Did you know that Canada recently introduced much tougher penalties for individuals convicted of driving under the influence? Canada’s new bill, titled the Impaired Driving Act, took effect on December 18, 2018 and now makes impaired driving a serious criminal offense in Canada. Convictions for DWI, DUI, DUAI, or DWAI were previously considered only criminal offenses in Canada.

This means that any individual with an impaired driving conviction may need a permit in order to enter Canada. This is because anyone that has ever been convicted for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is deemed “criminally inadmissible” to Canada. This can lead to an individual being criminally barred from Canada for a period of 10 years after conviction.

There are, however, legal remedies available for individuals with such a conviction on their record. There are several options that may help you regain access to Canada during a ten year restriction, but each will require meticulous planning, a good deal of effort, and a little help from our team here at Berardi Immigration Law.

Entering Canada With a DWI

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Don’t guess whether you can enter Canada.

Rather, leave that to our Canadian immigration lawyers who will provide a full assessment of your admissibility. Don’t be fooled by Canadian “consultants.” Our Canadian lawyers are licensed and trained in the DWI industry. We have a strong track record of successful DWI applications.

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HOW TO OBTAIN PERMISSION TO ENTER CANADA WITH A DWI

If you have a DWI on your record, there is still hope. It is still possible to gain entry to Canada, but you will need to correctly apply for and then successfully receive permission from Canadian immigration authorities to enter the country.

Temporary Solution

A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) allows an individual to enter and/or stay in Canada for a specific period of time if a valid reason for entry can be established. A TRP is typically granted for one off, short trips. A TRP is a temporary solution to the 10 year ban on admissibility, but it provides individuals with an avenue for redress while they wait for a permanent solution to become available. TRPs are used in emergency situations, such as family illnesses or deaths.

Permanent Solution

A Criminal Rehabilitation application is a permanent solution to having a DWI on your record. Essentially, it is a petition to Canadian immigration authorities asking the government to forgive a prior DWI conviction. This option, however, is not immediately available. To be eligible, five years must have passed since the completion of all conditions related to your DWI sentence. If approved, the individual is given a fresh start in the eyes of the Canadian government and allowed to freely enter the country.

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FAQ: Enter Canada with a DWI

Any person arrested and/or convicted of driving under the influence (e.g., DUI, DUAI, and/or DWI) is automatically barred from entry into Canada for a minimum of 10 years.

Both an arrest and conviction for DUI can make you inadmissible to Canada. As long as the DUI charge is still pending, the Canadian government will continue to exclude you from the country. If, however, a DUI charge ultimately results in a dismissal, it can no longer be used as grounds to deny entry to Canada.

The degree of seriousness of a DUI charge as it pertains to laws of the United States is irrelevant for Canadian immigration purposes. The determining factor is how your specific DUI charge equates to the same equivalent offense under Canadian laws. As a result, even a charge such as DWAI, which is only considered a traffic infraction in New York State, can still prevent you from entering Canada.

Yes. It is still possible to gain entry into Canada with a DUI on your record. Unfortunately, it involves a highly complex legal process that requires a great deal of planning and effort.

You will need to correctly apply for and then successfully receive permission from Canadian immigration authorities to enter the country. This involves (1) applying for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or (2) submitting a Criminal Rehabilitation application.

A Temporary Resident Permit is permission from the Canadian government to enter the country for a specific period of time. A TRP is a temporary solution that requires an applicant to demonstrate a valid reason for entry, such as entering for business purposes, or visiting family members.  This can be a solution prior to eligibility for individual rehabilitation (Below),  Typically, TRP’s are only granted for one-off situations.

A Criminal Rehabilitation application is a petition to Canadian immigration authorities asking the government to forgive a prior DUI conviction. This option, however, is not immediately available. To be eligible, five years must have passed since the completion of your criminal sentence and the day you committed the act that made you inadmissible.  At that point, you are eligible for an application for “individual rehabilitation.”  Once an application is approved, the individual is given a fresh start in the eyes of the Canadian government and allowed to freely enter the country.

If a DUI conviction is over 10 years old, an individual may be “deemed rehabilitated” by the passage of time and not required to apply for a TRP or submit a Criminal Rehabilitation application. Ten years must have passed since the completion of all conditions associated with your DUI conviction, and you must not have been subsequently arrested or convicted for a separate DUI since the initial charge.

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DWI/DUI NEWS UPATES

Will a DWAI Conviction Bar Entry to Canada?

Recently, the rules surrounding DWIs, DUIs and DWAIs have changed in Canada, ushering in a new era of more aggressive enforcement. One of the most common questions our office receives is if a conviction for a DWAI will bar entry to Canada. The short answer is yes. A DWAI is treated the same way as a DUI at the Canadian border and there is no guarantee of being granted entry into the country.    This fact usually sparks a lot of concern, and also a fair amount of confusion, as a DWAI and a DUI are very different offenses in American criminal law. While it is true that New York criminal law recognizes a significant distinction between DUIs and DWAIs, this is not the case from the Canadian perspective. When an individual attempts to enter Canada, he or she is subject to Canadian law. In order to determine the seriousness of an offense on a criminal record when an individual attempts to enter the country, a Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) Officer will equate the offense to its closest Canadian counterpart. Under Canadian law, there is no offense called a DWAI — there is only a DUI. Consequently, a border […]

New Canadian Law Will Make Travel to Canada with a Past DUI More Difficult

Following the legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada, the Canadian government is cracking down on driving violations that occur while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. New legislation is scheduled to take effect on December 18, 2018 and will have a major impact on visitors to Canada.  Under current law, non-Canadians who have ever been arrested or convicted of driving under the influence may be deemed criminally inadmissible to Canada and denied entry. This is regardless of whether the offense is a misdemeanor or felony. While United States law differentiates the severity of certain offenses in determining criminality, Canadian law does not in this context. The consequences of the current law are harsh; however, after 10 years without any additional offenses, individuals are deemed rehabilitated. This means they are able to enter Canada with no additional paperwork, fees or waivers.  After December 18th, the consequences of driving while under the influence will be even more severe. Individuals will no longer be considered rehabilitated, even after a 10-year period with no new offenses. According to Correctional Service Canada, anyone who has already been deemed rehabilitated prior to the new legislation taking effect will not be affected and can continue to […]

Berardi Immigration Law assisting individuals with DUI and DWI convictions with travel to Canada

If you’ve been convicted of a DUI or DWI, chances are your life has been altered in many ways. However, you may not be aware that having an alcohol-related driving conviction on your record can significantly impact your ability to enter Canada. In fact, in most cases, this type of conviction will make you “criminally inadmissible” in the eyes of the Canadian government, barring you from entry to Canada for a period of 10 years! Beginning December 18, 2018, Canada will introduce much tougher penalties for individuals with convictions of DWI, DUI, or DWAI. The new bill, titled the Impaired Driving Act, will make impaired driving a serious criminal offense in Canada, whereas it is presently considered a criminal offense. This change means that any individual with a DWI, DUI, or DWAI may need an entry permit in order to enter Canada. This is a huge change from the present law, which states that an individual with a sole DWI, DUI, or DWAI would only be criminally inadmissible to Canada for the first five years, could apply for individual rehabilitation after five years, and is deemed fully rehabilitated after 10 years. If you have a DUI or DWI on your record that’s currently preventing you […]

Have a DWI or DUI? Canada’s Upcoming Impaired Driving Act Could Impact You at the Border

The recreational use of marijuana will be legalized in Canada beginning October 17, 2018. Naturally, this raises a number of public safety concerns, one in particular being the dangers associated with impaired driving. Greater access to the drug could result in more people driving under the influence. The Canadian government has responded to this concern with the passage of the Impaired Driving Act, which imposes tougher penalties for individuals found guilty of impaired driving in Canada. The maximum penalty for such a charge will increase from five years behind bars to ten. Not only will this new law make DUI a serious criminal offense north of the border, it will also have the effect of banning a greater number of American citizens from entering the country.  Currently, a DUI is deemed a “criminal offense;” this means an individual with a sole DUI would be criminally inadmissible to Canada for five years, but could then apply for individual rehabilitation. That same individual could also just wait ten years, at which point he or she would simply be deemed rehabilitated. In other words, under the current system, an individual with a sole DUI would not be deemed criminally inadmissible to Canada ten […]