they are for those involving serious criminality.

A TRP is required if less than five years have passed since the completion of your sentence, or if more than five years have passed, but you have not applied for a CR. It is advised if you are eligible for a CR, that you apply for a TRP as well.

Can you reduce your DUI to make it easier to travel to Canada?

Yes. If you feel like the DA or a judge may be receptive to a plea deal because of the Canadian consequences of a DUI on your client, our lawyers can prepare a foreign legal option. In this process, the Canadian equivalent of your charges are found, and it is determined whether these charges would make you inadmissible to Canada. We prepare a Legal Opinion Letter, which explains the additional penalties imposed by Canadian law and the negative implications of your client’s current charges on their life and employment. This letter is presented to the DA or a judge in effort to reduce your charges, and suggest an offence that does not involve alcohol, such as “disorderly conduct”, a speeding ticket, “reckless endangerment”, or possession of marijuana (in a case of drug impaired driving), which does not make you inadmissible to Canada.

Why does Canada forbid entry to U.S. citizens with a DUI for 10 years?

Canada considers a DUI to be a serious crime, and the charge comes with serious penalties, including large fines, jail time, forfeiture of driver’s permit, and impounding of vehicle. There is a concern that someone with a DUI will re-offend.

However, Canada does not prohibit anyone with a DUI to enter the country. If an individual obtains a Temporary Resident Permit or a Criminal Rehabilitation, they will be allowed to enter Canada.

Can you be denied entry to Canada due to drunk driving?

After you are arrested for drunk driving, your criminal record is created and entered in the National database within 30 days. Regardless of whether your arrest resulted in a conviction, with a criminal record, you may be denied entry into Canada.

How likely are you to be accepted to Canada with a DUI conviction?

There is no way to determine how likely you are to be accepted in Canada with a DUI conviction because this decision is at the discretion of border officials. While you are more likely to be allowed entry into the country if your conviction is more than 10 years old, this is not guaranteed. The only way that you are guaranteed to be accepted into the country is with a valid Temporary Resident Permit or a Criminal Rehabilitation. If you have a single, non-violent offence, and you are able to demonstrate that you have taken significant steps to rehabilitate yourself, you are likely to be accepted for Criminal Rehabilitation.

Can you vacation in Canada with a DUI?

You are likely to be denied entry into Canada for your vacation if you do not obtain a Temporary Resident Permit or a Criminal Rehabilitation. However, Temporary Resident Permits are usually not given for leisure purposes.

Can you fly into Canada with a DUI?

Even if you fly into Canada, you can still be denied entry if you have a DUI, since there is nothing that prevents you from renting or driving once you are in the country. Therefore, without a Temporary Resident Permit or a Criminal Rehabilitation, you can be denied by the Canadian Immigration and Customs Agent. Similarly to Border officials, this decision is up to their discretion.

Can you have a layover in Canada with a DUI?

At every Canadian airport, with the exception of a flights coming from countries outside of Canada and the US, with the final destination of the US, on specific airlines, you are required to go through Canadian customs if you have a connecting flight at the airport. There, you are subject to the discretion of the Canadian Immigration and Customs, who can deny you entry.

Can you go to Vancouver with a DUI?

Vancouver is identical to the rest of Canada, where your entry into Canada is at the discretion of a border official. A DUI conviction can prohibit your entry into the country.

You may hear stories of people who were allowed to cross the border even though they had a drunk driving offense.

Border officials have complete discretion when deciding whether to let someone into Canada. The older your conviction is, the more likely you are to be granted entry, however, this is not something that you can count on. The only way to guarantee entry into Canada is to obtain a Temporary Resident Permit or a Criminal Rehabilitation.

Can you cross the border with a DUi?

While crossing the border with a DUI, it is at the discretion of a border official to decide whether you are allowed entry into the country. The only way to ensure that entry into Canada is to present a valid Temporary Resident Permit at the border, or to be found Criminally Rehabilitated.

How long do you have to wait to go to Canada if you have a DUI?

If it has been less than five years since your DUI, you have to have finished the conditions of your sentence, such as probation, before you are allowed to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit. If it has been more than five years since your DUI, you are eligible to apply for a Criminal Rehabilitation, however, it is still advised that you also apply for a Temporary Resident Permit.

Before December 2018, you were automatically Deemed Rehabilitated ten years after your DUI. However, the laws have recently changed, and this is no longer automatic. If an individual was considered Deemed Rehabilitated for a DUI before December 2018, they may still be allowed entry into Canada without a Temporary Resident Permit or a Criminal Rehabilitation, however they should always consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer to see if they qualify for grandfathered Deemed Rehabilitation.

There is no specific wait time, but the earliest one is allowed entry into Canada is after the conditions of their sentence are completed, and they have successfully filed a Temporary Resident Permit.

What kind of traffic violations can result in inadmissibility to Canada?

The dangerous operation of a motor vehicle is a serious offense that often encompasses many other driving offenses, including vehicular homicide, hit and runs, and DUIs. These are the Canadian law equivalents of charges from the United States that may be referred to in a given state as motor manslaughter, racing, careless/dangerous driving, stunting/drag racing, criminal negligence, speeding over the state’s set limit, driving while under suspension, failing to obey police, failing to remain at an accident scene or refusing a breathalyzer test

Is a DUI a felony in Canada?

Canada does not classify offenses as misdemeanors and felonies, like the US. Instead, offenses are classified as a summary or indictable offense, with a summary being the most similar to a misdemeanor, and an indictable offense being the most similar to a felony. A DUI is considered to be a hybrid offense, which means that the Crown attorney can elect whether to prosecute it as a summary or an indictable offense.

How do you get permission to enter Canada with a DUI conviction?

You can get permission to enter Canada with a DUI conviction with a valid Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation (CR). A TRP allows for you to temporarily visit Canada, while a CR finding permanently removes the inadmissibility from your file.

To maximize your success with either of these options, consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer who can take the correct steps during all of the stages of your application.

If you do decide to travel to Canada, do you have to tell immigration that you have a conviction?

Never lie. Border officials have easy access to your criminal record, and if you are caught misrepresenting yourself or your criminal history, you greatly increase your chance of never being allowed to enter Canada again. Officials have the power to ban you from Canada for an extended period of time, or even life.

Additionally, do not attempt to cross the border at a different location on the same day. When you are denied admission at one port of entry, this information is instantly updated to a centralized database, where it is visible at all other ports of entry. Attempting to enter at another port can make it seem like you are trying to evade the system, and will increasingly jeopardize your chance of being allowed entry into the country again.

Can you get a passport with a DUI on your record?

Usually, a DUI/DWI, even if it was a felony conviction, does not prevent you from obtaining a passport, as a passport identifies you as a citizen. However, there are some exceptions. You can lose the right to obtain a passport if it is in the terms or your parole or probation, or if it is court ordered.

However, even with a valid US passport, with a DUI, you can still be denied entry into Canada.

Going to Canada but have a misdemeanor on your criminal record?

Canada does not classify offenses as misdemeanors and felonies, like the US. Instead, offenses are classified as a summary or indictable offense, with a summary being the most similar to a misdemeanor, and an indictable offense being the most similar to a felony. If you have a misdemeanor on your record, you need to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit or a Criminal Rehabilitation to gain entry into Canada.

Traveling to Canada: how does Canada know if you have a DUI?

Are you planning a trip to Canada and heard you will not be able to enter the country if you have a DUI on your record?

It is true visitors to the country will not be allowed admittance if they have been convicted of an alcohol-related offense (DWI or DUI) without proper advance planning. You may be thinking there is no way the border crossing officials will know about my DUI.

Perhaps it took place many years ago or in another state. The truth is Canadian border agents have access to a wide range of criminal databases that allow them to check each person’s background at the border or at Canada Customs and Immigration in an airport.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) uses a number of databases including the Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC) to screen people. Border agents were given expanded access to these databases in 2015 which allows them to search for warrants or past criminal convictions for anyone attempting to enter the country.

Access to CPIC will allow the border agent to see any DUI conviction on your record. Do not attempt to conceal a conviction because it could lead to you being banned from entering Canada for several years. You also do not want to cause problems for other passengers in the vehicle.

Sometimes people assume only the record of the person driving the vehicle into Canada will be checked, which is not true. Even if you are a passenger in a vehicle or if you are flying into Canada, you will still be denied entry with a DUI conviction on your record. Having a DUI does not mean you are completely banned from entering the country forever. However, it does mean you will need to make plans early.

If you have a DUI conviction you can be granted admittance into Canada, but you will need to plan your travel in advance. As a person with a DUI, one of your options is to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) before traveling there.

Not everyone’s permit request will be granted, so it is imperative to have legal representation to help guide you through the application process. You will have to gather an array of legal documents and may even be required to have biometric fingerprints done. The legal team at Basiga Law Firm can help you throughout the entire application process.

Once granted a permit, you will only have the ability to enter the country during a designated time period. You will have to reapply for any future trips to Canada.

Learn more about submitting a TRP application on our “Will a DUI prevent me from going to Canada?” blog post.

When entering Canada by car or by plane you will be required to present your TRP application to the border agent/border service officer. At the border, you will need to alert the officer that you have a TRP application. If you are riding with other people in the vehicle who may not know about your DUI conviction this scenario may be uncomfortable for you and should be taken into consideration when planning your travel.

It is important to have all of your documents in order when presenting them to a border agent. If your paperwork is not complete you may be denied access into the country and forced to turn around at the border. In some instances, all passengers in the vehicle will not be given admittance into the country.

When flying into Canada with a DUI conviction, you will typically be sent on to a secondary checkpoint in the Canada Customs and Immigration area. If your TRP application is not in order you will be denied access and will have to take the next flight back to the United States.

Do not risk being turned away at the border crossing or at a Canadian airport because of a DUI conviction. Make plans to travel to Canada today. Contact Basiga Law Firm at 517-708-7830.

Our expert legal team will guide you through all the necessary paperwork you need in order to enjoy your next trip to Canada.

I was convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Can I enter Canada?

If you’ve been convicted of driving while impaired, you may be inadmissible to Canada for serious criminality. This means that you generally can’t enter Canada. If that’s the case, there are options for you to enter Canada temporarily, or to become admissible again.

To enter Canada temporarily

A temporary resident permit (TRP) could allow you to enter Canada temporarily.

To get a TRP:

you must prove that your reason for travelling to Canada is justified.

you’ll have to pay the C$200 processing fee.

There’s no guarantee you’ll be allowed to enter or stay in Canada.

To become admissible again

There is a way you may be able to become admissible to Canada again. If you’re no longer inadmissible, you could enter Canada without having to get a TRP every time you want to come back. This is called criminal rehabilitation.

You can apply for criminal rehabilitation if:

you meet the eligibility criteria and

at least 5 years has passed since you completed your sentence or committed the crime.

If you committed an impaired driving offence before December 18, 2018

Tougher penalties for impaired driving came into effect on December 18, 2018. If you committed an impaired driving offence before this date, we’ll determine if you’re inadmissible based on the penalties in force at the time.

This means you may be inadmissible for criminality, and not serious criminality, unless you received a prison sentence in Canada longer than 6 months.

If you’re inadmissible for criminality, you may be eligible for deemed rehabilitation if at least 10 years has passed since you completed your sentence.

Find out more about overcoming your criminal inadmissibility.

Entering Canada With DUI

Entering Canada With DUI

Entry To Canada With A Drunk Driving Conviction

If you have been arrested or convicted for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol (DUI), you may be criminally inadmissible to Canada. This can affect your ability to enter Canada as a visitor, as well as preclude candidate eligibility across all Canadian immigration programs. Even the criminal inadmissibility of a dependent or accompanying family member due to DUI can have significant implications.

Drunk driving charges are prosecuted under a variety of designations around the world. Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Driving While Impaired (DWI), Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated (OMVI), Wet Reckless, are all examples of charges that can result from drinking and driving. Canadian immigration authorities pay no attention to the manner in which your impaired driving conviction was processed abroad. Under Canadian immigration law, any indictment relating to the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol can render someone Criminally Inadmissible to Canada.

Misdemeanor and felony DUI designations do not play a determinant role in the assessment of an individual’s admissibility. An American citizen, convicted of a misdemeanor level drunk driving offense, may still find himself or herself criminally inadmissible to Canada.

Criminal inadmissibility to Canada due to DUI, DWI, or any other drinking and driving conviction(s), can be overcome in different ways, depending on the circumstances.

Temporary Resident Permit – Temporary Solution

A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is a document that enables someone who is inadmissible to Canada to temporarily visit Canada for a specified period of time. A TRP should only be applied for with good reason, as it is not typically intended for use as a means to gain entry to Canada for leisure purposes. Ultimately, the decision to issue a TRP to circumvent a drunk driving conviction rests with the Canadian immigration officer who assesses the application. Individuals not yet eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation may find a TRP a helpful solution to DUI inadmissibility.

Under Canadian immigration law, a Temporary Resident Permit can be valid for up to 3 years, depending on the merits of the application. The Temporary Resident Permit application process is subjective and serious applicants should consult a Canadian immigration lawyer before applying. Citizenship and Immigration Canada strongly encourages individuals to mail their TRP applications to a designated Canadian consulate for processing. However, in certain circumstances, Temporary Resident Permit issuance may be sought from Canadian immigration authorities at a port of entry (airport, seaport, or border crossing).

Criminal Rehabilitation – Permanent Solution

Criminal rehabilitation is a petition submitted by a foreign national to request Canada forgive any, and all, prior DUI convictions. In order to be eligible to submit a criminal rehabilitation application, 5 years must have elapsed since the completion of all DUI sentencing, probationary periods and fines. Once an individual undergoes the criminal rehabilitation process, they have a fresh start and will no longer be denied entry to Canada due to DUI.

Criminal rehabilitation application processing times can be lengthy. Applicants are encouraged to make plans to rectify criminal inadmissibility well in advance of travel to Canada.

Deemed Rehabilitation

In certain instances an individual may be Deemed Rehabilitated after being convicted of a singular DUI. For example, if 10 years have elapsed since the completion of all sentences, fines and probationary periods, as well as other requisite criteria. Under such circumstances, Canadian immigration authorities may disregard the prior drinking and driving conviction.

To speak with a Canadian immigration lawyer about entering Canada with a DUI, DWI, DWAI or other alcohol-related drunk driving conviction, contact First Immigration Law Firm toll-free @ 1-855-360-4333 in North America.

Additional DUI Resources

What to do if you have a DUI and want to enter Canada

DUIs are considered serious crimes in Canada, but you may still be able to cross the border.

What to do if you have a DUI and want to enter Canada

What to do if you have a DUI and want to enter Canada DUIs are considered serious crimes in Canada, but you may still be able to cross the border.

What to do if you have a DUI and want to enter Canada DUIs are considered serious crimes in Canada, but you may still be able to cross the border.

What to do if you have a DUI and want to enter Canada DUIs are considered serious crimes in Canada, but you may still be able to cross the border. Daniel Levy Aa Accessibility Font Style Serif

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You may be considered inadmissible to Canada with a DUI conviction. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome inadmissibility.

Regardless of whether you are coming to Canada to visit, study, work, or immigrate, you will have to resolve admissibility issues before you begin your journey.

Canada strengthened DUI in 2018 when marijuana was legalized as part of an effort to stop people from driving impaired.

Canada judges past criminal history by converting the foreign crime to the Canadian equivalent. As of December 18, 2018, the DUI maximum punishment doubled from five years to 10 years in prison. DUI is a hybrid offence in Canada. This means that the government can choose to prosecute it by summary process or by indictment, which is more serious.

Canadian immigration law treats hybrid offences as indictable (as opposed to summary). If a person is convicted of DUI abroad on or after December 2018, Canada treats them as having committed an indictable offence. In theory, anyone who has committed an indictable offence is inadmissible to Canada forever due to serious criminality. However, there may be ways around this ban for people entering Canada with a DUI.

Schedule a Free Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

Temporary Resident Permits

If you are inadmissible but have a compelling reason to travel to Canada, you may be able to cross the border with a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). Some examples of a compelling reason could be coming to Canada to work, attend business conferences, or for important family events such as a funeral or wedding.

TRPs are usually valid for the length of a person’s visit to Canada, and the holder must leave Canada by the expiry date or get a new one before it expires.

In order to get a TRP, officials have to determine that your need to enter Canada outweighs the risks to Canadian society. There are never any guarantees that an inadmissible person will be granted a temporary resident permit. Officers have the authority to cancel a TRP at any time, and it is no longer valid once the holder leaves Canada (unless they have been specifically pre-authorized.)

TRPs are required to enter Canada if a person has committed a serious crime such as driving while impaired. It is important to stress that a TRP is only a temporary solution.

Criminal Rehabilitation

If it has been more than five years, but less than 10 years since completion of a sentence, you may be eligible to apply for criminal rehabilitation. If the application is approved, the applicant will have a clean slate and be eligible to enter Canada. There will no longer be any obstacles relating to the previous conviction: the person will be able to enter and leave Canada provided they do not commit another offence.

If it has been 10 years or more since completion of a DUI sentence, an inadmissible person could be deemed rehabilitated simply as a result of the passage of time. This solution is only possible in cases where someone has a single, non-serious conviction. If you have more than one conviction, you must apply for criminal rehabilitation to clear your criminal record to enter Canada without issue.

Given that a DUI is now considered a serious crime in Canada, it no longer qualifies as an offence that is automatically deemed rehabilitated after 10 years. If you had been deemed rehabilitated before December 2018, you may still be allowed to enter Canada. In any case, is best to consult with a lawyer before attempting to cross the border with a DUI.

Legal Opinion Letter

If you are currently facing a charge of DUI with no prior criminal history, you should not be considered inadmissible to Canada. Canadian immigration officers have discretion in these situations, weighing the benefits and risks of allowing entry. Canadian law, not U.S. law, applies when you are attempting to enter Canada. A Legal Opinion Letter from a Canadian immigration lawyer can be helpful in the event you are looking to enter Canada with a pending charge. The lawyer can explain any important facts in the pending case, and explain why you should not be considered inadmissible.

Schedule a Free Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

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Canada Border Crossing Services

There were major changes to Canada’s DUI entry rules in 2018 and 2019. Changes to Canada’s entry rules were not direct, but a consequence of changes to Bill-C46 coming into power on December 18th,2018. Those changes made visitors that could previously enter Canada legally after a waiting period of 10 years, including those from the United States, become inadmissible no matter how long has passed.

Canada DUI Changes in 2018

Bill-C46 upped the maximum charge for DUI (Driving under the influence – same as DWI ) in Canada to a 10-year prison sentence. This meant that a DUI charge was also upgraded to become a major offence or “serious criminality” for legal purposes. It’s the upgrading of a DUI to be considered “serious criminality” that changed crossing with a DUI going forward.

Border Crossing with A DUI

Prior to December 18th,2018 a foreign DUI charge was a considered a minor offence as the Canadian criminal charge was a maximum of 5 years in prison. Border officials would allow visitors from the US and other countries to enter provided that ten years had passed since they completed their sentencing requirements for their DUI charges. So basically, after any fines or time served were completed, waiting a further 10 years would give a person without other charges a very good chance of being “deemed rehabilitated”. Deemed rehabilitation would allow people with old DUI’s to enter Canada.

When the maximum charge for a DUI in Canada was increased to 10 years in prison, “deemed rehabilitation” no longer applied as the previously minor offence was now a major offence.

DUI Entry Rules Changes Affected Millions

The scope of the problem was enormous. Tens of millions of Americans and people from around the world became inadmissible over night. Truck drivers, airline pilots, visitors of all kinds, would be potentially inadmissible. The effect of the changes would also cause problems for people immigrating or seeking refugee status in Canada. From what we have been able to learn, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) did not immediately enforce the rule changes. Potentially millions of visitors would have had to pay to apply for rehabilitation and then wait up to a year to gain entry to Canada.

DUI Entry Rule Changes in 2019

Early in 2019 Canada’s Immigration Minister’s made a statement in the media, “anyone deemed rehabilitated for an impaired driving offence outside Canada before December 18, 2018…” “…would not need to reapply for relief to overcome inadmissibility due to that same offence.”

Deemed rehabilitation was grandfathered in for any foreign national convicted of a DUI prior to December 18, 2018. It should be noted that this is simply a policy and not a legal change. Policies are subject to change as the administration deems fit. This means a change in government could potentially mean a change in this policy.

How Long Do You Have to Wait to Go to Canada After A DUI?

Right now, with no other criminal charges, the waiting period for anyone with a DUI conviction prior to December 18th, 2018 is 5 years with an application and 10 years without a formal application. The waiting period begins after their full sentencing requirements are completed. Any additional criminal charges will require the application for “criminal rehabilitation” be made.

Automatic eligibility for entry to Canada with an old DUI requires a waiting period of 10 years after sentencing requirements are completed. This has been grandfathered for convictions prior to December 18th, 2018.

Questions?

Everyone’s situation is unique and it’s always a good idea to ask questions to get the correct answers. For a free consultation simply give Mitch a call T (204) 488-6350 or 1-800-438-7020. Alternatively, you may complete the contact form on this page.

Canada DUI Entry: Can you go to Canada with a DUI or DWI

Entering Canada with a DUI is possible when you complete the requirements and provide the necessary documentation.

Can you go to Canada if you have a DUI? If you have past charges for drinking and driving or driving while impaired that leads to a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) you would probably be found criminally inadmissible to Canada.

Since March 2012, you could be eligible to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). A TRP depends on each person’s particular circumstances. The duration of a TRP can vary from a 24-hour pass to a 36-month permit, it can sometimes be provided as a single to multiple entry pass as well.

COVID travel restrictions apply to all travellers within Canada and travellers coming into Canada. If you have a criminal record and are travelling to Canada during COVID, you may also need a waiver. Click here to find out if you need to apply for a waiver. Now would be the best time to start your application as it can take approximately 1 year for the Government of Canada to approve your application. Currently, they are not facing any delays in the processing of waiver applications. To find out more about your travel options during this time, visit our resource page.

I was convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Can I go to Canada with a DUI?

On December 18, 2018, new laws for driving while intoxicated went into effect. If you were arrested for drunk driving before this date, we’ll decide if you’re inadmissible based on the penalties in effect at the time. If you served a jail term in Canada of more than 6 months, you might be inadmissible for criminality, but not serious criminality.

You may be able to enter Canada temporarily with a temporary resident permit (TRP). To obtain a TRP you must demonstrate that your visit to Canada is justified. You’ll have to pay a processing fee of C$200 to the Canadian government. This fee is on top of any fees you may have to pay to compile your application. You can’t be certain you’ll be able to join or remain in Canada.

There is a possibility that you will be able to re-enter Canada. If you are no longer inadmissible, you can enter Canada without obtaining a TRP each time you return. Criminal rehabilitation is the term used to describe this process. If you meet the eligibility requirements and it has been at least 5 years after you finished your probation or committed the crime, you will apply for criminal rehabilitation.

Not sure if you qualify to travel to Canada? Start by checking your eligibility. Check my eligibilityLearn what we do for you

Getting Into Canada with a DUI

If you have a past offence of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated (OMVI), Operating Under the Influence (OUI), Wet and Reckless (W&R), Reckless Driving, Driving without Due Care and Attention, or similar, it can affect your chances of getting into Canada and crossing the border.

While having a DUI or similar conviction can pose a problem when travelling to Canada, it’s a challenge that can often be overcome.

Applying for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) for travelling to Canada with a DUI allows an individual to become admissible on a temporary basis. A TRP will only be considered if there is a humanitarian issue such as a death in the family.

When looking to enter Canada with a DUI conviction, the TRP is your fastest option. Issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, a TRP is used to admit visitors with criminal records into Canada. As per Canadian law, if you have ever committed or been convicted of a crime, you might not be eligible for entry into Canada and considered “criminally inadmissible.”

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Canadian border crossing rules

Many Americans often believe they can cross the border with a past DUI as it’s regarded differently in the United States. In some states, a DUI is regarded as a misdemeanour, infraction, or traffic violation.

In Canada, drunk driving is considered a criminal offence. In addition to Driving Under the Influence (DUI), it can also be recognized as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Even if you fly into Canada and arrive at a Canadian airport or were to arrive by ship at a Canadian harbour, you can still be denied entry for a past DUI.

There are cases where some people have crossed the border before or know of friends or family that have done so on multiple occasions without any difficulties. Doing so is at your own risk, and once inevitably caught, you could be detained and possibly be banned from entering Canada for years. Additionally, everyone travelling with you would also be denied entry at that time.

It’s imperative that you don’t lie when speaking to an officer about crossing the border. Misrepresenting yourself (and your record) significantly reduces your chances of crossing the border in the future. A Canadian border officer can ban you for an extended amount of time, and even for life.

Past offences that were committed outside of Canada are individually assessed on a case-by-case basis and compared to the equivalent offence and seriousness of the charges. In some cases, what might be considered a minor offence elsewhere can be regarded as a serious offence according to the Canadian criminal code and immigration authorities. A DUI offence is an example of such a situation.

When crossing the border you would be dealing with The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and when an agent asks “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” be sure to answer truthfully. Chances are they have the answer in front of them and how you reply can determine whether you’ll be allowed entry.

How a TRP (Temporary Resident Permit) Works

Each year, thousands of Americans visit Canada for business travel, holidays, hunting, fishing, skiing, visiting family and other reasons.

When applying for a Temporary Resident Permit (or TRP) so you can enter Canada with a DUI, there are a number of eligibility requirements. A TRP varies in terms of what it permits. In some cases, it might be for a single entry, while in others it might be valid for months, even years, and sometimes allows multiple entries.

Frequent travellers can sometimes have a TRP issued for re-entry, provided;

the crime resulted in probation or a suspended sentence, and not a jail term

the crime did not include drugs (simple marijuana possession might be considered)

did not include physical harm and/or violence

did not include property damage (DUI in an accident also a factor)

conditions met while on probation, if applicable

there are no more than two (2) convictions, which are summary offences, not indictable

In some cases, frequent travellers might want to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation. If your conviction took place over 5 years ago, you might be eligible. Unlike a TRP, which is usually submitted at the Canada/U.S. border, the application for Criminal Rehabilitation is made at a Canadian consulate or embassy.

How long do you have to wait to go to Canada if you have a DUI?

Firstly, you cannot enter if your charge is still pending.

If you are approved for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), you can enter Canada within five years. A TRP is generally granted for a specific purpose, such as a business meeting or convention.

After five years, you are eligible to apply for a permanent waiver, which is called Criminal Rehabilitation.

The fastest way to get a TRP is to prepare your application and take it to the border. It could take a few months to prepare your application, depending on the agencies that hold your records. Once you get to the border or airport, it will be approved or denied within a few hours. If it is denied you’ll have to turn around, which makes this a very risky application. This is only recommended for very compelling applications.

Otherwise, you can apply for a TRP at the Canadian Consulate. This will take much longer, but you have a better chance of being approved. It can take up to a year to get a TRP through the Consulate. A Criminal Rehabilitation application can take over a year. For this reason, many people will apply for the TRP and Criminal Rehabilitation at the same time.

The waiting period to apply for Criminal or Deemed Rehabilitation is based on the date you finished your sentence, not the date you were convicted. Getting into Canada with a DUI after 10 years allows you to be deemed rehabilitation.

Can a Canadian with a DUI enter the USA?

Although there are many convictions that would prevent a Canadian from entering the USA without a waiver, DUI is not normally one of them.

However, if there were multiple convictions or aggravating factors (such as harm to people or property) a Canadian could be denied for DUI. Drug-impaired driving could cause a Canadian to be denied because the US considers evidence of the use of narcotics, including marijuana, as grounds for inadmissibility. In these cases, the person would need to obtain a US Entry Waiver, which would need to demonstrate some rehabilitation.

Can you fly into Canada with a DUI on your record?

Many people hope that Canada will be more lenient if they fly into Canada. After all the major airports can be some distance from the border, and once you land at Customs you are already far into the country. However, the border authorities are unlikely to take pity on you just because you paid a lot for a flight.

Flying into Canada makes it even more crucial that you prepare a compelling TRP application to present on arrival or get pre-clearance through the Canadian Consulate.

If you are turned away at a Canadian airport, you will have to pay your own way home, which can be quite costly. Visiting Canada with a criminal record is not easier if you fly, and in fact, can be more difficult.

If it has been more than 10 years since you completed your sentence, bring proof when you fly or get cleared by the Consulate prior to travelling with a DUI record.

Next Steps?

At AllCleared, we help those requiring a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) and can assist you with the process.

Further information can also be found at CBSA, US customs, and the CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) website on past records or convictions.

We also recommend you review our FAQs for a Canadian waiver when looking to enter the country.

Under Canadian law, there are some minor and more serious crimes that would make you criminally inadmissible and not permit you to enter Canada.

This includes charges such as theft, assault, manslaughter, dangerous driving, DUI/DWI (driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol), and possession of or trafficking in drugs or other controlled substances.

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