Skip to main content

I am trying to cross the canadian border and i was convicted with a dwai 8 years ago, will this affect my crossing the border?

Durango, CO |

If so is there if any steps to take to get accross the border?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. You are currently inadmissible under Canadian immigration law. A DWAI is an offense that has as an element some level of impairment by alcohol. That is the same thing as a Canadian Impaired Driving offense. Impaired driving is an indictable offense under Canadian law. Conviction for an indictable offense makes a person inadmissible. The steps you must take to remove that inadmissibility status will depend upon your record.

    If you have no other criminal convictions r administrative license suspensions related to alcohol or refusing a test, ever, you will be deemed to be automatically rehabilitated ten years after the end of last court action that occurred from your DWAI. That may be a suspension, probation or some other consequence. Once you are deemed rehabilitated you are no longer inadmissible.

    If you have any other criminal convictions or offenses, you must apply for rehabilitation status.

    There are also permits that can be obtained through a consulate, although the chances of receiving one for a pleasure trip are slim.

    You will need the help of Canadian immigration counsel to apply for rehabilitation status or to get a permit.

    Do not try to get into Canada without a permit or a grant of rehabilitation. At best you will be detained and sent home immediately. At worse you may be arrested as an illegal alien.

    DISCLAIMER- THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE AND DOES NOT ESTABLISH AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. CONSULT QUALIFIED LEGAL COUNSEL IN YOUR CITY OR STATE FOR IMMEDIATE LEGAL ADVICE.


  2. After five years have transpired from the date of your last court appearance to the date you intend to enter Canada, application can be made to the Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration for “approval of rehabilitation.”

    The application form for both of these certificates can be obtained from any Canadian Customs and Immigration Office or consulate, or by phoning 1-416-973-4444 (Form IMM-5312E which consists of an information guide, application form, and instructions), or from the worldwide web at:

    http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/applications/menu-outside.html

    Forms can be obtained from the Internet at:

    http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/kits/forms/IMM1444E.PDF

    Best of luck.

    John Buckley


  3. If you are convicted of any alcohol-related offense, you may be barred from entering Canada. Canada generally bars any U.S. citizens who have been convicted of a misdemeanor from entering their country. Canada has also been known to exclude individuals convicted of Driving While Ability Impaired from entering.

    To obtain entry to Canada following any conviction, you will need to apply for a Minister's Permit with the Canadian Consulate. Approval of this application would allow you to enter into Canada for a short-term visit.

    An individual convicted of a crime may not obtain long term entry into Canada until at least five years have passed from the date his or her sentence was completed. At that time, he or she may apply to the Canadian Consulate for "rehabilitation." If granted rehabilitation, a U.S. citizen with a criminal record may enter Canada in the same manner as if he or she had no criminal record.

    Jay Tiftickjian
    Denver DUI Lawyer

Criminal defense topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics