Generally, if you have a DUI on your record, you cannot enter Canada for 10 years. However, there are applications you can make for Canada DUI entry before that time.
Canada DUI Entry within five years
If it has been less than five years, you need to finish the conditions of your sentence, such as probation, before you can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP).
A TRP is a temporary solution that will allow Canada DUI entry for a particular reason, such as a business meeting or important family matter. It can be granted for anywhere from a few hours to multiple entries for up to three years. It’s important to be clear about why and when you need to come into Canada in order to increase your chances of getting a permit that covers all the entries you need to make.
There are two different ways to apply for a TRP – urgent or consulate application:
Urgent application: An urgent application to enter Canada with a DUI can be put together in about two to four months. If you already have your court documents, it could be faster. You would then take this application to the Port of Entry whether it’s a land border crossing or the Customs and Immigration area of the airport. You would then wait for the officials to determine your application, which could take a few hours.
This is not the recommended route in many cases because the border officials have a high degree of discretion to deny your application. It’s important to have a truly urgent reason when attempting this.
Consulate application: The safer route is to apply for a TRP through the Canadian Consulate. This will take longer, but you will have a better chance of success because the officials will have time to complete their investigation. It can take about a year to get a TRP, so it is important to plan ahead.
If the purpose of your trip is vacation, this will result in a much better success rate. A primary benefit of the consulate TRP application is that you won’t risk losing your deposits or wasting your airfare in the case of a denied application.
Entering Canada after five years
You can still apply for a TRP after five years, but if you have already had one or two your chances of success become lower. This is because the Canadian officials will expect routine visitors to submit a Criminal Rehabilitation application.
If you don’t have time to wait for the Criminal Rehabilitation application to be approved, you can apply for both a TRP and Rehabilitation at the same time. A Criminal Rehabilitation application takes longer, but it provides a permanent solution. The TRP will cover you for your upcoming trip, while the Criminal Rehabilitation application will provide a permanent solution as long as you keep your record clean.
It can take about 18 months to complete the Criminal Rehabilitation application.
Entering Canada after 10 years
If you have only one DUI on your record, you can enter Canada after 10 years from the completion of your sentence. You may need to provide proof such as court records, fine payments and other documents.
In some cases, people with multiple DUIs or serious felony DUI will have to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation even after 10 years.