The short answer is maybe.
Once arrested for drunk driving, an individual becomes Criminally Inadmissible to Canada. This means the offender may not visit Canada for any reason, without first obtaining special permission from Canadian immigration authorities. Canadian immigration officials have a tremendous amount of discretion when deciding whether or not to admit an inadmissible individual to Canada on a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). A Temporary Resident Permit is a document that enables foreign nationals, who would otherwise be inadmissible, to enter Canada for a prescribed period of time. A TRP can be valid for up to 3 years, depending on the merits of the application. Temporary Resident Permits exist to meet a genuine need to enter Canada, and are not typically intended for leisure purposes – although exceptions are made regularly.
Note: If you are eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation, you are expected to undergo that process before, or in conjunction with, an application for a Temporary Resident Permit. In other words, a TRP is not intended as an alternative to Criminal Rehabilitation – a TRP is intended to be a last resort.
Canadian immigration officials have the authority to issue a TRP for any reason they deem appropriate. Humanitarian considerations, work commitments or a significant benefit to Canada are some examples of circumstances that may increase the merits of a Temporary Resident Permit application.
In our firm’s experience, a rough equation as to how Canadian immigration officials assess a Temporary Resident Applications is:
Nature of offence + Amount of time passed + Reason for entering Canada = Likelihood of a successful TRP application
What if I was arrested for DUI (but not convicted)?
Even before conviction, an individual becomes Criminally Inadmissible to Canada the moment they are arrested for drunk driving. Once an arrest has taken place, the burden of proof shifts. For the purposes of Canadian immigration, the presumption of innocence disappears after an arrest for any crime. This may seem unfair, but Canadian immigration officials have a responsibility to ensure the safety of Canadians above all else. Furthermore, the classifying of foreigners as “Criminally Inadmissible”, upon arrest in their home country, removes Canada as a flight option with respect to prosecution avoidance.
Once arrested, it is up to you to demonstrate to Canadian immigration officials that a favourable outcome/disposition was reached.
Can I enter Canada with a DUI if it was prosecuted as a misdemeanour?
No you may not enter Canada with a DUI misdemeanour without first resolving your criminal inadmissibility. The manner in which your DUI offence was prosecuted in the United States will have zero bearing on its implication vis-à-vis entry to Canada.
Once DUI, or other drunk driving infraction, is committed outside of Canada, the perpetrator becomes criminally inadmissible to Canada. To learn more about how to enter Canada with DUI click here.
Can an American lawyer help me enter Canada with a DUI?
No. Only Canadian immigration lawyers, and licensed Canadian immigration consultants, in good standing with their respective regulatory societies are authorized to provide counsel on immigration matters.
For a free consultation with a Canadian immigration lawyer about entry to Canada with a DUI, contact First Immigration Law Firm toll-free in North America @ 1 (855) 360-4333.
You can also get more specific information by visiting Entry to Canada With A DUI.