Written by attorney Matthew A Leyba

How to get back into Canada after a DUI conviction

Since Washington State borders Canada a lot of Washington State residents travel there fairly often, for both pleasure and work. But what a lot of people may not know is a DUI can prevent you from entering Canada. Even having a DUI amended down to a reckless driving or negligent driving can still prevent entrance to Canada. There are essentially three ways to gain admittance after being convicted of a DUI.

1. If your DUI sentence is less than 5 years old

If the completion of your DUI sentence is less than 5 years old, you can apply for a temporary resident permit. Last time I checked the cost is around $200. However this process can take months.

2. If your DUI sentence is more than 5 years old

If your completed DUI sentence is more than 5 years ago, you can apply for approval of rehabilitation. The nonrefundable fee is $200 or $1000 (depending on the severity of the crime). You will need to provide a "police certificate" of criminal history, if any, from every State, which you have lived more than six months since age 18. Also, you will have to provide dates, home and work addresses for each state you lived in since age 18. Processing time can take a year or more.

3. If your DUI sentence is more than 10 years old

If you had one DUI completed over 10 years ago, you can apply for approval of of rehabilitation actually right at the border. You arrive at the border with application completed in hand. If approved, the past DUI will no longer be an issue, and you can come and go as you please.

This is a tricky area of the law especially with DUI charges, DUI reductions, and Washington State being so close to Canada. Below are some links for additional information. Remember if you have any questions feel free to call my office to speak with an experienced DUI Attorney.

Additional resources provided by the author

You can also call the immigration section of the Canadian Consulate at 206-443-1372 or visit

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