Entering Canada with a DUI

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Crossing the Canadian Border with a DUI After 10 Years

Do you wish to enter Canada but have a DUI from 10 years ago that has been haunting you? Are you nervous about crossing the border or getting refused upon entry? It is important to remember to always disclose any past convictions or sentences as the immigration officer will most likely have access to this information. With the assistance of the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), immigration officers now have background information on any American that attempts to cross any Canadian border. Therefore, there are specific factors that you should consider before attempting to cross the Canadian border with an inadmissibility issue, such as a DUI. In this article, I will address those factors and other information you should be aware of as well as the options you have before attempting to enter Canada with a DUI.

What is a DUI

First and foremost, if you are unfamiliar with what a DUI is, I will begin by defining the term. A DUI is an abbreviation for “driving under the influence” which is an offence. Although this offence is common, it is considered a serious offence in Canada and, therefore, individuals who attempt to enter Canada will be deemed inadmissible.

What are my options if I have a DUI

The length of time that you would like to visit Canada for can determine what application would best suit your particular circumstance. Below, I will explain the different types of applications and scenarios that may be able to help you gain entry into Canada and dismiss your inadmissibility.

Deemed Rehabilitation

  • This option is only for individuals with one DUI conviction. Additionally, the DUI must be a misdemeanor. If you have more than one DUI conviction or your DUI is no a misdemeanor, then I would suggest looking at the other following options.
  • Immigration officers use their discretion to proceed with allowing or denying someone entry into Canada. They must abide by and use two specific documents which are the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). These two documents are enforced federally and thus apply to the entire country of Canada. Specifically, Deemed Rehabilitation is defined in Section 18 (2) (a) and (c) of the Regulations. With respect to this section, you may be Deemed Rehabilitated if you meet all of the required conditions. The primary condition, as previously mentioned, is that you must ensure you have no more than one offence on record outside of Canada. If, however, the offence was committed in Canada then it would qualify as an indictable offence under an Act of Parliament. Another important condition involves the time that has passed since the offence; 10 years must have passed since the day of completion of all the conditions with regards to your sentencing. The offence must also be recognized and punishable in Canada by a maximum term of less than 10 years imprisonment.
  • In conclusion, you may essentially be Deemed Rehabilitated if you have no other offence on record apart from the one DUI charge and have completed all of the conditions of your sentencing over 10 years ago. It is always advisable to bring the proper documentation to prove all of this information when crossing the border in case the officer asks.

Criminal Rehabilitation

  • If you have more than one DUI offence and do not qualify under Deemed Rehabilitation, then you may apply for Criminal Rehabilitation. Criminal Rehabilitation is different from Deemed Rehabilitation as 5 years must have passed since the completion of all of the conditions of your sentencing. There is also required documentation that you must provide for Criminal Rehabilitation in order to be considered. For instance, you must complete the appropriate forms; obtain FBI and State Police Clearances; provide adequate documentation of the completion of the conditions of your sentencing, such as paid fines, served probation periods, reinstatement of license, etc.; details of your employment, such as an employment letter and resume; reference letters from people that can attest to your rehabilitation; and lastly, identification documents, such as your passport and driver’s license.
  • All of the documentation must be submitted to the Canadian consulate for consideration. Criminal Rehabilitation applications do take a considerable amount of time; usually between 8 and 12 months, but it can take longer. Please note, however, it is determined by the immigration officers that are reviewing the application whether or not your application is approved or denied. Therefore, there unfortunately are no guarantees.
  • The benefit of applying for a Criminal Rehabilitation is that you no longer need to ask for permission to enter Canada as it permanently removes your inadmissibility. However, should you incur another offence after you have received your Criminal Rehabilitation, you will need to reapply and go through the process once again.

Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)

  • The last option, Temporary Resident Permit, can apply for individuals who are not Deemed Rehabilitated and are concerned for the processing times for Criminal Rehabilitation. It is also useful for individuals who need to enter Canada urgently for time sensitive matters, such as work purposes. The benefit of a TRP is that you don’t necessarily need to have completed 5 years since the completion of the conditions of your sentencing. Essentially, a TRP will allow you permission for a temporary entry into Canada. The documentation required for a TRP is the same as a Criminal Rehabilitation application with the exception of the forms.
  • Another great benefit of a TRP application is that you may submit it to the Canadian consulate, at a Port of Entry, such as an airport or at the Canadian border, or to both. This allows individuals more flexibility for travel plans, especially with the issue of a DUI.

Contact Akrami & Associates

It is essential that you have taken all of the aforementioned factors and information into consideration before you attempt to enter Canada. If you are inadmissible to Canada and would like to apply for any of the previously mentioned options, it is important to note that these are difficult applications to pursue on your own. It is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to submit the application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients gain entry into Canada as visitors. If you believe that you may be eligible for a Temporary Resident Permit or Criminal Rehabilitation, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advise. With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!