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).

How to Get into Canada with a DUI

Entering Canada from USA with a drunk driving arrest or conviction may only be possible if you have received special entry permission from the Canadian Government. This is because any foreign national that has a criminal record for DWI or DUI may be considered "criminally inadmissible" and denied entry by Canadian border security, even if the offense happened more than ten years ago. Furthermore, there is no presumption of innocence when it comes to international travel, so as soon as an individual is arrested for a crime they can become ineligible to enter Canada from the United States even though they have not yet been convicted of anything.

Impaired driving is now considered a serious criminal offense in Canada punishable by up to a decade in prison. Consequently, even a single DUI conviction from long in the past can cause an American to be refused admittance at Canada's border unless they have acquired special permission for visiting. How does a US citizen obtain permission to travel to Canada with a DUI? They can apply for Criminal Rehabilitation, which is a permanent solution that can allow an American with a DUI to visit as often as they wish, or a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), which is a Canada entry waiver that can overcome inadmissibility for up to three years but requires an applicant to have a good reason for traveling.

Once a person has achieved Criminal Rehabilitation, entering Canada from the US with an impaired driving record should never be a problem again. Rehabilitation is permanent, which is awesome, but it can take almost a year to receive and is only possible for individuals who completed probation and all other sentencing requirements a minimum of five years ago. A Temporary Resident Permit is an interim solution that can enable a visitor to cross the border with a DUI for a period of time, but eventually the waiver will expire. TRPs can be obtained hastily, but require a valid reason for travel such as work / business. Canadian Criminal Rehabilitation is extremely popular among tourists, and for those who are eligible it is generally preferable over a TRP.

In addition to driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while impaired (DWI), there are a variety of other offenses related to operating a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol that can pose a roadblock at the Canadian border. This includes OVI, OUI, OWI, dangerous driving, wet reckless, careless driving, reckless operation, and negligent driving. Civil DUI violations such as OWI in Wisconsin, DWAI in New York, and DWI in New Jersey, can also render a US citizen criminally inadmissible to Canada despite being considered traffic tickets not criminal convictions.

Want to learn more about how to enter Canada with a DUI? Contact our team now for a free consultation.

Entering Canada from US with DUI

If you are reading this, you are likely wondering how to enter Canada from US with DWI or DUI appearing on your criminal record. The first step is to understand whether or not you are inadmissible to the country in the first place. Any alcohol-related impaired driving charge including DUI, DWI, OVI, OWI, DWAI, civil DUIs, and wet reckless driving could render a person criminally inadmissible to Canada since the equivalent law north of the border is potentially an indictable offense (similar to an American felony). If you were charged with driving drunk but never convicted, a Canadian immigration lawyer should be consulted regarding your admissibility.

If you only have one misdemeanor DUI on your criminal record and it is ancient, you may be allowed into Canada without requesting special permission to cross the border. If the offense occurred before December 2018 (when intoxicated driving became a major crime in Canada), and you finished your entire sentence including probation and payment of all fines and restitution at least ten years ago, you could be considered "deemed rehabilitated by virtue of time" and allowed to cross the border again. Due to Canada's tough new DUI laws, Deemed Rehabilitation is no longer a possibility for intoxicated driving offenses and such convictions can now render an American criminally inadmissible to Canada for life. Grandfathering may be possible for Americans who committed an offense before the laws changed, however, although it is advisable to always consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer before ever attempting to enter the country.

If a DUI incident took place in the USA after Canada toughened their drunk driving laws, or you have more than one DUI or DWI in your past, you may always risk being refused entry into Canada without special entrance permission. If you are stuck wondering can I get into Canada with my DUI and are looking for advice, it is advisable to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer. How to enter Canada can vary depending on a person's unique situation, and the path of least resistance is different for different people.

Want more information on how to travel to Canada with a DUI? Contact our legal team today for a free consultation!

Options for How to Visit Canada with DUI

For criminally inadmissible persons wondering how to enter Canada with a DUI, the next step is to apply to the Canadian Government for access to the country. You can do this by sending a completed Temporary Resident Permit or Criminal Rehabilitation application to the appropriate Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada office or Canadian visa office (there is one in Los Angeles and one in New York). You can also present an expedited Temporary Resident Permit application at the Canadian border for an instant decision if you need to get into the country immediately due to an emergency. This is obviously risky as there is no guarantee of approval, so unless an American citizen needs to urgently enter Canada with a misdemeanor it is best to deal with a consulate.

Once you are issued a TRP or receive Canada Criminal Rehabilitation, you will be able to fly or drive into the country from the United States without your drunk driving charge causing a controversy at the border. If your driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of alcohol charge was amended down to a lesser charge such as reckless endangerment, reckless driving, or negligent driving, it may be advisable to consult with an attorney about your admissibility to Canada before attempting to apply for special permission to cross the border.

Even a "dry" reckless driving or dangerous driving charge with no mention of alcohol or impairment can be equivalent to dangerous operation in Canada, which is now a serious crime. Consequently, such a conviction could still put the offender at risk of a getting refused admittance unless they learn how to enter Canada from USA with a DUI arrest history. This being said, there are a few DUI reductions in the United States that may not necessarily render a person inadmissible. One is example is DWI reduced to misdemeanor Obstruction of a Highway in Texas. Another is DUI reduced to a misdemeanor negligent driving or "Neg 1" in Washington State. It is also possible for an expunged DUI conviction in California to equate favorably to Canadian law, although it will still be visible at the border. Consequently, it may to smart to consult a Canadian immigration lawyer about your situation before spending hours researching how to go to Canada with a DUI as an American.

If you are interested in working or studying in Canada, criminal inadmissibility can impede eligibility for Canadian work permit applications and student visas. It can also prevent a citizen of the United States from obtaining Canadian PR via Spousal Sponsorship or Express Entry. Consequently, DUI Canada immigration often requires Rehabilitation or a TRP similar to crossing the Canadian border for business or leisure. In addition to impaired driving events, misdemeanor and felony arrests or convictions related to illegal drug possession, assault (including domestic violence), theft, and fraud can also prevent an American from freely crossing the Canadian border.

Questions about how to travel to Canada with a DUI? Trying to figure out how to apply for permission to go to Canada with a DWI from the United States? Phone our law office today for a no-cost confidential discussion!

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