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.
How To Obtain Permission To Enter Canada With a DUI/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.
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.
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.
FAQ: Entering Canada with a DUI/DWI
How does a DUI impact my ability to enter & travel in Canada?
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.
What if I was only arrested for DUI but never convicted
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.
What if the DUI charge was only a misdemeanor?
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.
Is it still possible to enter Canada even with a DUI on my record?
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.
How can I enter Canada with a DUI?
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.
What is a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)?
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.
What is a Criminal Rehabilitation Application?
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.
What if my DUI conviction is over 10 years old?
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.
Meet Tiffany McKenzie, OUR Canadian Attorney
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.
Tiffany McKenzie is a Berardi Immigration Law Canadian Attorney who represents individuals and corporations seeking to obtain work authorization in Canada. She also represents our clients at Visa Centres and ports-of-entry to come to Canada to present their criminal rehabilitation applications. This blog focuses on the NAFTA/USMCA Professional category. You can also check out our […]
Tiffany McKenzie is a Berardi Immigration Law Canadian Attorney who represents individuals and corporations seeking to obtain work authorization in Canada. She also represents our clients at Visa Centres and ports-of-entry to come to Canada to present their criminal rehabilitation applications. The focus of this blog is on work permits but you can also check […]
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