How To Enter Canada With A DUI
In 2002, the Canadian government enacted the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, or IRPA. Among other provisions, the law renders those with certain criminal charges and convictions inadmissible to Canada.
One such infraction is a DUI.
Canadian law treats driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) extremely seriously. Canada does not care that most US jurisdictions treat the majority of DUIs as a misdemeanor offense. Which means, if you have been convicted—or simply arrested—for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol, you may be criminally inadmissible to Canada.
It is highly advisable for anyone wishing to enter Canada with a DUI arrest or conviction on his or her record to consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer, prior to attempting to enter the country.
Canadian immigration law provides ways of gaining entry to Canada with a DUI. For individuals who find themselves criminally inadmissible to Canada, your options may include the following:
- Temporary Resident Permit
- Criminal Rehabilitation / Deemed rehabilitation
Temporary resident permits
A temporary resident permit may be issued to people who are otherwise inadmissible but need to travel to Canada for a specific purpose. Individuals with a DUI on their record may be able to acquire a temporary resident permit to enter Canada as a foreign worker, student or other. An applicant’s need to enter, or stay in Canada, must be weighed against the health or safety risks posed to Canadian society. This determination is made at the discretion of a Canadian immigration agent or CBSA officer.
Criminal Rehabilitation is a process by which those individuals criminally inadmissible to Canada may request permanent forgiveness from Canadian immigration officials. At least five years must have passed since the completion of any sentences, fines and probationary periods imposed. If you received a suspended sentence, you must wait five years from the date of sentencing.
If the five-year period has passed, those criminally inadmissible to Canada may apply for criminal rehabilitation. Certain documents are required when applying for criminal rehabilitation, including but not limited to, a passport and records stating each of the charges, the verdict and sentence, and the laws under which the foreign conviction took place. In addition, other relevant forms and Canadian legal research is required. A Canadian immigration lawyer can help make the process significantly easier and maximize your chances of obtaining a favorable determination.
Criminal rehabilitation applications may take up to one year to process, though there are ways to be assessed sooner if the candidate is willing to travel.
The Canadian government may deem an individual who has a criminal record rehabilitated if certain conditions are met. Individuals outside of the United States seeking deemed rehabilitation may request to be assessed by a Canadian visa office by mail. Those inside the United States may go to a Canadian Port of Entry and ask to be assessed. You will need to bring all documents related to your criminal history in support of your claim of rehabilitation.
In order to be eligible to apply for deemed rehabilitation at a port of entry, you must meet the following criteria:
- You only have one conviction or have only committed one crime
- At least 10 years have passed since the completion of all sentences
- The crime committed is not considered a serious crime in Canada
- The crime did not involve any serious property damage, physical harm to any person, or a weapon
Contact a Canadian immigration lawyer for a free consultation
Individuals with questions regarding their admissibility to Canada may benefit from discussing their situation with an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer. To schedule a free consultation with a Canadian immigration lawyer, contact First Immigration Law Firm at 1 (855) 360-4333 (toll-free in North America) or 1 (514) 360-4333 (internationally).
You can also get more specific information by visiting Entry to Canada With A DUI.