Canada DUI Entry 2019 – What You Need To Know – FAQ

Should I apply for both Criminal Rehabilitation and a Temporary Resident Permit?

Yes. A Criminal Rehabilitation (CR), if accepted, waives your inadmissibility to Canada permanently. Therefore, if you are eligible for a CR, it is advised that you apply for it as well as a TRP, since the CR offers a permanent solution, while the TRP only offers a temporary one.

A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is temporary, and only extends to a granted, specific, period of time. A TRP restricts the length of your stay, and makes you subject to various conditions, such as not being allowed to work or study without a work or study permit, not allowed to re-enter Canada, and being forced to leave immediately after your authorized stay.

What questions does the Temporary Resident Permit application form ask?

The Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) application requires that the applicant demonstrate that there is a significant reason why they must enter Canada.

What documents are required to apply for a Criminal Rehabilitation or a Temporary Resident Permit?

You are required to submit criminal background checks, identification documents, court records, etc.

Will the people you are traveling with find out you have a DUI?

It is likely that the people you are traveling with will find out that you have a DUI, unless your Criminal Rehabilitation has been accepted, in which case your inadmissibility to Canada has been waived, and you do not need to present the application at the border or at customs.

However, if have a valid Temporary Resident Permit, you must bring this application with you, which makes it likely that those you are traveling with may discover your DUI.

Additionally, if you are inadmissible to Canada, your family members (spouse, common law and dependent children) are also considered to be inadmissible, and may or may not be issued an initial TRP. This is up to the discretion of a border officer, who can determine if the circumstances justify their stay in Canada. If the circumstances are justified, each family member will be issued an individual TRP.

Why are individuals who have been convicted of impaired driving potentially not allowed to enter Canada?

A DUI is considered a serious crime in Canada, and there is the fear that someone who has been arrested for a DUI may re-offend in the country. Therefore, an individual must show that they have a valid Temporary Resident Permit or are Criminally Rehabilitated before entering the country.

Canada does not classify offenses as misdemeanors and felonies, like the US. Instead, offenses are classified as a summary or indictable offense, with a summary being the most similar to a misdemeanor, and an indictable offense being the most similar to a felony. A DUI is considered to be a hybrid offense, which means that the Crown attorney can elect whether to prosecute it as a summary or an indictable offense.

Can you go to Canada with a misdemeanor DUI?

Canada does not use misdemeanors and felonies to classify offenses. Instead, offenses are classified as a summary or indictable offense, with a summary being the most similar to a misdemeanor, and an indictable offense being the most similar to a felony. A DUI is considered to be a hybrid offense in Canada, and at the discretion of a Crown attorney to decide. According to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 36(3)(a) “an offense that may be prosecuted either summarily or by way of indictment is deemed to be an indictable offense, even if it has been prosecuted summarily.” Therefore while a DUI is not always considered to be an indictable offense, regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor in the US, it can render you inadmissible to enter Canada.

Can a United States citizen enter Canada with a DUI?

A US citizen can enter Canada with a DUI temporarily if they apply for a Temporary Resident Permit, or permanently through the process of a Criminal Rehabilitation. A valid Temporary Resident Permit must be presented at the border upon entry to Canada, while those who hold a finding of a Criminal Rehabilitation do not need to present any permit, as the finding permanently removes the inadmissibility from their file.

Can someone with a DUI conviction in the us travel to Canada?

U.S. citizens are the only worldwide citizens who do not require an eTA to travel by air, which means that they are the only ones who can present a Temporary Resident Permit at the airport. For those outside of the U.S. who have a DUI conviction, the only way to get into Canada is to fly into the U.S. and then drive to the Canadian border with a Temporary Resident Permit.

Additionally, Canada has front line access to the National Crime Information Center database, which makes American offenses easier for border agents to detect.

Can you enter Canada with a DUI after 10 years?

If an individual was considered Deemed Rehabilitated for a DUI before December 2018, they may still be allowed entry into Canada without a Temporary Resident Permit or a Criminal Rehabilitation, however they should always consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer to see if they qualify for grandfathered Deemed Rehabilitation.

As of December 2018, a DUI is considered a serious crime in Canada, and no longer qualifies as an offense that is automatically Deemed Rehabilitated after 10 years. As a result, a US citizen with even a single DUI/DWI that occurred more than a decade ago can still be denied entry into Canada.

Can you enter Canada with a DUI if you will not be driving?

Regardless of whether you will be driving while in Canada, with a DUI, you are still deemed inadmissible, since, once you have crossed the border, Canada has no way of enforcing or monitoring your behaviour. 

Does this mean, if the DUI charges against you were dropped, that you would still be unable to enter Canada?

Entry into Canada may be possible if you provide evidence at the border that the criminal charges were never filed, or that your DUI charges were fully dropped without a conviction resulting. Whenever anyone is arrested and fingerprinted, a criminal record is created, which can be accessed at the Canadian border, where there is no presumption of innocence.

What do you need to do to get into Canada with a prior DUI on your record?

Consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer to see if you are eligible to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or a Criminal Rehabilitation (CR). These are necessary for your entry into Canada.

A CR is required if more than five years have passed since your conviction, or if you have more than one conviction on your file. The application costs and processing fees are considerably shorter for a CR involving non-serious criminality than they are for those involving serious criminality.

A TRP is required if less than five years have passed since the completion of your sentence, or if more than five years have passed, but you have not applied for a CR. It is advised if you are eligible for a CR, that you apply for a TRP as well.

Can you reduce your DUI to make it easier to travel to Canada?

Yes. If you feel like the DA or a judge may be receptive to a plea deal because of the Canadian consequences of a DUI on your client, our lawyers can prepare a foreign legal option. In this process, the Canadian equivalent of your charges are found, and it is determined whether these charges would make you inadmissible to Canada. We prepare a Legal Opinion Letter, which explains the additional penalties imposed by Canadian law and the negative implications of your client’s current charges on their life and employment. This letter is presented to the DA or a judge in effort to reduce your charges, and suggest an offence that does not involve alcohol, such as “disorderly conduct”, a speeding ticket, “reckless endangerment”, or possession of marijuana (in a case of drug impaired driving), which does not make you inadmissible to Canada.

Why does Canada forbid entry to U.S. citizens with a DUI for 10 years?

Canada considers a DUI to be a serious crime, and the charge comes with serious penalties, including large fines, jail time, forfeiture of driver’s permit, and impounding of vehicle. There is a concern that someone with a DUI will re-offend.

However, Canada does not prohibit anyone with a DUI to enter the country. If an individual obtains a Temporary Resident Permit or a Criminal Rehabilitation, they will be allowed to enter Canada.

Can you be denied entry to Canada due to drunk driving?

After  you are arrested for drunk driving, your criminal record is created and entered in the National database within 30 days. Regardless of whether your arrest resulted in a conviction, with a criminal record, you may be denied entry into Canada.

How likely are you to be accepted to Canada with a DUI conviction?

There is no way to determine how likely you are to be accepted in Canada with a DUI conviction because this decision is at the discretion of border officials. While you are more likely to be allowed entry into the country if your conviction is more than 10 years old, this is not guaranteed. The only way that you are guaranteed to be accepted into the country is with a valid Temporary Resident Permit or a Criminal Rehabilitation. If you have a single, non-violent offence, and you are able to demonstrate that you have taken significant steps to rehabilitate yourself, you are likely to be accepted for Criminal Rehabilitation.

Can you vacation in Canada with a DUI?

You are likely to be denied entry into Canada for your vacation if you do not obtain a Temporary Resident Permit or a Criminal Rehabilitation. However, Temporary Resident Permits are usually not given for leisure purposes.

Can you fly into Canada with a DUI?

Even if you fly into Canada, you can still be denied entry if you have a DUI, since there is nothing that prevents you from renting or driving once you are in the country. Therefore, without a Temporary Resident Permit or a Criminal Rehabilitation, you can be denied by the Canadian Immigration and Customs Agent. Similarly to Border officials, this decision is up to their discretion.

Can you have a layover in Canada with a DUI?

At every Canadian airport, with the exception of a flights coming from countries outside of Canada and the US, with the final destination of the US, on specific airlines, you are required to go through Canadian customs if you have a connecting flight at the airport. There, you are subject to the discretion of the Canadian Immigration and Customs, who can deny you entry.

Can you go to Vancouver with a DUI?

Vancouver is identical to the rest of Canada, where your entry into Canada is at the discretion of a border official. A DUI conviction can prohibit your entry into the country.

You may hear stories of people who were allowed to cross the border even though they had a drunk driving offense.

Border officials have complete discretion when deciding whether to let someone into Canada. The older your conviction is, the more likely you are to be granted entry, however, this is not something that you can count on. The only way to guarantee entry into Canada is to obtain a Temporary Resident Permit or a Criminal Rehabilitation.

Can you cross the border with a DUi?

While crossing the border with a DUI, it is at the discretion of a border official to decide whether you are allowed entry into the country. The only way to ensure that entry into Canada is to present a valid Temporary Resident Permit at the border, or to be found Criminally Rehabilitated.

How long do you have to wait to go to Canada if you have a DUI?

If it has been less than five years since your DUI, you have to have finished the conditions of your sentence, such as probation, before you are allowed to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit. If it has been more than five years since your DUI, you are eligible to apply for a Criminal Rehabilitation, however, it is still advised that you also apply for a Temporary Resident Permit.

Before December 2018, you were automatically Deemed Rehabilitated ten years after your DUI. However, the laws have recently changed, and this is no longer automatic. If an individual was considered Deemed Rehabilitated for a DUI before December 2018, they may still be allowed entry into Canada without a Temporary Resident Permit or a Criminal Rehabilitation, however they should always consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer to see if they qualify for grandfathered Deemed Rehabilitation.

There is no specific wait time, but the earliest one is allowed entry into Canada is after the conditions of their sentence are completed, and they have successfully filed a Temporary Resident Permit.

What kind of traffic violations can result in inadmissibility to Canada?

The dangerous operation of a motor vehicle is a serious offense that often encompasses many other driving offenses, including vehicular homicide, hit and runs, and DUIs. These are the Canadian law equivalents of charges from the United States that may be referred to in a given state as motor manslaughter, racing, careless/dangerous driving, stunting/drag racing, criminal negligence, speeding over the state’s set limit, driving while under suspension, failing to obey police, failing to remain at an accident scene or refusing a breathalyzer test

Is a DUI a felony in Canada?

Canada does not classify offenses as misdemeanors and felonies, like the US. Instead, offenses are classified as a summary or indictable offense, with a summary being the most similar to a misdemeanor, and an indictable offense being the most similar to a felony. A DUI is considered to be a hybrid offense, which means that the Crown attorney can elect whether to prosecute it as a summary or an indictable offense.

How do you get permission to enter Canada with a DUI conviction?

You can get permission to enter Canada with a DUI conviction with a valid Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation (CR). A TRP allows for you to temporarily visit Canada, while a CR finding permanently removes the inadmissibility from your file.

To maximize your success with either of these options, consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer who can take the correct steps during all of the stages of your application.

If you do decide to travel to Canada, do you have to tell immigration that you have a conviction?

Never lie. Border officials have easy access to your criminal record, and if you are caught misrepresenting yourself or your criminal history, you greatly increase your chance of never being allowed to enter Canada again. Officials have the power to ban you from Canada for an extended period of time, or even life.

Additionally, do not attempt to cross the border at a different location on the same day. When you are denied admission at one port of entry, this information is instantly updated to a centralized database, where it is visible at all other ports of entry. Attempting to enter at another port can make it seem like you are trying to evade the system, and will increasingly jeopardize your chance of being allowed entry into the country again.

Can you get a passport with a DUI on your record?

Usually, a DUI/DWI, even if it was a felony conviction, does not prevent you from obtaining a passport, as a passport identifies you as a citizen. However, there are some exceptions. You can lose the right to obtain a passport if it is in the terms or your parole or probation, or if it is court ordered.

However, even with a valid US passport, with a DUI, you can still be denied entry into Canada.

Going to Canada but have a misdemeanor on your criminal record?

Canada does not classify offenses as misdemeanors and felonies, like the US. Instead, offenses are classified as a summary or indictable offense, with a summary being the most similar to a misdemeanor, and an indictable offense being the most similar to a felony. If you have a misdemeanor on your record, you need to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit or a Criminal Rehabilitation to gain entry into Canada.

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