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You can get stopped at the border with a DUI. One question we often receive is, “I only had a DUI on my record. Why was I refused entry to Canada?” Many people are turned away for DUI. This can be embarrassing and confusing. Due to the nature and wording of Canadian immigration legislation, these occurrences are unfortunately all too common. In this blog, we will explore Canadian legislation. We’ll delve into what constitutes criminal inadmissibility.

Why is DUI considered criminal in Canada?

An objective of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) is to ‘protect public health and safety and to maintain the security of Canadian society.’  DUI is commonly viewed as a minor crime. However, it is actually a very dangerous act. It is in the best interest of Canadian society to keep foreign nationals who have a history of it out of Canada.

The Criminal Code of Canada classifies offences as either ‘summary’, ‘indictable’, or ‘hybrid.’ As follows:

Summary – less serious acts, minor offences, similar to misdemeanors

Indictable – more serious acts, similar to felonies

Hybrid – offences that can be treated in court as either summary or indictable, depending on the circumstances

The Criminal Code does not have many offences which are strictly tried by summary. To clarify, impaired driving is a hybrid offence.

It is important to know that under IRPA, all hybrid offences are treated as though they were indictable. It doesn’t matter if they were actually processed as summary. A person would be criminally inadmissible if they had committed or been convicted outside Canada of an offence that would have been considered to be indictable in Canada.  Because impaired driving is a hybrid offence, it is considered indictable under IRPA. Commission of the act or a conviction will lead to inadmissibility.

How to enter Canada with a DUI

The good news is that criminal inadmissibility can be overcome. If you have a DUI on your record, you can be deemed rehabilitated after 10 years. Or you can apply for one of two waivers:

If you have questions about inadmissibility with a DUI or how to apply to enter Canada with a DUI, contact us toll-free at 1-866-972-7366.