How do Pilots and Flight Attendants Travel to Canada with a DUI?
Any foreign national with a DUI/DWI arrest or conviction on their criminal record may be inadmissible to Canada without special permission from the government. This holds true
for airline staff as well, meaning that any pilot or flight attendant with a DUI must first overcome their criminal inadmissibility before they can work a route to Canada. There are two
ways to get official permission to enter Canada with a DUI; a Temporary Resident Permit allows an individual to visit Canada for a limited amount of time, and Criminal Rehabilitation enables
a person to overcome their criminal inadmissibility permanently. A Canada Temporary Resident Permit or TRP can be valid for multiple entries for up to three years, but is only a temporary solution.
Many airlines that regularly fly to Canada will not hire any flight staff that are not permitted entry into Canada since it can make scheduling more difficult, so getting a Canada TRP or Criminal Rehabilitation might
even be a prerequisite for getting hired if you have an arrest or conviction in your past. It does not matter if you will not be staying in Canada overnight, you are not even allowed to land in Canada if you have a DUI that makes you criminally inadmissible.
If you are arrested for drunk driving while employed as a flight attendant or pilot, it is extremely important to notify your company's Human Resources department immediately. Under 14 CFR 61.15, Pilots must also send a notification letter to the Security and Investigations Division of the FAA
within 60 days of any alcohol-related administrative action, such as an impaired driving arrest or driver's license suspension.
FAA medical certificate form 8500-8 "Application for Airman Medical" contains a provision that provides the regulation authority with express consent
to cross-reference their records with the National Driver Register (NDR), allowing them to independently confirm the accuracy of information reported by pilots.
When more than one Motor Vehicle Action (MVA) is properly reported by a pilot, all Part 61 certificates are suspended for 120 days. If all MVAs were not properly reported, the duration
of sanctions can increase.
After a DUI or DWI, a Pilot will typically be required by their employer to take a substance abuse assessment before returning to work. Flight attendants, on the other hand, will generally be permitted to continue working as normal but will no longer be scheduled for any flights to Canada. This is why it is crucial for any flight attendant that occasionally works Canadian routes to tell their employer as soon as they are arrested for DUI. You may be inadmissible to Canada as soon as the arrest occurs (no need for a conviction), and if you keep it a secret and are denied entry
to Canada while on the clock you will often end up in the unemployment line. For this reason, it is extremely important to ensure you will not have to travel to Canada until you can contact a Canadian immigration attorney and fix your situation. We have worked with many airline HR departments to help make a staff member admissible to Canada again, and their general policy is not to fire a flight attendant provided he or she can overcome their criminal inadmissibility to Canada in a reasonable amount of time. Once a flight attendant discloses their DUI to their employer, they
will typically only be assigned domestic routes until they are issued a Temporary Resident Permit and can travel internationally again.
Aircrew or flight crew are often members of the CANPASS Air expedited entry program, but even the eligibility of this program excludes
US residents who are not permitted entry into Canada because of an impaired driving conviction. If you have an expunged DUI, were arrested for DUI but found not guilty, or participated in a drunk driving diversion or conditional discharge program, it is
advisable to have a Canadian immigration lawyer write a legal letter of opinion explaining to border agents exactly why you are admissible to the country despite the initial arrest appearing on your record. If you are still participating in the conditional discharge or diversion program, however, you can still be considered inadmissible to Canada and may need a TRP. Individuals
who plead a DWI down to a lesser charge such as reckless driving can also be denied entry at the Canadian border without a Temporary Resident Permit. It is your duty to be able to justify your admission into the country, and if
immigration officials at the border notice your original arrest they will likely ask about it. With your job on the line, it is always best to be extra prudent when it comes to Canada DUI entry.
Private Jet Flight Crew
Private jet companies such as NetJets allow clients to charter a plane from any city in the United States to any destination in North America in as little as four to six hours. If a client charters a plane to Canada, the private jet's entire aircrew must be admissible to Canada otherwise there is a major problem. For this reason, American private aircraft charter companies such as NetJets generally require all their pilots and flight attendants to be admissible to Canada.
Qualifying for Flight Attendant Jobs with a DUI
Before most US airlines will hire a flight attendant with a criminal record for DUI or DWI, the candidate must be able to prove that they have unfettered access to Canada. In order to do so, a candidate may first have to apply for special permission to cross the border with a DUI via a Canada Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation (CR), both of which will allow him or her to overcome their criminal inadmissibility and enter Canada. In situations such as this, it is
common for a person to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit even though they do not yet officially have a job that requires them to cross the border. As long as the person is actively applying for flight attendant jobs, however, it is typically seen as a valid reason for applying for a TRP or CR. In situations where a person is in a rush to be granted permission to travel to Canada with a DUI, it may be possible to
employ a strategy called "flagpoling." Using this procedure, an individual can get approved for DUI Canada entry extremely fast via a Point of Entry Temporary Resident Permit application. This technique is particularly popular amongst candidates who need to start their initial flight attendant training school soon, but first need to fix their Canadian criminal inadmissibility issue. It is also commonly used by flight staff that regularly work flights to Canada and need to overcome their ineligibility quickly.
If you are a flight attendant or pilot who needs to fly to Canada for work, but you have a DWI or DUI, phone our team today for a free consultation.