Entering Canada with a DUI

Having a criminal record, or simply even having been recently arrested can impact a person’s ability to enter Canada in 2019 and beyond. In fact, having even one DUI offense on record can prevent someone from being allowed to enter Canada. Canadian border agents have the ability to turn away anyone based on the fact that they have a criminal record, even if the offense occurred a long time ago, and in some cases, even if that offense was dismissed by the court.

Why does Canada turn away people with a DUI conviction?

Canadian immigration laws are such that if you have a criminal record, even if it is only a misdemeanor DUI, this could still constitute grounds for inadmissibility, and therefore prevent you from entering Canada legally. If the offense for which you have been arrested or convicted can be equated to one found in the Canadian Criminal Code, you may be denied entry into the country, whether it be for business purposes, such a work meeting, leisure, such as for hunting or fishing in Canada or even if you are coming to visit family members who live in Canada.

What can I do if I have a DUI on my record but need to come to Canada?

There are several options available to help someone be permitted to come into Canada despite their criminal record. These include:

  • Application for a temporary resident permit (TRP);
  • Application for criminal rehabilitation (CR);
  • Determination of admissibility; and
  • Determination of being deemed rehabilitated.

What is a TRP and who can apply for it?

A TRP is a temporary resident permit and, as the names implies, is a temporary solution to the issue of inadmissibility and criminality. Anyone, whether they have only recently been arrested, have a minor offense, or several felony offenses, can apply for the TRP at any time regardless of when the offense occurred. The TRP would allow a person to enter Canada for a specific and pre-determined period of time, as well as allow multiple entries, if necessary. Once expired, you can re-apply for a new TRP and this can be done indefinitely. The TRP can be granted for a maximum period of three years at a time if circumstances justify this.

The TRP can be used by an individual for any reason they may need, whether it be for work, leisure, vacation, or family purposes. If the TRP is granted for work (business) purposes, you can still go to Canada for any other reasons as well, even for leisure such as to visit a Canadian city, as long as the TRP is valid.

The application process for the TRP requires a considerable amount of specific and important information to be submitted to the government of Canada in order to have a successful outcome, therefore, a Canadian attorney specializing in matters of criminality, such as our lawyers at KLM Law should be consulted.

Who can apply for criminal rehabilitation?

Criminal rehabilitation, unlike the temporary resident permit, is a permanent solution for overcoming inadmissibility due to having a criminal record. A person, regardless of the severity of the crime committed, becomes eligible to apply for criminal rehabilitation once five years have passed form the moment where they have completed all conditions of their imposed sentence. For example, if you have been convicted of a DUI in July 2010 and have completed all conditions of the sentence, including probation (even informal probation) in July 2013, you will become eligible to apply for criminal rehabilitation as of July 2018. The application process is a lengthier one than an application for a TRP and requires more documentation, however, once approved, you will be allowed to travel to Canada with no restriction from that moment on, as would anyone else who has never been convicted in the first place.

NOTE: In some cases, it is possible to simultaneously apply for both a TRP and Criminal Rehabilitation due to the different time delays in the processing of each application. Please contact one of our criminality lawyers for further information.

Will I be able to enter Canada if my case was dismissed?

Generally speaking, if you have only one minor offense on your record, such as a DUI for example, and the conviction was later dismissed, you should be allowed to enter Canada. However, there are numerous other factors to consider in order to make sure that your previous conviction would not stop you from entering Canada. In certain cases, as is the case for example for pilots and other professionals who must be certain that no issue will ever arise at the border, an individual may request a determination of admissibility from the Canadian government, confirming that their past criminal offense does not make them inadmissible to Canada. The process is similar to that of a TRP application, and once your application is “approved” you will have the certainty and peace of mind that you are allowed to enter Canada freely as would anyone else with no criminal record.

Who is deemed rehabilitated?

The term “deemed rehabilitated” refers to anyone who, after a certain amount of time has elapsed, becomes admissible to enter Canada again, despite a previous criminal conviction. Generally speaking, after 10 years have passed from the moment that someone has completed all conditions of their imposed sentence, and the offense in question was a non-serious criminality offense, they become deemed rehabilitated by the effect of time.

This would often be the case for offenses such as a DUI, DWI, OWI, simple assault, theft under $5,000, reckless driving, possession of certain controlled substances etc. A lawyer specializing in criminality and inadmissibility can confirm that you are deemed to have been rehabilitated by drafting a legal letter of opinion which explains the situation. A similar type of legal letter can also serve to assist those individuals whose case has been dismissed and who do not have any other offense on record.

I need to travel to Canada next week, is there enough time?

Yes. In cases where an individual is required to travel to Canada on short notice, be it for a last minute business meeting, a personal emergency or because they simply only found out recently that their criminal record may prevent them from entering Canada, an application, called an Expedited Temporary Resident Permit can be prepared on behalf on the client to be presented for review on the spot at a border crossing by an immigration officer.

What are some common offenses for which I can be denied entry to Canada?

Some of the more common offenses for which you may get refused entry into Canada include the following:

  • Driving under the influence related offenses such as a DUI, DWI, OWI, OUI, DWAI etc.;
  • Reckless driving and/or negligent driving;
  • Assault, including domestic assault;
  • Public intoxication;
  • Open container offenses;
  • Theft and burglary;
  • Drug possession and drug trafficking;
  • Federal offenses such as fraud etc.;

For further information and a free consultation with an attorney specializing in inadmissibility and criminality, call us today for your free consultation at 1-888-603-3003.