DUI entry to Canada can be complicated. In Canada, a DUI is considered a serious criminal offence. Even a DWI can prevent you from entering Canada, as the Criminal Code does not include this distinction.

Why can’t you enter Canada with a DUI?

Regardless of whether the DUI was considered a misdemeanor or felony in the US, in Canada, it will be considered indictable. When immigration officials assess your record, they use the Canadian Criminal Code to determine whether your offence was summary (minor) or indictable (serious).

While it’s true that a Canadian can end up with a summary record if convicted in Canada, this does not apply to foreign offences. In Canada, a DUI is a hybrid offence. This means that it can be tried as either summary or indictable.

Since a foreign DUI is not tried in Canada, for the purpose of DUI entry, Canadian immigration simply considers it under the most serious standard – indictable.

Why is DUI entry harder for US residents?

After 9/11 the US and Canada came to an agreement that they would share their national criminal record databases in order to increase security at the border. Thus, the Canadians now have access to almost every criminal record in the US, and vice versa. As a consequence, it’s harder for a US resident with a DUI to get in than it would be for someone from any other country.

Canadian border officials can search the database for your name and deny you entry based on a criminal record, such as DUI.

What can you do?

It is possible to obtain a waiver to enter Canada with a DUI. There are a few different types of waivers.

Temporary Resident Permit (TRP): A TRP is a permit that allows you to enter Canada temporarily for a particular purpose, such as attending a family gathering or a convention. This is your only option if you completed your DUI sentence less than five years ago.

Criminal Rehabilitation: After five years, you may be approved for Criminal Rehabilitation, which is a permanent waiver. If you are successful in your application, you will be able to enter under the same rules as any other American citizen.

Deemed Rehabilitation: After 10 years, you may be deemed rehabilitated, which means you no longer need to apply to enter Canada. You may need evidence such as court documents and receipts from fine payments.

If you would like to learn more or get started on an application to enter Canada with a DUI, DWI or other criminal records, contact AllCleared today for a free consultation at 1-866-972-7366.