Canada with DUI

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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).

How Does a DUI Affect Canada Immigration?

Canada is one of the most admired countries in the world, and more than 200,000 people immigrate to the nation each year. If you have a past criminal record such as a DUI, however, you may be considered criminally inadmissible to Canada which can impede your eligibility across every single Canadian immigration program. Consequently, foreign nationals who are inadmissible to Canada due to a criminal record may not be eligible for a Canadian Work Permit or Study Permit, and may not be able to immigrate to Canada in any way including as a Foreign Skilled Worker (Express Entry) or as a family member or spouse of a Canadian citizen (Family Sponsorship or Spousal Sponsorship).

A DUI is now a serious crime in Canada punishable by up to ten years in jail, so even a single conviction for driving impaired from many years ago can block you from moving to Canada. If you are interested in immigration to Canada but are inadmissible to the country due to criminality, the first thing you need to do is to overcome your inadmissibility. This can be done through a process known as Criminal Rehabilitation. Canada Rehabilitation is a permanent solution that can fix a person's admissibility issues forever. Canadian Criminal Rehabilitation involves a processing time of approximately 6 to 12 months, and in order to be eligible your full sentence must have been completed more than five years prior to application submission.

Once a person has successfully overcome their criminal inadmissibility issues, they are free to participate in the Canadian immigration process as if they never had a criminal record to begin with. In addition to DUI and DWI, other criminal convictions that can stop someone from being allowed to move to Canada include reckless driving (both wet reckless and dry reckless), domestic violence, and possession of a controlled substance. Even civil violations for impaired driving, such as a New York DWAI, can prevent a person from becoming a Canadian Permanent Resident despite being a traffic ticket not a misdemeanor conviction.

Criminal inadmissibility can also be overcome with a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), which can enable a foreigner with a criminal record to become admissible to Canada for as long as three years provided they have a valid reason for entering the country such as a qualifying job offer (Work Permit) or acceptance at a university in Canada (Student Permit). While a Canadian TRP can be tremendously effective when moving to the country temporarily, depending on the circumstances it is typically not be enough to make a prospective immigrant eligible for permanent immigration via Express Entry, spouse sponsorship, or various other Canadian immigration pathways. For this reason, any criminally inadmissible person interested in immigrating to Canada who is eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation should pursue it over a temporary waiver. Since obtaining Permanent Residency (PR) in Canada can be permanent, a temporary solution will not be acceptable.

DUI Canada Immigration

There is no presumption of innocence when it comes to immigration to Canada, which means that a criminal arrest without a subsequent conviction can still cause a problem when attempting to immigrate. Being arrested or convicted of a crime while in possession of a valid Canada PR Card, Work Permit, or Study Permit can also lead to potential problems if you leave the country and need to re-enter. For example, an American with a valid Canadian Work Permit who gets charged with drunk driving while back in the United States may be denied at the border while attempting to return to work. Being arrested during the Canadian immigration process can also lead to problems with your Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) application. For example, a citizen of China who has already submitted an Express Entry application so he or she can move to Canada may be denied Permanent Residency if they have since been arrested or convicted of a crime.

As part of the Canada Permanent Resident Visa application process, applicants who have lived in USA must include an original FBI Police Certificate in order to clear IRCC's required security clearance. If you have a past criminal conviction or arrest that may appear on this document, you could be criminally inadmissible to Canada and have your Permanent Residency (PR) application denied unless you have overcome this inadmissibility. Even expunged convictions show up on an FBI report. For example, a citizen of India living in USA on an H-1B Visa who had a DUI or wet reckless conviction in California but then obtained an expungement, may be surprised to learn that the offense likely still appears on their FBI check despite him or her expunging it. Canadian Rehabilitation is highly recommended compared to a Temporary Resident Permit for eligible parties who are interested in Canadian immigration but have a criminal record since it is a permanent solution and never needs to be renewed. In general, it is not possible to obtain permanent status in Canada with just a TRP, since it is only a temporary solution to inadmissibility.

If you want to move to Canada but you have a criminal record, the process to overcome criminal inadmissibility for Canadian immigration is no different than the process to overcome it for criminal entry into Canada. In addition to the streamlined application for Criminal Rehabilitation, it is possible for a person to become automatically classified as Rehabilitated if their crime was minor enough and it has been more than ten years since he or she finished all related sentencing requirements including probation.

Have questions about immigration to Canada with a criminal past? Call us today for a FREE consultation with our Canadian immigration lawyer.

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