Will I be denied entry to Canada if I have an alcohol related offense (DWI, OVI or DUI) but I do not intend on driving a motor vehicle while I am in Canada?
Yes. Whether you plan on driving or not in Canada makes no difference to the Canadian authorities when deciding whether to grant or deny someone’s entry to Canada. Therefore, even flying into Canada and promising not to drive while in Canada will not make you admissible.
I was arrested recently but I have not been yet convicted for any crime, am I allowed to enter Canada?
Being considered inadmissible to enter Canada does not only depend on being convicted of a crime. The mere fact of being arrested for having committed an offense is sufficient to potentially be denied to enter Canada, because under Canadian immigration laws, unless proven otherwise, an arrest is seen as a conviction.
Will I be turned away at the border if I travel to Canada with a DUI (DWI, DWAI, OVI etc.) or criminal record?
It is a big surprise to many Americans, but yes, you are at risk of being denied entry to Canada if you have a dui or a criminal record. Drunk driving in Canada is a serious offense. Any conviction under the Canadian legislation will cause criminal inadmissibility to Canada. However, you may overcome this inadmissibility by requesting a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) prior to your trip, or, if eligible, you may also apply for Criminal Rehabilitation.
Yes. Given that a suspended imposition of sentence is a conviction in the eyes of the law, you may still be denied entry to Canada by the Canadian authorities.
No. The fact that your criminal record was sealed does not change the fact that you are inadmissible to Canada based on Canadian rules given that a sealed record is not a dismissal of a charge.
You are admissible to enter Canada if you were acquitted of all your charges and you do not have a previous criminal record. However, to be certain of this, you need to carefully review all supporting documentation confirming the dismissal and have it with you when traveling to Canada.
If you have a criminal record, such as a DUI, DWI or another offense on your record and wish to travel to Canada, you may apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). A TRP is an application that allows to request to be granted the right to enter Canada for a specific time period even if you have a criminal record. In this application, you will need to demonstrate that you are not a threat to Canadian security and that you have a valid reason for needing to enter Canada.
You may apply for a TRP at a Canadian Consulate or at any Canadian port of entry such a border, a port or an airport.
When you apply at a Canadian Consulate and your application is complete with all the necessary documentation, the process may take up to 4 months. Once the process is complete, you will have a definitive answer, and with our help, you will obtain an approval of your TRP application so that you may travel with assurance that you will not be denied entry at the border. However, if you need to travel soon, you may attempt to apply with the proper application and documentation directly at a Canadian port of entry. Please keep in mind that when filing a TRP at the border, the officer has complete discretion to approve or deny your application and you need to be prepared that you may be turned around at the border and asked to return to the US immediately.
Once your application for a TRP is approved, it may be granted for any duration of time and up to a maximum of three years. The duration granted is based on individual merit, and is up to the discretion of the Canadian government who will determine how long to grant based on your application and reasons for entering Canada.
When you apply for a TRP, it is a temporary solution. If you would like a more permanent solution, you may apply for Criminal Rehabilitation (CR) instead. You can submit an application for CR to the Canadian government. The current processing times are approximately 6-12 months. Once the CR is approved, as long as you do not get convicted of any new offense, you may travel freely to Canada as much as you would like. The CR application will aim to demonstrate that you have been rehabilitated since the offense occurd and that you have turned your life around and are unlikely to commit another offense in the future.
It is usually an average of nine months to a year to process a Criminal Rehabilitation application. If you wish to travel before, you can apply for a TRP until you get the Criminal Rehabilitation processed. Therefore, it is not unusual for a person to apply for both a TRP and Criminal Rehabilitation at the same time especially that the required documents for both are similar. This way, you can visit Canada while waiting for the processing of the Criminal Rehabilitation. Once the Criminal Rehabilitation is approved you then have a permanent admission to Canada.
A period of 5 years from the date of completion of the entire sentence (including the probation period) must elapse prior to filing for Criminal Rehabilitation.
Once ten (10) years have elapsed since the completion of all terms and conditions of your sentence and if you have only one offense on record, such as a DUI for example, you will be deemed to have been rehabilitated by the effect of time, and will be considered “deemed rehabilitated”. Please note however, that if you have been convicted of an offense which is deemed as “serious criminality” under Canadian criminal laws, the rehabilitation by the effect of time will not be applicable, no matter how much time will have passed since the completion of the offense at hand.
Yes. There have been important changes to Canadian Criminal laws recently. As of December 18th, 2018, all drunk driving offenses are categorized as a serious offense under Canadian Criminal laws. This means that a simple DUI conviction will now be considered a matter of serious criminality, and no longer just criminality. This means that if your DUI or similar offense occured after December 18th, 2018, no matter how many years will have passed, you will no longer be deemed rehabilitated by the effect of time. However, you may still apply and be approved for a TRP and/or for Criminal Rehabilitation.
If I obtained a TRP and/or Criminal Rehabilitation do I still need to obtain a visa that is usually required for me to enter Canada?
If you are a US citizen no. However, if you are a US resident or are from a country that requires a visa for your entrance to Canada, regardless if you have already obtained a TRP or Criminal Rehabilitation, you will still need to apply for and obtain a visa before entering Canada.
Yes, once your TRP expires, you are once again no longer admissible to Canada. You will need to apply for a new TRP and/or for Criminal Rehabilitation.