Canada with DUI

Need Help Entering Canada with a DUI?

Call Toll-Free Within North America

DUI Canada entry

Canadian immigration lawyer focused on Canada DUI entry from USA. We offer free comprehensive consultations (unlike most companies who demand a retainer before assessing your options).

Am I Criminally Inadmissible to Canada Because of My DUI?

Criminal activity does not need to involve moral turpitude to render an American excludable at the Canadian border. The seriousness of the crime in the location it occurred also does not matter, it is the seriousness and maximum punishment of the relevant crime in Canada that is considered. It is important to understand that a misdemeanor in the United States does not always equate to a summary offense in Canada, and a US felony is not always the equivalent of a Canadian indictable offense.

Possession of marijuana for personal use can be considered a felony in some states, for example, but often such a conviction does not even equate to a crime in Canada and hence does not cause issues when entering the country. When it comes to impaired driving, however, even if the offense is a misdemeanor conviction or a traffic violation it can cause a visitor to be denied entry by Canada's border agents. This is because a DUI is a serious crime in Canada that can result in the offender being incarcerated for up to ten years. A traveler with a pending criminal charge can also be considered inadmissible to Canada on grounds of criminality, which means even a drunk driving arrest with no subsequent conviction can produce issues when trying to visit Canada.

Determining Admissibility

Under Canadian immigration legislation, crimes in the United States that can be equated to a dual procedure offense in Canada (hybrid offense) will be treated as indictable. This means that a crime that could be considered potentially serious in Canada, such as a DUI or DWI, will be treated as a serious crime at the border. People often wonder if a DUI is a felony in Canada, and the real answer is that it could be and as a result the border essentially treats any such conviction like one. Consequently, an American with a past DUI, DWI, OUI, OVI, DWAI, OWI, or other drinking and driving related offense will often need to file paperwork to convince the Canadian Government they are safe in order to avoid the risk of a border denial.

There are two ways to resolve criminal inadmissibility according to Canadian law. Criminal Rehabilitation (CR) is an option once five years have passed since the end of the sentence imposed, and is a permanent fix. Before this time, a Canadian waiver called a Temporary Resident Permit or TRP can allow a person to overcome their inadmissibility and enter Canada with a DUI for an important reason such as business.

Even if a driving under the influence charge is reduced to reckless driving it still equates to a potentially serious crime and can render a person inadmissible to Canada. If an American has a single offense and all sentencing was concluded more than ten years ago, they could be "deemed rehabilitated" and allowed back into Canada because of the passage of time. The laws changed in December 2018 and now a DUI is considered too severe to qualify for Deemed Rehabilitation. A visitor with one DUI from decades ago may still be able to enter, however, as offenses that transpired before the laws were updated can be "grandfathered in" under the old rules. Here is our full guide on going to Canada with a DWI that is more than ten years old.

If you have a DUI or other criminal history that renders you inadmissible according to Canadian law, and you are considering requesting special permission to cross the border, it is advisable to consulate with an experience Canadian immigration attorney about your situation and available options. A Criminal Rehabilitation lawyer can help with the process, optimizing their client's application for success by accounting for the many intricacies involved in the legal process.

One of the reasons why many people retain the professional services of a Temporary Resident Permit lawyer is because they need help equating foreign offenses to the Canadian Criminal Code. Determining how the language of a US State law likens to Canadian Acts of Parliament can be unduly onerous. Is the foreign statute more broad or narrow than the Canadian equivalent? Is the substance of the core offense the same? The decision to grant a foreign national special access or admission in the form of Criminal Rehabilitation or a Temporary Resident Permit is never taken lightly, and Canadian immigration officials expect CR and TRP applications to be high quality.

A Canadian immigration attorney with experience handling admissibility issues can also provide Legal Opinion Letters in cases where an American's admissibility to Canada is unclear. For example, a person with a misdemeanor DUI charge that resulted in a negligent driving or "neg 1" conviction may be worried that border agents will consider them criminally inadmissible to Canada. A person with a zero-tolerance "Under 21" DUI may also be concerned about a Canadian border refusal due to possible criminal inadmissibility. The onus is always on a visitor to be able to prove their admissibility to Canada if challenged, so any American with a past arrest should be adequately prepared if they plan to drive or fly to Canada.

Questions about admissibility to Canada? Concerned your DUI may prevent you from visiting the country? Call our team now for a complimentary consultation!

How Can We Help?

If you have a DUI arrest or conviction on your record and need to enter Canada, call us now or fill out this form! 24 Hour Response Time!