DUI Convictions

Can I enter Canada with a DUI conviction? Having a DUI conviction can make it more challenging to enter Canada, however, you may still be able to enter Canada with a DUI conviction by applying for a temporary resident permit (TRP) or criminal rehabilitation.

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A DUI, DWI, or reckless driving charge from years in the past may mean you’re criminally inadmissible to Canada. Even if a DUI conviction is from several years in the past, it can still affect a person’s ability to enter or travel to Canada. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome inadmissibility and enter Canada with a DUI. If you are unable to overcome your inadmissibility, you may still be eligible to visit Canada.

DUI convictions and criminal inadmissibility

Inadmissibility is an immigration issue that essentially means a person is banned from entering Canada. The most common reason a person is inadmissible to Canada is if they are thought to be a danger to public safety in Canada.

Inadmissibility can cause headaches at the border for business travellers and people who have offenses on their record from many years in the past. This includes drunk driving offenses like DUIs.

For an offense to make a person inadmissible, there must be an equivalent law in Canada to the one committed in another country. For DUIs the equivalent law is found in Section 253 of the Criminal Code of Canada

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving convictions are equivalent to a charge of “Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle” under the Canadian criminal code. Because this is a hybrid offence, equivalent convictions in other countries can make a person inadmissible to Canada. If you have a reckless driving charge on your record, then you should take the same precautions as if you had a DUI charge when planning a trip to Canada.

Excessive Speed

In Canada, a charge of excessive speed can also fall under the dangerous operation law if the offence presents a significant enough threat to public safety. If a charge or conviction of excessive speeding in a foreign country is found by border officers to be equivalent to the Canadian law, then criminal inadmissibility will apply.

DUI Canada Entry Eligibility, Is it Possible to Enter Canada with a DUI?

Depending on when you completed the sentence for your DUI, you may be eligible to come to Canada either permanently through criminal rehabilitation, or temporarily by obtaining a temporary resident permit (TRP).

Staying in Canada with a DUI

To come to Canada with a criminal DUI record long-term, you will need to first be deemed criminally rehabilitated. Criminal Rehabilitation wipes your criminal record clean for Canadian immigration purposes. If five years or more have passed since you completed your sentence, you can apply for Criminal Rehabilitation. In this application, you must show that you have turned your life around and are unlikely to commit another offense.

It may be possible that you do not need to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation. If at least ten years have passed since completing your sentence, and you only have one DUI conviction, you may be deemed rehabilitated. This means that your record has been cleared by the passage of time. If this case applies to you, it may be in your best interest to get a legal opinion letter from a Canadian immigration lawyer to give border officers proof that you are not inadmissible.

Visiting Canada with a DUI

If it has been less than 5 years since the completion of the sentence, you may be eligible to visit Canada.

If you have a previous DUI charge and need to enter Canada for business, an important event, or any other necessary reason, you may be eligible to enter on a temporary resident permit (TRP).

Obtaining a temporary resident permit is a short-term solution to criminal inadmissibility, that may help you enter Canada for a brief visit.

To be eligible for a TRP, you must demonstrate that your presence in Canada has more benefits than risks.

What constitutes a sufficient reason to travel to Canada is ultimately at the discretion of the officer reviewing your case. For this reason, it is important to provide a thorough explanation of why you need to enter Canada.

An officer usually issues a temporary resident permit for the expected length of your visit to Canada. For example, 1 week to attend a wedding.

Immigration Tip

When trying to determine if your need rehabilitation from your previous offence, don’t use the date of the offence as when the timer starts. The timer only starts after completion of the sentence. For example, if you received a DUI 10 years ago but as part of your sentence you had two years of probation, then only 8 years would have passed in the eyes of the Canadian immigration officials.

How does Canada know you have a DUI?

Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) officers have access to various databases, including FBI records, that allow them to check for a traveler’s DUI.

How Canadim can help

Overcoming a DUI charge for Canadian immigration purposes can be complex. For this reason, we recommend hiring an immigration lawyer. The Canadim Team offers TRP, Criminal Rehabilitation, and legal opinion letter services. If you would like more information on any of these, please contact us for more information!

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Contact us If you have questions or concerns relating to DUI convictions and inadmissibility please contact us and a member of the Canadim Team will be happy to discuss your options.

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