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).

Can I Enter Canada with a DUI?

Thousands of US citizens travel to Canada every day, so it is common for a person with a driving history to wonder: can I enter Canada if I have a DUI? In the Great White North, drinking and driving is a serious crime that can be punished by up to a decade in prison. As a result of such offenses being viewed almost like a felony, even a single DUI can render an individual criminally inadmissible to Canada forever and cause them to be denied admittance. Americans interested in entering Canada with a DUI or DWI can apply for special entry permission from the Canadian Federal Government.

So I Can Enter Canada with DUI?

An American can enter Canada with DUI by obtaining an official waiver or pardon from Immigration Canada. If a foreign national fails to acquire such permission, however, trying to enter Canada with a DUI or similar offense will frequently result in a denial at the border. According to statistics from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), tens of thousands of Americans get denied entry each year.

How to Enter Canada with a DUI

If a US citizen wants to enter Canada with DUI appearing on their background check, there are two avenues he or she can pursue to avoid the potential of being denied entrance due to their driving incident.

Temporary Waiver - entering Canada with a DWI is possible for an American if they apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) and are approved. It is possible to request a TRP for a single entry, or for several entries, but an applicant must provide evidence of an important reason for wanting to enter and must justify the duration requested. A TRP will eventually expire, and has a maximum validity of three years.

Permanent Pardon - If a US citizen wishes to have the ability to freely enter Canada with a DWI whenever they want, they can permanently overcome their inadmissibility by getting approved for Criminal Rehabilitation. Canadian Rehabilitation applications can take a significant amount of time to be processed, so some applicants still apply for a TRP as well. Not everyone is eligible to apply for Rehabilitation; in order to qualify an individual must have finished all court-imposed sentencing requirements a minimum of five years prior.

Wondering if your DUI will prevent you from entering Canada? Questions about your unique situation? Contact our Canadian immigration law firm now for a free consultation!

Can I Ever Enter Canada with a DUI Without a Waiver or Pardon?

North of the border, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a hybrid offense, which can be prosecuted by indictment (similar to a felony in the United States). This is why a misdemeanor DUI or DWI from the USA can render the offender inadmissible to Canada. When a person is criminally inadmissible, however, it is not a guarantee they will be denied entry. Canadian border patrol can easily flag a person with a criminal record from USA because the FBI gives them access to such information, but the border officer is ultimately the one who decides who is allowed to enter and who is not.

With DUI being considered a serious crime in Canada, a person who has been convicted of such an offense will likely have a substantial chance of being refused entrance. This being said, occasionally a person can enter Canada with a DUI without getting approved for a TRP or Rehabilitation. While a drunk driving incident such as DUI, DWI, DWAI, OVI, or OWI can put a traveler at significant risk of getting blocked at Canada's border, the final decision is always at the full discretion of border authorities. Since attempting to enter without a waiver or pardon can be extremely risky, most people who are inadmissible and want to enter Canada with DUI charges apply for special entry permission. Even a DUI arrest reduced to a reckless driving, physical control, or even a traffic infraction can still be problematic when trying to enter Canada.

Can You Enter Canada with a DUI From Long Ago?

If a United States citizen has only one drinking and driving incident in their past, and zero other arrests, entering Canada might be possible if they have evidence that all sentencing was completed a minimum of a decade prior. Automatic Deemed Rehabilitation after ten years is no longer possible because a DUI is now too serious in Canada, but entering Canada with an intoxicated driving conviction that happened before their laws change may still be possible if enough time has passed. Before trying to enter Canada with DWI appearing on your driving record, however, is it advisable to discuss your admissibility with a qualified professional.

Can I Enter Canada with a DUI Reduced to Wet Reckless?

In many jurisdictions, it is possible for a DUI charge to get reduced. In California, for example, it the driver has no priors it is common for a DUI arrest to result in a misdemeanor conviction for wet reckless. This leads to the question: can you enter Canada if you have a DUI charge that was reduced?

When determining admissibility, it is the equivalent crime in Canada that counts. Consequently, majority of alcohol-related driving offenses in the United States can be a potential problem when entering Canada. This including driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving while ability impaired (DWAI), operating vehicle under the influence (OVI), operating while impaired (OWI), and wet reckless driving. Even if the final outcome was considered a civil traffic violation instead of a criminal conviction, if Canada believes it would equate to a DUI in their country it can be an issue when attempting to enter.

Thanks to Canada's tough "Dangerous Operation" statute, even if there final conviction does not mention intoxication or impairment it can still be an excludable crime. For example: dangerous driving or dry reckless driving (with no alcohol involved) can still result of a traveler being denied entry by Canada. If a charge was dismissed via diversion, successfully deferred, or was expunged or set aside, it might be possible to argue it should equate to a non-conviction in Canada but an experienced lawyer should always be consulted before you attempt to cross the border.

Want to know if you can enter Canada with a DUI arrest in your past? Worried about having your entrance denied? Our legal team would be happy to answer all your questions!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Can Americans visit Canada with reckless driving record?
Can you travel to Canada if you have a DWI?
Can I enter Canada with a DUI after 10 years?
Can I visit Canada if I have a DWI?
Can you get into Canada if you have a DWI?

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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!