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Can I Go To Canada with a DUI?

Posted Monday, January 22, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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Given our proximity to Canada, our clients often ask us if a DUI conviction will prevent them from being able to enter Canada. In general, the answer is yes. However, there are ways to have your ability to legally enter into Canada reinstated.

Canada’s Immigration Law

Under Canada’s Immigration Law a person who has committed or been convicted of a crime may be “criminally inadmissible” and not be allowed entry into Canada. Convictions of minor and serious crimes can bar you from entry, such as:

• Manslaughter

• Assault

• Theft

• DUI offense

• Conviction for reduced charges from DUI, such as Reckless Driving or Negligent Driving

Under Canadian law a conviction for any offense that is indictable under the Criminal Code of Canada can prevent a person from being able to cross into Canada. However, if you were convicted of a crime prior to the age of 18, you may still be able to enter Canada. A Canadian Immigration Officer will make the determination if you are allowed entry into Canada when you apply for a Visa, an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), or when you arrive at a port of entry.

Reinstating Your Ability to Enter Canada

Depending on the crime, how long ago the conviction was, and if you have had issues with the law since, you may still be allowed entry into Canada if you:

• Applied for rehabilitation and were approved, or

• Convince an Immigration Officer that you meet the legal terms to be deemed rehabilitated, or

• Were granted a record suspension, or

• Have a temporary resident permit.

In the absence of one of the above, a criminal conviction for DUI or certain other crimes will preclude you from entry into Canada.

Deemed Rehabilitated

Under Canada’s Immigration Law a person may be deemed rehabilitated depending on the following factors:

• The crime committed,

• How serious the crime was and how much time has passed since you completed the sentence imposed for the crime,

• Whether you have committed one or more crimes, and

• If the crime would be punishable in Canada by a maximum of 10 years in prison.

In all cases you may be deemed rehabilitated if enough time has elapsed and the crime committed outside of Canada has a maximum prison term of less than 10 years if the crime had been committed in Canada.

Temporary Resident Permit

Even if otherwise precluded from entry, Canada may still issue a Temporary Resident Permit if you have a valid reason to travel to Canada or if it has been less than five years since the end of the criminal sentence. An Immigration Office or Boarder Services Officer will decide if the person’s need to enter or stay in Canada outweighs the health or safety risks to Canadian society.

Hire a Fierce Advocate to Help You Defend Against DUI Charges

When you hire the skilled DUI defense attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC, we will fight to avoid conviction, prevent the interruption of your ability to legally enter Canada, and prevent the interruption of your ability to drive.

We understand how stressful your situation can be, and we will explain and defend your rights. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense, and we will help you face your charges with confidence. For over 20 years, Padula & Associates, LLC has been serving the people of King County, Snohomish County, and throughout Washington State with aggressive and effective criminal defense.

Come meet with us for a free case evaluation. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at, or fill out our online free consultation form today.