Can You Get Into Canada With a DUI?

Crossing the Border Into Canada with DWI

In 2012, Canada eased its strict policy of automatically denying entry into Canada to every US resident with a DUI conviction. Driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated is considered an indictable offense in Canada, meaning itís treated like a felony is in the United States. Because of this, even a single DUI often caused an American to be deemed inadmissible to the country. Entering Canada with a DWI is not possible unless you have permission from the Canadian government in the form of a Temporary Resident Permit or Rehabilitation. Not being admissible to Canada is just one of the many consequences of drinking and driving, but a qualified Canadian immigration lawyer can help you enter Canada.

Can I Get Into Canada With a DUI If I Act Stupid?

Ignorance of the law rarely works, and if you attempt to cross the border into Canada with a drunk driving charge and not TRP you will likely be refused entry. This being said, there is always a small chance of someone getting through. Because Canada is looking to increase tourism in every province, as of March 1st 2012 a new policy takes effect which allows select first-time offenders who show up at the border with one drunk driving charge and no prison time to receive a free Temporary Resident Permit allowing them to enter legally. The exemption is available to people ďone time onlyĒ, meaning an individual who takes advantage of the new policy will be refused entry if they show up at the border unannounced again. In order to be eligible, the person must be a resident of the United States of America, but only have a single DUI, must not have received any term of imprisonment related to their sentence, and must not have any other criminal convictions or charges that could render them inadmissible to Canada. Considering a TRP normally costs several hundred dollars, and being denied entry at the Canadian border can be a massive headache, this is a fantastic new policy for Americans with a minor criminal record. A popular questions you may be thinking about is can you go to Canada for business if you have a DWI, and the answer is yes as long as you are issued a valid permit.

A newspaper in southern Saskatchewan recently did a news story about American travellers being denied entry into Canada. Some of the more notable incidents they reported on were a truck driver being refused entry because of convictions for manslaughter and murder, a women importing puppies who was caught providing false receipts to CBSA officers (the real receipts were found when her car was searched), and a man who was busted attempting to import narcotics in the trunk of his vehicle. Other incidents included a large number of people being refused entry because of criminal offences such as assault, drinking & driving, possession of a firearm, and drug trafficking. If you have a criminal record, crossing border into Canada can be difficult so always plan ahead of time and ensure you have all the proper documents such as a TRP to ensure successful entry.

For most people, getting denied at the border is horrible and embarrassing, so itís important to take the right steps ahead of time to ensure successful entry into Canada. Even if you have a Canada study permit or Canada work permit, a DUI will likely lead to a refusal of entry without special permission in the form of a TRP or criminal rehabilitation. If you are a citizen of a country that is not VISA exempt, you will also need a Canadian VISA to enter the country. Visiting Canada if you have a DWI is possible as long as you plan ahead and get permission. While DUI entry to Canada is possible by applying for a Temporary Resident Permit at the border or in advance via a Canadian consulate, the legal process isn't easy so definitely consider retaining a legal professional to assist you if you are not a lawyer.

Can You Cross the Canadian Border with a Criminal Conviction?

Any misdemeanor or felony conviction that is less than 10 years old can get you denied entry when flying or driving into Canada. Foreign nationals with a DUI, assault charge, theft charge, domestic violence charge, or any other criminal record risk being flagged by the CBSA and rejected if they don't have permission from criminal entry. Many people such as Flight Attendants are required to have access to Canada as part of their job, and consequently it's extremely important that they get fast permission for DUI entry to Canada if they are ever arrested for impaired driving. Canadian laws have severe punishments for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and any foreign charge that is equivalent to this charge will cause the offender to be criminally inadmissible to the nation.

If I Have a DUI Can I go to Canada?

For an American that has a criminal record for drinking and driving, this is often the first question that comes to mind when they find out they have an upcoming business trip to Toronto or Vancouver. No one wants to be denied entry to another country infront of their boss, and restrictions related to crossing the border if you have a DWI or reckless driving conviction can make this a reality for some business professionals. To learn more about DUI and Canada, we recommend that you consult with a licensed Canadian immigration attorney.