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).

Can I Move to Canada with a DUI?

There are a variety of reasons why an American may want to move to Canada. They could be in love with a Canadian, have a new job opportunity north of the border, or perhaps just want a fresh start in life in a brand-new country. If a US citizen has a past conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol, however, he or she may be classified as criminally inadmissible and blocked from immigrating to or even visiting Canada. This is because drunk driving is a serious crime in Canada punishable by up to ten years behind bars, so the nation essentially views a DUI, DWI, OVI, OWI, DWAI, OUI, or wet reckless like a felony.

If an American has a criminal history for DUI that renders him or her inadmissible, and they plan to eventually move to Canada, they can file special paperwork with the Canadian Government in an effort to resolve their inadmissibility. If all sentencing including loss of driver's license and probation was finished at least five years ago, a USA citizen can apply for Criminal Rehabilitation which can permanently resolve inadmissibility to Canada. This involves convincing Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that you are safe and will never reoffend. If a person is approved for Criminal Rehabilitation, their past DUI or other criminal history in the United States will no longer prevent them from crossing the Canadian border. If the person's goal is to move to Canada, once granted Rehabilitation their past offenses will also no longer inhibit their ability to immigrate to the country through Spousal Sponsorship, Express Entry, or any other Canadian immigration channel.

Want to move to Canada but have a DUI? Contact our legal team today for a free consultation!

Can I Move to Canada If I Have a DUI Charge Pending?

According to Canadian immigration law, a pending misdemeanor or felony charge is treated as "under indictment". Consequently, if an individual is arrested for DUI, the offense may forbid them from moving to Canada unless the person has evidence of a favorable outcome such as being found not guilty or the charge being dropped by the prosecutor. The paperwork involved in permanently moving to Canada from USA includes a recent FBI background check, which will typically display an American's entire criminal history including both adult and juvenile offenses. If any arrest or charge appears on a person's FBI Identity History Summary that would possibly equate to a serious crime above the border, the applicant may not be approved to move to Canada as a Permanent Resident unless they can prove the offense is equivalent to a non-conviction. Without evidence of a dismissal or other positive result, a foreign national with an arrest record in the United States may need to obtain Canadian Rehabilitation before being eligible to move there.

Can You Move to Canada with a DUI From Long Ago?

Drinking and driving is now a serious crime in Canada that can render a foreign national inadmissible to the country for life. Canada's DUI laws were not always so severe, however, and IRCC and CBSA authorities evaluate a person's admissibility based on how the law stood at the time of the incident. For this reason, a US citizen that has a single misdemeanor DUI or DWI that is very old may be "grandfathered in" under the old rules and considered deemed rehabilitated by the passage of time. If applying to move to Canada, the onus is always on an applicant to prove their admissibility. Thus, an individual with an old DUI in the US may need to provide evidence of their eligibility for grandfathered Deemed Rehabilitation. If a person has more than one DUI conviction, Deemed Rehabilitation will likely not be an option and applying for Criminal Rehabilitation may be needed if the person wishes to move to Canada.

Best Way to Move to Canada

There is no "best way" for an American to move to Canada, as different immigration routes are more applicable to different people. For example, if a US citizen is in a relationship with a Canadian man or woman, getting sponsored for Permanent Residency (PR) via Spousal Sponsorship may be their best avenue for moving to Canada. On the other hand, a highly educated American may have a very competitive profile score in Express Entry, so that may be their most effective route for immigrating to Canada. Some people are not interested in Canadian PR, and simply dream of living in Canada on a Work Permit or Study Permit. Regardless of how a person plans to move to Canada, if they have a criminal record for impaired driving they may first need to overcome inadmissibility before being eligible for immigration.

Moving to Canada with Expungement

Depending on where in America a crime transpired, it may be possible to have the conviction expunged if enough time has gone by. For example, a misdemeanor DUI or wet reckless driving conviction in California can typically be expunged upon completion of probation. In some cases, an expunged misdemeanor or felony can be equivalent to a Record Suspension in Canada, which is not a conviction. In such a case, the offense may not prevent a person from being able to move to Ontario, British Columbia, or any other part of Canada. This being said, even after you expunge a DUI conviction it still appears in the FBI NCIC database which is queried when moving to Canada. Consequently, a person that wants to live in Canada will often need to adequately address any expunged convictions as part of the immigration process. Sealing your record will normally not make it any easier to move to Canada, and even after an intoxicated driving record is sealed it will still be visible to IRCC authorities.

Questions about moving to Canada with a DUI conviction? Contact our team now!

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