Can You Travel to Canada with a DUI?
If you are an American citizen with a pending DUI case or a conviction for DUI, DWAI or even Reckless Driving it is possible and somewhat likely that you will be turned away at the Canadian border upon attempting to gain entry into Canada. Under Canadian law, a DUI or DWAI conviction (either in court or at the DMV) may make you an “inadmissible person.” As a general rule, people attempting to enter Canada may be considered a criminally inadmissible person if the person:
- was convicted of an offense in Canada;
- was convicted or accepted a deferred judgment of an offense outside of Canada that is considered a crime in Canada; or
- committed an act outside of Canada that is considered a crime under the laws of the country where it occurred and would be punishable under Canadian law.
In order to determine inadmissibility, foreign convictions and laws are equated to Canadian law as if they had occurred in Canada.
Is DUI a Felony in Canada?
In Canada, the term misdemeanor or felony is not used. Instead, there are summary or indictable offenses. A summary offense in Canada is similar to an American misdemeanor, while an indictable offense in Canada is similar to an American felony. The answer is that a DUI can be either an indictable (felony) offense or a summary (misdemeanor) offense.
Traveling to Canada with a DUI
If you need to travel to Canada with a DUI, you can overcome criminal inadmissibility with a Temporary Resident Permit or Criminal Rehabilitation. Canadian Temporary Resident Permits can allow an American with a DUI access to Canada for up to three years and can be obtained rather quickly.
Depending on the crime, how long ago it was and how your criminal history before and after the offense, you may still be allowed to come to Canada, if you:
- convince an immigration officer that you meet the legal terms to be deemed rehabilitated, or
- applied for rehabilitation and were approved, or
- were granted a record suspension or
- have a temporary resident permit.
It is important to understand that no one can tell you for sure whether you will be granted entry to Canada if you have a pending charges or a past conviction for an inadmissible offense. The border patrol agent at each individual port of entry has a significant amount of discretion and authority to determine who they grant access to and who they deny. Just because you were allowed to enter previously or at a different port of entry does not mean you will be granted access each and every time you attempt to enter Canada. If you have a pending trip to Canada coming up or know you will need to enter Canada in the future and you have a DUI you should consult with a Canadian Immigration attorney immediately and discuss the process of applying for and obtaining a a Temporary Resident Permit.
Tiftickjian Law Firm does not practice immigration law nor do we practice law in Canada. Therefore, we encourage you to contact Canadian Immigration Attorney Marisa Feil at 1-855-316-3555 or www.duicanadaentry.com if you have any questions or concerns about obtaining entry into Canada as a result of a criminal record in the U.S. or because of a pending DUI or past DUI conviction. For more information on entering Canada with a DUI, click here to read Marisa’s article on DUI and Canadian Entry.