Canada with DUI

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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).

Flying to Canada from Australia with a Drink Driving

All foreign nationals except US citizens now need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to board an airplane destined for Canada. This requirement has made it much more difficult for people from Australia, New Zealand, and other visa-exempt countries to fly to Canada with an impaired driving arrest or other criminal history. Previously, Australians could sometimes get away with going to Canada with a drink driving offence since there was no pre-screening process in place. The Canada eTA application requires your passport number and address, however, which allows Canadian immigration authorities to properly pre-screen you before giving you permission to fly there. The Government of Canada is basically trying to block inadmissible visitors from flying to their country, so they are not stuck denying them entry upon arrival (we have spoken to a few Australians who were flown home immediately after landing in Canada which was obviously not a fun experience for them).

A DUI is now a serious crime in Canada punishable by up to ten years in jail, so even a single low range or mid range drink driving violation can render an Australian citizen criminally inadmissible to Canada for life. Inadmissibility caused by a drink driving offence also renders a person ineligible for all Canadian immigration programs including a Working Holiday Visa (IEC Visa). It is possible to gain access to Canada with a drink driving ticket by filing paperwork with the Canadian Government to convince them you will never reoffend and are safe to let in. Live in Australia and worried you may be criminally inadmissible to Canada due to an arrest for driving after drinking alcohol? Contact our Canadian immigration law firm today for a free consultation. Even if you have already booked and paid for a non-refundable flight to Canada, if you are not approved for a Canada eTA you will not be allowed onto the airplane!

How to Visit Canada with an Australian DUI

Australian citizens who are criminally inadmissible to Canada because of a drink drive offence can obtain permission to enter the country in two ways. The first method is to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), which can enable a citizen of Australia to overcome his or her Canadian criminal inadmissibility for up to three years. The second method is to attain Criminal Rehabilitation, which enables an Australian to permanently overcome their inadmissibility and have access to Canada for life. It takes about 6 to 12 months to successfully obtain Canadian Rehabilitation, however, so many Australians with a drink driving ticket end up applying for a Temporary Resident Permit which can be obtained much quicker. In order to be eligible to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation, a person must have completed their entire sentence including license suspension a minimum of five years prior.

Entering Canada with a Criminal Record from Australia

In addition to driving under the influence of alcohol (drink driving), driving under the influence of drugs (drug driving), and driving on a suspended license, many other criminal arrests or convictions can prevent Australians from visiting Canada. Illegal drug possession, assault, theft, fraud, and domestic violence are examples of other crimes that can render an Australian inadmissible to Canada. If you have already been denied a Canada eTA, you may reapply once your situation has "changed substantively". Consequently, most Australians who have been refused a Canada eTA due to criminality may apply for a new one once they have been issued a Canada TRP or approved for Rehabilitation.

Residents of Australia who wish to petition the Canadian Government for special permission to fly to Canada with a DUI can submit their application to the appropriate visa office in Sydney, New South Wales. Australians who retain the services of our immigration lawyer will not need to stress about such details, however, as we will submit the application directly to the correct Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) office on their behalf.

Immigration to Canada from Australia with a DUI

A criminal history, including for non-violent offences such as intoxicated driving, can render an Australian criminally inadmissible to Canada and therefore ineligible for all Canadian immigration programs. If you are interested in moving to Canada for any reason, including for a working holiday or to live with your spouse or partner, you must first overcome any criminal inadmissibility that exists. For example, if you plan to spend a season in Whistler or Banff but have a mid range drink driving offence in New South Wales (NSW) or Queensland (QLD), you will likely need to file paperwork to convince the Government of Canada that you are safe before you will ever be approved for a Working Holiday Visa.

In the goal is to get a Canadian Working Holiday Visa with a DWI history, the TRP issued should cover the entire duration of the Working Holiday Visa requested. If you are eligible for permanent access to Canada and not in a rush to travel, applying for Rehabilitation would be recommended over a TRP. The Criminal Rehabilitation application requires all Australians to provide a certificate from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), and drink drive offenders should also include a copy of their provincial driving record. Residents of New Zealand who wish to immigrate to Canada must sign a "Consent to Disclosure of Information" form that gives permission for their full criminal record to be released to the Canadian Government. In order to become a Permanent Resident of Canada via Spousal Sponsorship or any other immigration channel, any inadmissibility must be permanently overcome via Rehabilitation (a TRP will not cover an Australian for permanent immigration to Canada since it is only temporary).

Flying to Canada with NZ Drink Driving

Similar to a drink driving offence in Australia, drink driving charges in New Zealand can also prevent a person from visiting or working in Canada. For example, a drunk in charge (DIC) or excessive breath alcohol (EBA) from NZ can prevent the offender from being allowed to fly into Canada, and can result in the denial of their Working Holiday Visa application.

Low Range PCA vs. Mid Range PCA vs. High Range PCA

Upon providing a breath test or blood result in excess of the Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (PCA) limits set by Australian police, a person may be issued an immediate driver's license suspension, a penalty notice, and a Court Attendance Notice (CAN). The range of the offence can have a substantial impact on the drink driver's punishment, as well as his or her admissibility under Canadian law.

A mid range drink driving offence will typically equate to a standard DUI in Canada, where an illegal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08%.

Depending on the exact situation, a high range drink driving offence could be considered an "aggravated" DUI in Canada. This could make it harder to obtain special permission to travel there, as inebriated or drunk driving obviously looks worse than driving slightly over the limit.

While a low range drink driving offence is often problematic when visiting Canada or applying for a Working Holiday Visa (WHV), if the offender's Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was below 0.08% there could be a potential argument the offence should not equate to a full DUI conviction in Canada. The onus is always on the traveler or immigration applicant to prove their own admissibility, however, so such an argument would typically require a police report indicating there was absolutely no visible impairment. If the police note any signs of possible impairment, the Government of Canada will likely consider the traffic violation to be equivalent to a full DUI conviction on their soil even if the BAC was only 0.05%. This is because driving while impaired is a crime in Canada, regardless of exactly how much alcohol the person drank (blood alcohol level is simply an indication of intoxication). In general, if an individual with a low range PCA in Australia does not provide Immigration Canada with sufficient police and court documentation, the offence will be treated like a full DUI conviction.

Questions about going to Canada from Australia with a drink driving incident? Contact our team today for a free consultation.

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