Can You Travel to British Columbia from Washington State with a DUI?
If you live in Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver WA, Bellevue, Everett, or any other city in Washington State, chances are you have either visited Canada before or are considering going to the country at some point in the future. British Columbia is a beautiful province that makes for a great tourist destination, and being situated right next door to Washington State it is also an extremely convenient destination for WA residents to visit. Vancouver BC is one of the most scenic cities on earth, Whistler BC has some of the best skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling around, and the BC interior has exceptional hiking, hunting,
and fishing. Whether you are traveling by ferry to Victoria BC for leisure, or by car to Vancouver BC for work, if you have a DUI conviction on your criminal record you may be inadmissible to Canada and could be refused entry at the border.
The Canadian border can access the criminal record of every American, and even a first-time DUI plead down to a lesser charge such as Reckless Driving can result in a person being denied entry to Canada. It does not matter if you drive to Canada and cross one of the popular Washington State-British Columbia land borders such as Peace Arch, Blaine-Surrey, Lynden-Aldergrove, or Sumas-Huntingdon, or fly into Vancouver International Airport; if you have a drunk driving record you may
need special permission from the government in order to be permitted entry. This official permission comes in the form of a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), which is a document that allows a non-admissible foreign national to enter Canada for a fixed amount of time. Temporary Resident Permits can be issued for as long as three years, and there is also a permanent solution called Criminal Rehabilitation that can enable someone to overcome criminal inadmissibility to Canada for life.
Over the years, The Seattle Times has published numerous news stories about US residents being denied entry to Canada while on an Alaskan cruise ship anchored in Vancouver Island. Even the National Geographic Channel's television show "Border Security: Canada's Front Line" had an episode in which US residents sailing from the Puget Sound region of Washington State through Canadian waters on their way to Anchorage Alaska were stopped by Canadian border security on a boat and sent back home because of criminal ineligibility. Canada takes drinking and driving offenses very seriously, and without a Temporary Resident Permit or Canadian Rehabilitation crossing the border with a DUI can lead to problems. A WA DUI can cause
issues at the Canadian border if it is not properly overcome, so if you have any Washington state alcohol-related driving violations in your past it is always smart to confirm admissibility before your date of travel.
If you reside in Washington State and are interested in going to British Columbia but have a DUI/DWI arrest or conviction on your record, phone us today for a free consultation!