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. Regardless of whether or
not you have any intention to drive while in the country, a DUI (including "under 21 DUI" and "Actual Physical Control DUI" violations) can cause you to
get turned away at the border and can impede your eligibility across all
Canadian immigration programs.
How to Obtain Permission to Enter Canada with DUI
Most people reading this want to learn how to get into Canada with a DUI as
simply and easily as possible. What you need to do is to correctly apply for and then
successfully receive permission from Canadian legal authorities to visit the country. Unfortunately,
getting 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:
Your first option is a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), which lets you enter or
stay in Canada for a specific period of time provided you have a valid reason to
visit. The Temporary Resident Permit is extremely helpful for individuals who
are not yet eligible for the permanent solution of Criminal Rehabilitation, and
TRPs can be valid for multiple visits for as long as 3 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.
Your second option is Criminal Rehabilitation, which is an application process
whereby a person petitions Canada immigration authorities to forgive
their prior DUI conviction. To be eligible to apply for Criminal
Rehab, 5 years must have passed since the completion of your sentence
which includes payment of fines, driving courses, community service, probation,
and any other conditions which may have been imposed on you. Successfully
completing the Streamlined Rehabilitation process gives an individual a fresh start
and allows them to enter Canada freely again. Unlike a Temporary Resident
Permit which is only good for a fixed amount of time, a rehabilitation document
never needs to be renewed. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, the
peace of mind and convenience of being able to go to Canada without worrying
about being denied entry makes this solution especially attractive to eligible
You may be deemed rehabilitated under Canadian immigration law if you only have a single DUI conviction and enough time
has passed since completion of your full sentence which includes jail time, probation, reinstatement of license, and payment of all
fines. If it has been more than 10 years since the completion of your sentence, and you have nothing else on your
criminal record, Canadian immigration authorities will disregard your prior DUI
conviction and allow you to visit the country. If you have two or more drunk driving violations or any other criminal convictions on your record, however, you will not be
deemed rehabilitated and will be inadmissible to Canada without a Temporary Resident Permit or Criminal Rehabilitation. It's advisable, however, that even if you may be Deemed Rehabilitated by the simple passage of time you have a legal opinion letter prepared to explain the exact situation to Canadian immigration authorities.
To improve your chances of admissibility into Canada, it's important to talk to
a knowledgeable immigration lawyer who can help you
take the necessary steps before and during your Canadian immigration application
to maximize your chances of being approved for entry. Why risk having to explain to
friends, family, and co-workers why you were denied entry to Canada?
Our Canada immigration lawyer has extensive experience helping Americans overcome
criminal inadmissibility issues so they can successfully travel to Canada with a DUI in 2015. Let us take care of the hard work for you, we're excellent at this! Contact our team today for a free consultation!
Will the People I'm 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, coworkers, 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 coworker has a criminal record. The good news is that in many
circumstances it is possible to keep your DUI a secret from your boss when entering Canada with him or her.
The easiest scenario in which to keep your DUI private from those you are traveling with is to procure a Canada Temporary Resident Permit prior to your
date of travel. A TRP can be obtained in advance of a trip to Canada, and once you have a valid T.R.P. in your possession it's notably easier to cross the border discreetly. If
a TRP application is sent to an appropriate Canadian Consulate in anticipation of future travel, the reviewing officer will have more
time to inspect the file, and once a person is approved they will be able to traverse the border with minimal delays and in most situations without ever having to
mention their criminal history. Applying for a TRP via a Canada Consulate takes 4-6 months, however, which is too far in advance for many Americans interested in getting into Canada. Since
many people, especially business travelers, are only given a few weeks advance notice of a trip to Canada, their only option
is to apply for a TRP at their port of entry (POE).
If you don't have enough time before your trip to apply for a TRP in advance, you can still keep your DWI a secret from your coworkers as long as you are flying into Canada
and not driving across the border. Individuals presenting a TRP Canada application at the border will be asked to proceed to secondary inspection for their file to be reviewed. This means that the actual
TRP evaluation and personal interview will likely be done far away from your fellow passengers, so it's only the initial conversation when you disclose your DUI to the officer and present your TRP application that needs to be obscured from
your boss. If you are flying to Canada, it's remarkably easy to do this since people typically go through border control in airports as individuals unless they are traveling as a family. At almost every International Airport in North
America, Border Service Officers are spread out far enough apart that you will very likely be out of earshot of any coworkers when you announce your TRP. Since visitors are routinely flagged for additional inspection, anyone you’re traveling with will not be suspicious
as to why you disappeared for a while and took so long to clear the border.
If you are traveling by car, however, you will have to present your TRP application to the border agent in front of your fellow passengers, so please take this into consideration when planning your trip. A good technique to make the best of a bad situation is to quietly give your TRP application to the border guard when you first pull up and
everyone hands over their passports, and in some cases you will be moved to secondary inspection without any mention of a DUI or criminal record. An American can require a TRP to overcome a previous overstay or because of a health problem, so notifying the officer that you have a TRP application without explicitly referencing criminal inadmissibility due to a DUI won't necessarily
get the office rumor mill chattering. If you need to go to Canada for work and your coworkers are driving, another strategy is to make up an excuse on why you will be traveling on your own and meeting them there. A family commitment or even an important doctor or dentist appointment could easily explain why you will be flying to Canada instead.
Fortunately, a majority of corporate travelers fly into Canada instead of driving, so keeping your criminal past a secret from your co-workers will be possible in most circumstances. Because we focus entirely on DUI and Canada entry, we have a plethora of experience on how to keep a DUI a secret from work associates when entering Canada with a drinking and driving conviction. Phone us today to discuss how we can put this experience to work for you!
Can I Submit My Own TRP Application?
While individuals are permitted to submit their own TRP application at a Canadian visa office or Port of Entry, it is advisable to seek professional help. Canadian immigration regulations are very specific and an individual whose TRP application is not properly prepared carries the risk of being denied entry to Canada. Applying for a Temporary Resident Permit on your own is often compared to representing yourself in court, you can do it, but it's probably not a very good idea.
One of the many reasons why people can be denied a TRP is because they lacked knowledge of the pertinent immigration regulations and overlooked relevant evidence that could have or should have
been provided to Canadian immigration officials. The TRP application process is not simple and it is all the more important that a qualified Canadian immigration lawyer is advocating on your behalf. Furthermore, a
TRP application must essentially explain why someone should be allowed into Canada. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), "to be eligible
for a Temporary Resident Permit, your need to enter or stay in Canada must outweigh the health or safety risks to Canadian society, as
determined by an immigration or a border services officer. Even if the reason you are inadmissible seems minor, you must demonstrate
that your visit is justified." A Canada immigration lawyer or Certified Canadian Immigration Consultant (CCIC) is qualified to prepare an application that will maximize the chances of success. If an application is not strong enough, immigration officials may determine there is insufficient grounds to merit the issuance of a permit, and the applicant will have lost all the money they spent on the government processing fee.
Applying for a TRP directly can also take as long as 6 months, and can even require a personal interview.
If you are going to fly to Canada, it's essential that you understand the possible ramifications of not having a strong enough Temporary Resident Permit application.
Although several Canadian airports operate USA preclearance facilities, the reverse is not true meaning it is not possible to clear Canada Customs and Immigration while at a US international airport. For this reason your application for Temporary Resident Permit won't be adjudged by immigration officials until you land at an airport in Canada. At this point, if your application does not satisfy the Canadian official enough for him or her to issue you an entry permit, you will be denied entry to Canada
and flown back to the United States on the next available flight at your own expense. When evaluating whether or not you should pay a lawyer to professionally prepare your application vs saving money by attempting to do it yourself, always factor in the consequences of an inadequate application before deciding to cut corners.
If you need to enter Canada on an emergency basis due to urgent circumstances, there are options that make possible entry into Canada
for pressing reasons such as a family emergency. Our team can prepare an application that will make the most compelling case possible for you to be permitted
entry on an expedited basis. If you need to enter Canada ASAP, our Canadian immigration lawyer has considerable experience preparing TRP applications for urgent entry, and is available most evenings and weekends because
emergencies don't always arise during standard business hours. Want to know just how fast we can prepare a TRP application for your emergency entry? Phone our team today for a free consultation!
How Long Does Criminal Rehab Take?
Criminal Rehabilitation processing times are typically between 9 months and 1 year through conventional consulate channels. However since a Temporary Resident Permit can be issued much quicker than Criminal Rehab, it's very common for people to apply for both
at the same time which will allow them to visit Canada immediately with the TRP and then enjoy permanent admission once approved for Streamlined Criminal Rehabilitation.
Many of the same documents are required for both the Temporary Resident Permit and Criminal Rehabilitation applications, so it's always smart to ask if these cost savings will be passed along to you the client!
Why Exactly Does Canada Deny Entry to People with a DUI?
Many Americans are shocked to learn how difficult entry into Canada with DUI
charges can be. In fact, even a not guilty verdict (acquittal) can sporadically cause a US resident
to be rejected at the Canadian border since the original DUI arrest will still be visible to immigration staff.
Section 36 of Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) says that persons are inadmissible to Canada if they are 'convicted of an
offense outside of Canada which if committed in Canada would be an offense under
the Act of Parliament punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least
10 years'. This allows Canada to keep out foreign individuals who have been
charged with an indictable offense such as assault, fraud, or criminal mischief, but
also allows them to deny entry to people charged with impaired driving. For
this reason, many Americans are stuck researching "DUI Canada entry" on the Internet only to learn
one of the DUI consequences is inadmissibility to
Canada without rehabilitation or a TRP. Although these migration decrees can be bona fide annoying for folks with a USA DWI, Canada is simply trying to keep out objectionable tourists and
is not trying to punish you personally for having made a blunder in life.
Because Canada immigration regulations view DUIs as a serious offence, an impaired driving charge in the United States can bar a person from visiting Canada for
up to 10 years, even if it was only a misdemeanour. Occasionally, pleading a DUI down to a minor charge such as dangerous or reckless
driving is still not enough to make someone eligible to cross the Canadian border after their initial arrest. When determining your eligibility to
travel to Canada, it’s not the status or seriousness of the crime in the USA that matters, it’s what the crime equates to under Canadian
law. The Canadian Immigration and Refugee Act is the legislation that determines whether entry into Canada for a non-Canadian will be
granted or denied. According to this act, a pending DUI charge is treated as ‘under indictment’ and potentially excludes
the person from entry. 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 can still cause you to be denied entry at the Canadian border depending on the exact wording of your
If you have any criminal record at all; a bounced check, a fishing violation, uttering a death threat, a poaching charge, even simple possession of a small amount of weed, you might not be admitted to Canada. Your DUI also doesn't have to be alcohol related in order for the border to deny entry for criminality.
People are frequently charged with driving while intoxicated because they were on prescription medication such as pain killers or medical 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" you can't be operating a motor vehicle while on it or else you can get a DUI and no longer be welcome in Canada. If you were charged with boating under the influence of alcohol, or even some obscure charge such as operating a motorized lawn mower while intoxicated, your ability to travel to Canada can
also be effected.
Can you Enter Canada with a DUI If You Won't Be Driving?
A person with an impaired driving record is still inadmissible to cross the border into Canada even if they won't be driving a car,
truck, motorcycle, boat, airplane, or any other motor vehicle during their
visit! Some people think that if they fly into Canada and do not intend to drive once while in the country that they will be granted entry without a problem. Canadian immigration regulations do not distinguish whether you intend to drive
while visiting or not. Regardless you will likely still need rehabilitation or a TRP to travel to Canada with a DWI
appearing on your criminal record history. It is believed by some that you can enter into Canada with a D.U.I. as long as
you don't disclose it at the border. This is false and furthermore misleading immigration officials can lead to other
further serious consequences.
Does It Matter Which State the DUI Occurred?
One of the major reasons why United States residents seek assistance from
experienced immigration legal professionals before trying to enter the country is
to determine the exact criminal equivalency and excludability of their specific
offense in Canada. The procedure for determining 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 underage DUI laws) and the
precise wording of each statute vary from state to state, the Canadian admissibility of
an individual can also depend on the US state in which the offense
happened. The precise wording of acquittal documents, absolute discharge and
conditional discharge documents, criminal diversion documents, deferred
adjudication documents, or pardon documents can also vary from state to state. The exact details of a deferred disposition (suspended sentence), or adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (ACD) can also vary by region.
The Canadian equivalent of other driving violations an individual may have plead
their first DUI down to, such as dangerous or reckless driving, can also vary at a
state or county level. Other violations that are often added to impaired driving charges
such as driving with a suspended license, no car insurance, damage to property, leaving the scene
of an accident, speeding, or refusing a breathalyser, chemical test, or blood test, can
further complicate matters, so it's always best to consult with a licensed
Immigration Attorney in Canada about your particular situation.
Our team has assisted US citizens from several different states 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 the following states: Alabama (AL), Alaska (AK), Arizona (AZ), Arkansas (AR), California (CA), Colorado (CO), Connecticut (CT),
Delaware (DE), Florida (FL), Georgia (GA), Hawaii (HI), Idaho (ID), Illinois (IL), Indiana (IN),
Iowa (IA), Kansas (KS), Kentucky (KY), Louisiana (LA), Maine (ME),
Maryland (MD), Massachusetts (MA), Michigan (MI),
Minnesota (MN), Mississippi (MS), Missouri (MO), Montana (MT),
Nebraska (NE), Nevada (NV),
New Hampshire (NH), New Jersey (NJ), New Mexico (NM), New York (NY),
North Carolina (NC), North Dakota (ND), Ohio (OH),
Oklahoma (OK), Oregon (OR), Pennsylvania (PA), Rhode Island (RI), South Carolina (SC),
South Dakota (SD), Tennessee (TN), Texas (TX),
Utah (UT), Vermont (VT), Virginia (VA), Washington (WA), West Virginia (WV), Wisconsin (WI), and Wyoming (WY). Not only do we accept clients from every US state, we are also familiar with the DUI laws in each of these states, and even know the exact process for people in each state to retrieve all the documents required for
a Temporary Resident Permit or Criminal Rehabilitation application (this state specific information is not available in the free consultation, however, and is only available to our clients). Our team of experts can help make crossing the border into Canada with a DUI as easy as possible!
Refused Entry to Canada?
If you have already been denied entry to Canada, it’s very important to not return until legally able to do so. It is advisable in
these circumstances to consult with a qualified Canadian immigration attorney to ascertain the best means of ensuring successful entry into
Canada. If you attempt to enter via another Port of Entry, denial is almost certain and an outright ban from Canada can result. Once
you have received an official refusal of entry to Canada, it is advisable to consult with a Canadian immigration legal professional
before attempting to cross the border again. Any form of perceived non-compliance can significantly reduce your odds of being granted permission for DUI entry in the future, so it's important not to make any rash decisions while still angry about being bounced at the border. In many cases, individuals
denied entry to Canada are permitted to officially withdraw their application for admission. For more serious cases, border officials will issue a Section 44 Report and the case will be forwarded 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.
There are a number of reasons why someone visiting Canada can be refused entry. Grounds for refusal include
misrepresentation or presenting fraudulent documents at the border, general health risks to other Canadians, past criminal
offences, a lack of financial resources, or any other breach of The Immigration & Refugee Protection Act. For Americans traveling
to Canada, the most common reason for refusal of entry is existence of a prior criminal record, specifically drunk driving. Many American citizens don't have any idea
that a police record for driving while impaired can prevent them from being admitted into Canada until after they reach the border. American residents can be even more surprised when their intoxicated while a new driver violation is the origin of their Canadian DUI entry difficulties. US
citizens, or people from other VISA exempt countries, can attempt to overcome an inadmissibility at the Canadian border by
requesting short term admission on the spot for economic, social or humanitarian reasons. Temporary Resident Permits
will be given based on a variety of factors including the seriousness of the offense rendering the person inadmissible, evidence that
an individual has reformed or rehabilitated, completion of all sentences + payment of all fines and restitution, pattern of criminal
behaviour, time elapsed since the offense occurred, and potential risk of the person entering Canada. Applying in person at a land border
crossing or airport can be stressful and so it is best to consult with a qualified lawyer or consultant before doing so.
If an individual is inadmissible for medical reasons, but is a medical tourist, the availability of the treatment in Canada will be scrutinized.
So who exactly is not permitted to enter Canada? The Immigration Act denies admission to anyone convicted of driving while
intoxicated (D.W.I.) or driving under the influence (D.U.I.), both of which are considered an indictable offense in
Canada (similar to a felony in U.S.A.) and punishable by a term of imprisonment for up to 5 years. Other criminal offenses that can
cause someone to be denied entry to Canada include theft, assault, reckless driving, possession of stolen property, shoplifting, fraud, driving while license suspended, extortion, battery, domestic
violence, misdemeanor drug possession, and any type of felony such as breaking and entering or armed robbery. Some people need the
services of a qualified immigration professional to determine if they can legally enter Canada, while other people already know that they
will need special permission to visit and require help from an attorney to come up with a workable plan so they can enter. A criminal
conviction does not mean you cannot enter Canada, it simply means you may require special permission to enter and must prepare an acceptable
application before visiting. TRP eligibility requirements for first time Port of Entry applicants have recently changed, so it's important
to only work with an immigration lawyer familiar with the 2015 Canada DUI Entry rules (as well as any scheduled Canada DWI entry 2016 or 2017 changes).
Another reason why US DUI offenders are often denied entry to Canada is because they don't realize that they are criminally inadmissible to cross the border while they are waiting for legal proceedings. Once a person has been arrested for an alcohol related driving violation he or she is not permitted entry into Canada without special permission until a court disposition determines "no conviction" on all DWI charges. If the court judgment is
delayed because of deferred sentencing, they will need a Canada Temporary Resident Permit in order to visit the great white North in the meantime. Once an individual has fulfilled all the conditions of their deferral program and has docs proving that the legal court finding was "no conviction" they will be once again allowed to enter the country without a TRP. Paying your fine in instalments can delay your ability to apply for Canada Criminal Rehabilitation since you must wait
at least 5 years after completion of your full sentence including payment of all fines and restitution as well as reinstatement of driver's license. After five years you are given the ability to submit an application for rehabilitation, and provided officials are satisfied that you have reformed your personal and professional life you may be forgiven of your past crimes and permitted enduring access to the country.
TRP applications can be submitted to specific Canadian visa offices in the United States, and can even be made at the US-Canada border or Port of Entry. The
instant adjudication of the application is a major perk of applying at the border, but the risk of refusal leading to the applicant being
turned away is a major downside of this method. The biggest downside of applying for a Temporary Resident Permit at a Canadian consulate or
visa office is the extremely long processing times that can run over 6 months in many cases. The most effective way of applying for a TRP ahead of time
is with the help of an experience Canada immigration lawyer. An attorney can help you gain entry in an effective manner, while letting you
sleep easy at night knowing you have been successfully issued the TRP before you arrive at the border. If you suspect you may encounter
an inadmissibility issue when attempting entry into Canada, we encourage you to contact our team as early as possible prior
to your scheduled visit to Canada!
Other Common Reasons Americans Are Refused Entry
Having a criminal record is a major reason why US citizens are refused entry into Canada.
Other common reasons are no proof of income, no proof of employment, no proof of sufficient funds, no proof of residency in USA,
no proof of ties to USA, and no international health insurance. To avoid being denied entry into Canada for ‘not enough ties to home
country’, it’s important to bring supporting documentation to prove you do in fact have ties to your home country such as family, a
house or apartment (mortgage or lease), enrollment in a school, or a job. To avoid being denied entry for not enough funds, ensure
that you have enough money in your bank account to sustain yourself for the entire duration of your trip (and bring supporting
documents, or have the ability to log into your online bank account on your mobile phone). Having insufficient funds is one
of the more frequent reasons why people are denied entry into Canada, so it’s very important for people to take extra steps to be able
to prove they can afford their trip, and obviously the longer the scheduled visit the more money an individual will be required to
have. Even if you will be "getting paid" or "receiving money" in the near future, if your bank account is depleted when you attempt to cross the border
you risk being refused entry. It might sound ridiculous that Canada requires
residents of a country as rich as the United States to prove they can afford a trip, but the Canadian government is trying to prevent certain
foreigners from entering the country that they deem are likely to either work illegally or strain the country’s social programs (such
as homeless or unemployed Americans attracted to Canada's socialism and oil money). It's also important to have health insurance coverage valid in Canada (also called Canadian
travel insurance) before attempting to visit Canada, and border officers will often ask about this. A lot of traditional American
health insurance plans do not cover out of country medical expenses, and if you don’t have a MasterCard or VISA credit card that offers
emergency medical coverage you might have to purchase insurance before visiting Canada (especially if you're a senior).
A little known reason for some Americans to be denied entry to Canada is because of gang ties. Anyone who is deemed to be associated with
organized crime, even loosely, can be refused entry into Canada. This has happened to numerous US musicians over the years, and many rap
concerts have been cancelled because the performer was not allowed to enter the country. Protesters and activists coming to Canada may be forbidden entry at the border if it's suspected that they
may cause public disorder. Also, being denied a NEXUS card can bring your criminal past to the attention of the Canadian border, which
could lead to you being denied entry on your next visit. Visiting Canada even after receiving a pardon or
discharge for a crime can still be tricky. Occasionally a state or county where you were convicted 'pardons' or 'discharges’ your
crime. This does not automatically mean you can enter Canada normally, however, and you should still contact a qualified legal professional
to see if Canada will accept your pardon. At the end of the day, you can Google "can you go to Canada if you have a DUI?" and read all the information a million times, but ultimately the answer is at the total discretion of the border agent who considers
the person's unique situation particularly how long ago the DUI transpired and the reason for traveling to Canada. DUI travel to Canada is the exact same regardless of what method of transportation you use, and flying into Canada with a DUI does not
increase your probability of getting in. There is also no sex preferential since both males and females are equally capable of drinking and driving while visiting Canada. In summary, "can you travel to Canada with a DUI?" is not a yes or no question, "it depends" is the correct answer. Travel to Canada with DUI on your record is possible as long as you are issued a TRP.
There are examples of people being denied entry even after participating in an expunging program, as well as refusal of entry of individuals who have
been pardoned. Although getting into Canada after a DWI expungement should not be a problem, mistakes do happen which is why it's advisable to pay a lawyer to write a legal opinion letter to the CBSA explaining exactly why you
are admissible to the country because of your expungement. It doesn't matter if you're traveling with a tour group to see Niagara Falls from the Canadian side, or to a wedding
in Toronto with your husband or wife, or if you're traveling solo to go fishing or hunting in Canada's backcountry wilderness - any crime on your record, even just a
misdemeanor DUI/DWI/OUI/OWI, can result in you being refused entry into Canada. Other impaired driving charges that can make someone inadmissible for international travel are
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), DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired), DWUI, DUBAL, and Wet Reckless. Travel to Canada from US with DUI or similar charges appearing on your file can be hard, so the best strategy if you don't actually have a criminal conviction
is usually to carry paperwork with you that proves you are admissible to the country. Even a Canadian permanent resident with a DUI can become ineligible to freely leave and re-enter the country. Whether you have a first time DUI with
no injuries and need to travel to Canada for business, or are an individual with permanent residency who needs to return to their job in Canada, phone our team today to see how our immigration lawyer can help.
Some of the supporting documents required to support your TRP or Criminal Rehabilitation application are multiple letters of
recommendation, a drivers abstract, a police record, 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. Applicants also need a document from their local Police stating that there isn’t a warrant out for
their arrest. As part of the approval process, the Canadian consulate does a deep background check on the individual and can find any
other crimes they’ve ever committed including mischief, reckless driving, assault, battery, child abuse, drug trafficking, possession of
marijuana, possession of cocaine, domestic violence, firearms offenses, or even writing a bad check. Possession of a controlled substance is one of the more
common crimes in America, and similar to a first offense DUI can render a person inadmissible to Canada. Never get discouraged that you're banned
from Canada for life because of your past crimes as visiting Canada with a DUI is sometimes possible with the assistance of
qualified Canada immigration lawyers even when it initially appears unimaginable to the client.
After an individual completes their drunk driving sentence, there is sometimes conditions imposed on them in order for them to reinstate their
driver's license. Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device or IID is a common one, as are conditional licenses which set restrictions on
the driver such as not having any measurable amount of alcohol in their blood when driving, or only being in their vehicle to and from their
place of employment. If your license is still suspended, you will not be permitted to drive across the border even if you have a valid 2015 Canada DUI entry TRP. Without a driver's license your only options
will be to fly to Canada or have someone else do the driving.
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) can turn away any non-Canadian citizen or permanent resident who wants to visit Canada for a large number
of factors such as health problems, financial issues, past criminal convictions, or a general risk to security. Immigration officials
determine the admissibility of travellers seeking to enter Canada on a case-by-case basis. Some of the factors used to determine
admissibility are health, serious or minor criminality, security, human or international rights violations, misrepresentation,
non-compliance, and even if any family members are inadmissible. The CBSA is not stupid, if you show up at the border with a
U-Haul trailer packed full of all your belongings and tell them you just want to “visit” Canada they’re obviously going to be very
suspicious of your true intentions. Even though DUI entry into Canada is easier now than in the past, it's still a lengthy and complex
process for individuals who would be refused at the Canadian border without rehabilitation or a TRP waiver. Even though reports of famous celebrities being stopped at the
border and sent back to the United States have made the news (including celebrity gossip website and TV show TMZ), public knowledge in the USA about Canada DUI entry laws is still very low. A large chunk of the populace is still completely unaware that there are DWI and DUI
travel restrictions, and most people have no idea that the Canadian border can see your US DUI punishment thanks to criminal database sharing between the two countries. Even people that live close to the Canadian border such as residents of Northern Washington State who regularly cross the border into BC aren't always aware of Canada's DUI entry laws, rules, and restrictions.
Most criminal convictions will render an individual inadmissible to Canada, including a conviction of drunk driving
(DUI or DWI). In some cases, even crimes such as disturbing the peace or mischief are enough to cause someone to be refused entry. A person
is automatically considered rehabilitated 10 years after a minor crime, but can apply to be considered rehabilitated after only
5 years. People who have been convicted of a serious crime, defined as one that could result in a 10 year prison sentence or
longer, are never automatically deemed to be rehabilitated and must explicitly apply for Criminal Rehab (also called
‘Individual Rehabilitation’). In Canada, many crimes have a maximum prison sentence of 10+ years to give the judge some leeway, so
always consult with a qualified Canada immigration attorney before assuming your crime is not considered to be serious in
Canada. Remember, if you show up at the Canada-USA border with a conviction that is more than 10 years old but is considered
a serious offense in Canada, you may still be refused entry since you won’t automatically be deemed rehabilitated! It’s also
important to remember that the time period doesn’t actually start until you have finished serving your sentence (including all jail time and probation) and paid all fines.
DUI Entering Canada
Going to Canada with a DUI for work or even leisure can be easy if you plan ahead and get a permit issued in advance of your travel. Unfortunately, many American Citizens don't realize
that a DWI can result in Canada denying them entry. Even if you ask the average DUI attorney in the United States "can you get into Canada with a DUI?" many of them
will not know the answer. If you have a DUI but only learn about the Canada DUI entry laws shortly before your trip, you will have no choice
but to cancel your travel plans or take the potential risky action of applying for a TRP on the spot while crossing the border. When it comes to crossing into Canada, it really doesn't matter if your DUI is a result
of a random police roadblock, or if a state transportation authority police officer or county sheriff identified your vehicle as traveling at excessive speed or crossing double lane lines, and he or she then performed a traffic stop and standard field sobriety test to determine if you were drinking and driving. If you have any type of DUI or DWI on your record, you risk
getting stopped at the Canadian border and denied entry to the country. If you have 2 DUIs and get a third, of if one of your two DUIs was the result of a car accident (or even just a small fender bender), you
may get charged with a 3rd degree DWI which can make DUI Canada travel even more difficult.
DUI Entry Canada - Temporary Resident Permit
You can only go into Canada if you have a DWI if you are issued a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or are considered rehabilitated by the appropriate government office. Restrictions on entry to Canada prohibit
foreign nationals from crossing Canadian border with a criminal record. Canada denying
entry for DUI is commonplace, so avoid such an endeavour unless you will be getting a TRP. One repeatedly asked question
is "can I fly through Canada with a DWI?" When it comes to Canadian immigration and drunk driving admittance, equivalent Canada DWI laws is the only factor that
can differentiate a person's eligibility to cross into Canada. There is no difference between driving to Canada, flying to Canada, or flying
through Canada; in fact you can't even have a short layover at any Canadian airport while in transit between countries unless it is sanctioned by the government.
If you were refused entry to Canada at a border crossing but are unsure why, a
Canadian immigration attorney can request and then assess the notes that
accompany your file on your behalf via the Global Case Management System (GCMS). In countless situations, a person with a DWI conviction applying for a Temporary Residence Permit Canada at the border will be denied entry to the country because of their reason for visiting or their lack of ties to the United States, not due to their criminal record. In many of these cases, officials would have been willing to issue a Temporary Resident Permit had the person otherwise been eligible for entry, but instead they were denied entry
for intending to work in Canada without the required consent or another concern of immigration staff such as lack of funds.
Anyone inadmissible to Canada for health, criminal, or security reasons is only permitted to enter Canada with special permission. For
visitors entering Canada with a Temporary Resident Permit, it is not possible to renew a TRP once the validity of a permit is
finished. Since there is no such thing as a TRP renewal, individuals must reapply for another permit which is one of the reasons why the
permanent solution of Streamlined Rehabilitation is so attractive. Any Canadian immigration law firm or consulting firm that speculates
on the exact percent chance someone has of being granted a TRP is not reputable. Each and every case is different, and it's very possible
for an American with 4 DUIs to be granted entry, and someone on the same day with only 3 DUIs to not be approved. An incomplete
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. If you are an artist, actor, professional athlete, musician, or entertainer, or are traveling to assist one such as tour managers, security personnel, stage hands, publicists, band members, light or sound technicians, coaches, or documentary film makers, phone us immediately to learn how you can be granted entrance to Canada with a DUI via a "national interest" narrative. Canadian entry with DUI is often required
by people whose occupation 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 a DWI, as well as people that own real estate in the country.
Civil DUI vs Criminal DUI
Many US states have a civil license suspension law which is an entirely different charge from the criminal offense of DWI or DUI. Depending on the exact circumstances, if a person has never before been caught by the
Police driving while intoxicated they might get off with a civil license suspension and not a criminal record. For the purposes of Canadian immigration, however, the Canadian equivalent is still a full blown DUI (Canada does not have a civil penalty for driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher) which will render a person
ineligible to go to Canada. Some people speculate that a civil DUI does not get picked up by the FBI criminal database since the violation is held by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and not the State Police, and that as a result the Canadian border will not see any non-criminal DUIs when a person goes to cross the border. Attempting to enter Canada with a civil DUI and no Temporary Resident Permit simply because you don't think
the border will be able to see your violation is definitely quite a gamble, and could go horribly wrong if the border agent asks
if you have ever been arrested and you don't disclose your prior DUI arrest but they can in fact see it in their computer system. At the end of the day a civil DUI still renders a person criminally
inadmissible to Canada whether or not the border will be aware of it, so unless you want to risk being denied entry into Canada you should always plan ahead and get a TRP.
Canadian Removal Orders
If an individual is unlawfully in Canada, immigration authorities may expel them if
they are the subject of a removal order. A departure order means a person must
leave Canada within 30 days of the order coming into force, and failure to
abide by a departure order will lead to a deportation order. A deportation
order is usually issued for allegations dealing with criminality, organized
crime, human rights violations, security issues, revocation of Canadian
citizenship, or a failure to abide by a departure order. Deportation from
Canada is not taken lightly, and the individual will often receive a life-time
ban from entering Canada. An immigration violation not involving criminality,
such as an overstay or working in Canada without the proper permits, will often result in an
exclusion order causing the subject to be banned from Canada for a period of 1
or 2 years. Exclusion orders can be overcome faster than this, however, by
applying for Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC).
How to Get a Temporary Resident Permit
There are several reasons why a TRP application may be refused. Your DUI could have occurred very recently, the immigration official might
believe you will re-offend, you might have overstayed on a previous visit to Canada, you might be inadmissible for a reason other than the
ones you listed on your TRP application, your passport might be expired or expiring soon, or you have may failed to disclose your criminal
record at the border during a previous attempt to visit. The punishment for overstaying your visit in Canada can be severe, so whether or not you are traveling
on an issued TRP make sure you don't stay in the country for longer than authorities will allow you. If you have already had a TRP issued in the past, it can become increasingly
difficult to justify why you need another one. Even if you upheld all the conditions and obligations of your previous TRP, getting a second
or third permit can be tough so aim to have your first document cover you for as long as possible if you plan to enter and exit Canada
several times in the not too distant future. If you are eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation, immigration officials will not be as inclined to issue you a long-term TRP. The CIC procedure manual states
"officers should not consider issuing permits if they believe that frequent travellers, or persons likely to return to Canada in the future, are eligible for rehabilitation and have not applied for
rehabilitation". If you are a foreign student with a 'Driving Under Influence' conviction, you will need a Temporary Resident Permit that gives you permission to be in Canada long enough for you to finish your course. Since TRPs are issued for a pre-determined length of time, you need to think about how long you plan on studying in Canada when applying for one. It is
possible to require both a TRP and a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) if you will be working or studying in Canada. The only visitors permitted to work or study in Canada are those who have been issued a work permit or study permit, all other foreign nationals are unable to legally seek employment or go to school while in the country. Americans who were issued a TRP that won't be valid for much longer may be reading this wondering if they can get into Canada with a DWI if their TRP is expiring. The answer is yes, as long as you will be leaving Canada again before the permit actually expires. If you are in Canada and can't leave until after your Temporary Resident Permit expires, you must apply for a TRP extension (make sure to select the "extension of temporary resident permit" option on the application form) otherwise you will
be considered unlawfully in the country which is a violation that can affect your future ability to cross the border.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (C.I.C.) staff who work at inland offices have policy and procedural guidelines that they must follow. These
policies cover issuing Temporary Resident Permits to allow Americans who are inadmissible to enter or remain in Canada. The policies also cover
the cancellation, expiry, or extension of permits, as well as granting permit holders with permanent resident status. Ports of Entry and
Canadian visa offices abroad handle issuing Temporary Resident Permit, while the enforcement division handles the removal of persons whose
TRP has expired or been cancelled by authorities. Any persons who do not meet the requirements for entry into Canada are refused a visa or
permit abroad, denied at the border, or refused processing within Canada. Unless an officer has a compelling and credible reason to issue a
facilitation travel document they likely will not and they have absolutely no obligations to legally do so. The CIC website offers a permit
extension kit, and TRP extensions cost the same fee as the original permit ($185USD).
If you are scanning documents to be included in an application, it's important to use a decent quality scanner to ensure document integrity. It
might be tough to receive a favorable decision from an administrator if they can't even read your biographic information because the image quality
is terrible. There are rare examples of TRP fee exemptions which include cases of a lost or stolen permit. Anyone caught smuggling goods across
the border not only risks becoming unwelcome in Canada, it's very feasible that the vehicle owner will additionally face criminal charges as
well. TRP's are usually not needed after you expunge a DUI, and a record clearing hearing expungement document can help prove to immigration
officials that you are now admissible to Canada. While it's feasible for an individual to go to Canada with a sealed DUI expungement, a legal
letter of opinion can help justify to Canadian border guards why you should be admitted to the country with an expunged DUI conviction.
If you booked a vacation to Canada, such as a fishing trip, hunting trip, or skiing trip without realizing that you were barred from going
into Canada due to your record for driving under the influence, then you might require fast legal help (particularly if it's non-refundable
or you paid a substantial deposit). In situations like this, economic considerations can come into play helping to improve the chances of a
candidate being permitted entrance. Rather than fear or threaten border officials, the best way to travel into Canada with a DWI is to
politely present a well-prepared and fully compliant submission to the visa officer and then just relax and answer their questions. Anger management and charitable
donations are sometimes part of a DUI plea deal, but not all creditable charities are happy to accept money if the donation is the result of a court order. One famous United States based charity, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), is known to often
refuse donations made by any donor officially associated with alcohol (such as a bar, pub, or nightclub owner).
What Documents Are Required to Apply for Criminal Rehabilitation or a TRP?
Applying for a Temporary Resident Permit and applying for Criminal Rehabilitation require many of the exact same documents!
The Act of Parliament and the Contraventions Act are the laws that outline the specific rehabilitation process for each criminal
offense. For people who have been convicted of a felony but want to gain entry to Canada, they must apply for Criminal
Rehabilitation via Citizenship & Immigration Canada Form IMM 1444. This involves a plethora of paperwork and they must include heaps of legal
documents as part of the application process. These docs generally include a photocopy of an original FBI
certificate, a state police certificate or letter from a police authority in every state you've lived in for six consecutive months or longer
since you turned 18, a letter from the court, proof that all fines, fees and restitution has been paid, a letter
from your probation officer stating that all sentences have been completely successfully, as well as a
letter stating that your civil rights have been fully restored. Citizenship and Immigration Canada offers document checklists for most of the immigrant forms
on their website. You can find the Criminal Rehabilitation checklist
here and the Temporary Resident Permit Canada checklist here. When viewing the Temporary Resident Permit Document Checklist you'll notice that a lot more documents must be provided as part of a TRP application than a Rehabilitation application. Obtaining your state criminal background check does not usually take too long, but you must capture your fingerprints in order to get your FBI criminal background check. This can be done in two ways, you can capture and electronically submit your fingerprints at a live scan location, or you
can make an appointment with your local, county, or state law enforcement agency to have your fingerprints ink-rolled on a fingerprint card.
The sheer complexity of managing this extensive process while balancing a full time job and other responsibilities is why most people hire a Canada immigration
lawyer. It is important to have a complete and accurate application as many people simply don't want to
risk jeopardizing their entrance to Canada. There are also optional documents such as character reference letters or letters of recommendation from upstanding individuals that can help improve
an applications strength. Skilled Canadian immigration lawyers will not only make the
entire process much easier, they will also help strengthen your application to maximize your chance of successful admission to Canada. In addition to legal guidance, the CanadaDUIEntryLaw.com team can also save our clients time by providing them with a list of nearby fingerprint scanning locations that are livescan service providers certified by the state.
What Questions Does the Temporary Resident Permit Application Form Ask?
Every single question on the TRP application form, Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada Form IMM 5708 "Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Visitor or Temporary Resident Permit Holder", must be properly completed or the applicant risks not being issued a T.R.P.
The very first question on the TRP application form (technically referred to as CIC IMM5708 form) asks if you are applying for
an extension of temporary resident status, a restoration of temporary resident status as a visitor, or an initial Temporary Resident Permit or Temporary Residence Permit extension. The form then asks: family name,
given name, nickname / maiden name / alias, sex, date of birth, place of birth (city and country), citizenship, current country of residence, previous countries of residence, marital status, current name of spouse
or common-law partner. Native language, if you're able to communicate in English or French, passport number, country of issue, issue date, expiry date, current mailing address, residential address, telephone number,
fax number, email address. Date and place of original entry to Canada, purpose for coming to Canada, date and place of your most recent entry into Canada, document numbers of your most recent Canadian Study Permit, Work Permit, Temporary Resident Permit,
or Visitor Record (if applicable). How long you plan to stay in Canada (and approximate entry and exit dates), funds available for stay (in Canadian dollars), who will pay for your expenses. Name, address, and relationship of any persons or institutions you will visit while
in Canada. Any post-secondary education you have received, including school or facility name, duration of training, and city and country where the studying took place. Detailed employment history from the past 10 years including occupations and employer names. Background information
including any physical or mental disorders which might require social or health services, or if you have any family members with tuberculosis. If you ever overstayed a previous visit to Canada, studied or worked here without authorization, been refused a visa, or been ordered to leave Canada. If
you have ever committed, been arrested for or been charged with or convicted of any criminal offense in any country, and if the answer is yes what the details are. If you have ever served in the military, or been a member of a security force, police force, or a violent political group.
The TRP Document Checklist contains an easy to understand list of everything that must be attached to the application form. This includes a photocopy of your current immigration document, two recent passport-sized photos, photocopy of your passport, photocopies of all your identity documents such as
citizenship certificates, alien registration cards, birth certificate, etc. It's also extremely important that you include a copy of all documents related to your criminal convictions, as well as evidence of action taken to resolve your inadmissibility (such as alcoholic anonymous or other counseling or rehabilitation programs).
Canadian immigration lawyers can assist with providing the evidence immigration officials are seeking in order to consider you
a changed man or women who doesn't pose a threat to society if allowed in Canada. It is also important that people do not confused the Temporary Resident Permit form with the Temporary Resident Visa application form as the two are completely different. People from non visa exempt countries who are searching "can I get into Canada with a DUI?" need to realize that most countries on earth don't share their criminal
database with Canada like the United States of America does. If you are living in the United States but are not an American citizen (you could be an international student or have a green card) you might not set off an alarm at the border but you are still technically inadmissible to Canada with DUI on record. While the rules for Canada entry DUI are the same for all foreigners, a non American's criminal history in their home nation won't be visible to border security. Many Americans who attempt to locate the TRP form on the CIC website end up finding the Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) form instead, which is not the proper form for inadmissible individuals from visa-exempt countries such as USA (both PDF documents are available on the CIC website). The instructions on the CIC website do not include a link to an actual form online and instead say "the visa office responsible for your country may have its own application form for temporary resident permits". When it comes
to government fees, if the offense constitutes non-serious criminality then the processing fee charged by the government for Criminal Rehabilitation is only 200 Canadian dollars or 185 US dollars (based on the 2015 exchange rate). If it constitutes serious criminality it can be $1000 CDN because the minister will need to review the case.
Does Retaining a Canada Immigration Lawyer Guarantee Success?
The only true guarantees in life are death and taxes. While Canada immigration lawyers
can help inadmissible individuals gain entry to Canada by preparing an effective application
under the circumstances, no legal professional has complete control of whether or not an individual
is successful in entering Canada. Several factors can come into play such as the interview process
with Customs or Consulate officials as well as complicating circumstances such as having been already denied at the border,
multiple DUIs or other criminal history, or a car accident causing personal injury or property damage; all of which are
ultimately up to the discretion of immigration officials.
This being said, a professionally prepared application by a qualified Canada immigration lawyer will increase the
possibility that an American with a DWI may visit Canada. While admission is never assured when
traveling internationally, qualified Canadian immigration lawyers can prepare an application that
will increase the chances of a successful result. No Canadian immigration law firm can guarantee success, however, and any
lawyer or consultant that promises you successful entry into Canada should not be trusted.
When selecting a legal professional to assist you, keep in mind that "Canadian immigration" is a
tremendously broad field of law and that many Canadian immigration lawyers may have actually
never worked on a Canada DUI entry application before. This is one of the many reasons why it’s
important to choose a legal professional who practices Canadian immigration law and has experience
in assisting Americans enter Canada with a DUI!
Does OB 389 Make It Easier to Visit Canada with a DUI?
Canada enacted temporary policy Operational Bulletin 389 beginning March 1, 2012 as part of their "Tourism Facilitation Action Plan" (TFAP).
OB 389 is a policy exemption that may allow some Americans into the country via a free one-time Temporary Resident Permit. While
receiving a TRP via the new legislation would save a U.S. traveler the normal $200 government fee, the criteria for getting approved for the permit
is still as strict as always. In order to be eligible for a TRP, "your need to enter or stay in Canada must outweigh the health or safety
risks to Canadian society, as determined by an immigration or a border services officer." OB 389 does not make it any easier to justify to
border agents why Canada should let you visit, but it can potentially make your trip cheaper if you're willing to gamble and apply for a permit
at the border.
There are inherent risks to applying for a TRP at the border instead of applying for one beforehand. First and foremost is the fact that
if your Temporary Resident Permit application is not approved, you will be denied entry to Canada. This can be remarkably shameful, and
can also result in mortifying ramifications for people traveling for their vocation. Missing an important meeting or business conference
in Canada, or not being able to fulfill employment duties in Canada can result in being fired from your job. If you are traveling with
family, being refused entry at the border can also render all family members traveling with you to be considered inadmissible to Canada
and denied from entering (this applies to a person's spouse or common-law partner, and any dependents). In an effort to mitigate these risks, many American travelers hire a Canadian immigration lawyer to
professionally prepare their TRP application. When possible, it's also advised to apply for a TRP prior to your intended date of travel
so that you know in advance that you will be permitted entry. If you live in Seattle, Detroit, Buffalo, or another US city that's extremely close to Canada, definitely consider applying for Criminal Rehabilitation in addition to a TRP if you are eligible. Since CR is permanent, you won't have to keep paying money every time you want to extend your permit, and you never have to worry about being approved for an extension either since it never expires.
Does It Matter Where in Canada You Intend to Travel?
Successfully entering Canada with DUI charges does not depend on where in Canada
you plan to visit, nor does it depend on your First Port of Arrival (FPOA). 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, however, it's important to retain
the services and legal advice of one who is licensed to practice in the province
you will be traveling to. Our Canadian immigration lawyer is licensed to
practice in Canada and can help people enter every province & territory in Canada including British Columbia
(BC), Alberta (AB), Saskatchewan (SK), Manitoba (MB), Ontario (ON), Quebec (QC),
New Brunswick (NB), Nova Scotia (NS), PEI (PE), Newfoundland (NL), Yukon (YT),
Northwest Territories (NT), and Nunavut (NU). This means the CanadaDUIEntryLaw.com team and our Canada immigration lawyer can help you with DUI travel to Canada regardless of your 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, or by cruise ship to
Vancouver or Halifax. For a complete list of USA-Canada border crossings, read our Canada Port of Entry guide.
If you're 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 with a lawyer. Our goal is to help make traveling to Canada with DUI as easy as