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Opportunity Lives Here

Entry To Canada With A Drunk Driving Conviction

If you have been arrested or convicted for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol (DUI), you may be criminally inadmissible to Canada.  This can affect your ability to enter Canada as a visitor, as well as preclude candidate eligibility across all Canadian immigration programs.  Even the criminal inadmissibility of a dependent or accompanying family member due to DUI can have significant implications.

Drunk driving charges are prosecuted under a variety of designations around the world.  Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Driving While Impaired (DWI), Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated (OMVI), Wet Reckless, are all examples of charges that can result from drinking and driving.  Canadian immigration authorities pay no attention to the manner in which your impaired driving conviction was processed abroad.  Under Canadian immigration law, any indictment relating to the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol can render someone Criminally Inadmissible to Canada.

Misdemeanor and felony DUI designations do not play a determinant role in the assessment of an individual’s admissibility.  An American citizen, convicted of a misdemeanor level drunk driving offense, may still find himself or herself criminally inadmissible to Canada.

Criminal inadmissibility to Canada due to DUI, DWI, or any other drinking and driving conviction(s), can be overcome in different ways, depending on the circumstances.

Temporary Resident Permit – Temporary Solution

A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is a document that enables someone who is inadmissible to Canada to temporarily visit Canada for a specified period of time.  A TRP should only be applied for with good reason, as it is not typically intended for use as a means to gain entry to Canada for leisure purposes.  Ultimately, the decision to issue a TRP to circumvent a drunk driving conviction rests with the Canadian immigration officer who assesses the application.  Individuals not yet eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation may find a TRP a helpful solution to DUI inadmissibility.

Under Canadian immigration law, a Temporary Resident Permit can be valid for up to 3 years, depending on the merits of the application.  The Temporary Resident Permit application process is subjective and serious applicants should consult a Canadian immigration lawyer before applying.  Citizenship and Immigration Canada strongly encourages individuals to mail their TRP applications to a designated Canadian consulate for processing.  However, in certain circumstances, Temporary Resident Permit issuance may be sought from Canadian immigration authorities at a port of entry (airport, seaport, or border crossing).

Criminal Rehabilitation – Permanent Solution

Criminal rehabilitation is a petition submitted by a foreign national to request Canada forgive any, and all, prior DUI convictions.  In order to be eligible to submit a criminal rehabilitation application, 5 years must have elapsed since the completion of all DUI sentencing, probationary periods and fines.  Once an individual undergoes the criminal rehabilitation process, they have a fresh start and will no longer be denied entry to Canada due to DUI.

Criminal rehabilitation application processing times can be lengthy.  Applicants are encouraged to make plans to rectify criminal inadmissibility well in advance of travel to Canada.

Deemed Rehabilitation

In certain instances an individual may be Deemed Rehabilitated after being convicted of a singular DUI.  For example, if 10 years have elapsed since the completion of all sentences, fines and probationary periods, as well as other requisite criteria.  Under such circumstances, Canadian immigration authorities may disregard the prior drinking and driving conviction.

To speak with a Canadian immigration lawyer about entering Canada with a DUI, DWI, DWAI or other alcohol-related drunk driving conviction, contact First Immigration Law Firm toll-free @ 1-855-360-4333 in North America.

Additional DUI Resources