Traveling to Canada and DUI

Wayne Rodgers Foote

Written by  Pro

DUI / DWI Attorney - Bangor, ME

Contributor Level 14

Posted about 5 years ago. 12 helpful votes


What you need to know about traveling to Canada if you have a DUI conviction.


Know if you will have a problem before you go to Canada

A DUI can cause serious problems if you intend to travel to Canada. Under Canadian law a DUI can make you an "inadmissible person." An "inadmissible person" is a person who cannot visit or stay in Canada because they have "committed" or been "convicted" of certain crimes in, or outside of, Canada. Generally, these crimes are ones that are indictable under Canadian federal law. Crimes that make a person inadmissible include any impaired diving offense, whether it is called OUI, DUI, DWI, DWAI, or something else. Since refusing a blood, breath or urine test is an indictable offense in Canada, a person who refuses a test in the United States is inadmissible, even if it is not a crime in the state where the refusal occurred. Inadmissibility includes offenses that a person has "committed," including suspensions by a state motor vehicle department for DUI or refusing a test, in some cases even if there is never a DUI conviction.


What DUI activity makes you inadmissible to Canada?

You are inadmissible for entry into Canada if any of these apply to you:A conviction for an impaired driving or excessive blood alcohol level.An administrative license suspension from a motor vehicle department for impaired driving or excessive blood alcohol. A conviction or administrative license suspension for failing to take an alcohol test. An outstanding warrant for any of the above. Pending charges for any of the above. The United States is sharing driver license and court record databases with Canadian immigration. If you are traveling to Canada you must assume that the Canadian government will find out about a conviction, suspension or pending charge


If you are inadmissible and go to Canada without permission you commit a crime.

There are certain important things to keep in mind if you think you may be inadmissible:If you are inadmissible, you are not permitted to enter Canada, even if you do not plan to drive in Canada.?Inadmissibility is a status created by Canadian law. It is a crime to enter Canada without a permit if you are inadmissible. If you violate this law you can be arrested, imprisoned and/or deported.


What to do to overcome this problem.

You can still legally enter Canada if:You are deemed to be rehabilitated if ten years have passed from the last court-ordered event (including a suspension or probation) and if you have no other indictable offenses on your record. You should contact your local Canadian consulate before you go to be sure.?Five years have passed or you have two or more indictable offenses you can apply for rehabilitation status. You must submit an application that includes various documents and pay a fee. ?If fewer than five years have passed there is one other option for entering Canada. It requires payment of a fee and application:?You can apply to the consulate or at the border for a temporary resident permit. These permits are granted in some circumstances and last up to six months.? I do not recommend applying at the border because it may not be granted.

Additional Resources

You can get more information about inadmissibility and the necessary entry application forms from the Canadian government. The website is listed below.

Canada and Criminal Inadmissibility

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