Travelling to Canada with DUI and TRP

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If I have a DUI, how fast can I get a Temporary Resident Permit?

Mistakes happen! But what you may not know is that being charged with or convicted of Driving under the Influence (DUI), even if it is only a misdemeanour, could render you inadmissible to Canada. If you are planning to come to Canada whether it is for leisure, business, or even an emergency, you will need to obtain a Temporary Resident Permit before being allowed to enter Canada. A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is a document that’s allows otherwise inadmissible individuals into Canada for a predetermined time anywhere from a single day, to up to 3 years (multiple entries are permitted during this duration) depending on the situation.

What if I wasn’t charged with a DUI in Canada?

The Driving under the influence charge did not have to occur in Canada in order for you to be considered inadmissible. The majority of people denied entry to Canada due to DUI charges committed the offence in their home country. It is important to remember that any crime committed in any country could render you inadmissible to Canada without a Temporary Resident Permit, or Criminal Rehabilitation approval.

Some people believe not mentioning their DUI charges/convictions is an easy way to get around this, but be warned! The Canadian and American governments provide criminal history information to each other, meaning the border officials have access to criminal records of every individual who tries to enter Canada both at the border, or any other port of entry, such as an airport. Lying about your criminal history, or withholding information can lead to ‘misrepresentation’. This is especially dangerous, as misrepresentation could not only result in you being denied entry to Canada at the time, but could also negative impact your chances of being allowed to enter Canada again in the future. It is much safer to work with Immigration specialists such as Akrami & Associates in order to resolve your inadmissibility up front, to avoid issues both at the border, and in the future.

How do I obtain a Temporary Resident Permit?

There are 2 ways of obtaining a Temporary Resident Permit:

Applying for TRP at Consult:

Applying through a Canadian Consulate is recommended for anyone who is planning to travel to Canada well in advance, as the application processing time for this application is typically anywhere from 1-6 months. The positive side of applying through a Canadian Consulate is that the Officer processing the application has more time to review the provided documentation, and make an informed decision. Another positive is that if the TRP is rejected, you have not wasted time travelling to Canada, only to be turned away at the border or port of entry (this is especially costly if you have chosen to fly to Canada).

Applying for TRP at the Port of Entry:

Applying at the border or port of entry is unavoidable if you have to enter Canada on little to no notice (i.e. family emergency, attend a funeral, business meeting, etc.). The processing time for this application is usually only 1-2 hours, but officers have little time to review your application. If approved, entry to Canada is granted immediately; but if the TRP is rejected, you must leave Canada immediately, and return to your country of origin.

What if I fly into Canada instead of drive?

A DUI charge can still mean you are denied entry to Canada, even if you are not travelling by car while entering, or remaining in the country. Some people believe that by avoiding entry by car, or by flying into Canada, Officers will be less likely to turn them away and force them to fly home. This is not the case. All borders and port of entries follow the same regulations regarding individuals with criminal histories including DUI charges entering the country.

If you have chosen to fly into the country without having a Temporary Resident Permit approved in advance through a Canadian Consulate, you may choose to apply directly at the airport; but you run the same risk as anyone applying directly at any border crossing. If your TRP is rejected, you will have to fly home immediately.

What will be the duration of my Temporary Resident Permit?

The length/duration of the TRP is at the discretion of the Officer processing the application. Depending on the situation, you may be granted only a single day entry (i.e. medical appointment), a short-term TRP (i.e. 2 weeks to attend an international conference), or a longer term multiple entry TRP that allows you to come and go during the validity of your permit (maximum of 3 years).

There are many factors the Officer will consider when determining the length of your TRP if approved:

  • How long ago you were charged with your DUI- a recent infraction may make you less likely to have a TRP application approved
  • Multiple offenses- If you have reoffended, or been charged with multiple DUI’s, the Office is less likely to believe that you will not reoffend
  • The validity of your reason to enter Canada- an Officer is less likely to risk allowing you into Canada for leisure than they are for something such as a family emergency; this is referred to as the ‘need vs. risk’ factor.
  • Strength of your application- a poorly done application which fails to portray the need for your entry, as well as why you are a low risk reoffender may result in the Officer rejecting your application.
  • Have you met the conditions of previous Temporary Resident Permits issued- If you have been approved for a TRP in the past, the officer will consider whether or not you abided by the conditions of that permit (i.e. left Canada before the expiry of your original permit, etc.)
  • Passport duration- A Temporary Resident Permit’s expiry cannot exceed that of your passport, so ensure that your passport is not expiring soon if you are hoping to receive a TRP for a longer duration of time.

Is there a way to obtain a permanent Temporary Resident Permit?

Reapplying for Temporary Resident Permits before each visit, or even after several years can be a tedious process. Individuals with DUI charges that have completed their sentence more than 5 years ago are eligible to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation. This application is a lengthier process that can only be applied for through a Canadian Consulate, but if approved, means you are permanently pardoned for your previous criminal history.

If you are eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation, it is recommended that you apply for both applications if necessary, so that you can travel to Canada immediately (if approved) using the TRP, but will have the permanent benefits of the Criminal Rehabilitation for future Canadian travel.

Can I submit a Temporary Resident Permit application by myself?

Technically, you can submit a TRP application by yourself, but it is not recommended. Temporary Resident Permit applications are a complicated area of Canadian Immigration, made more difficult by the fact that you are already considered ‘inadmissible’ before applying. Your best chance at receiving an approval is by submitting a strong application with professional completed forms, ample evidence, and a strong narrative that highlights how you have undergone a change in behavior since your previous convictions, your remorse for your crimes, the validity of your need to enter Canada, and to thoroughly convince the officer that you will not reoffend while in Canada. This is best accomplished with the help of a skilled Immigration firm with hundreds of Temporary Resident Permit applications submitted on behalf of their clients. Don’t let a DUI charge prevent you from experiencing all that Canada has to offer, Akrami & Associates has the skills and experience needed to give you every advantage possible while navigating your inadmissibility, and Temporary Resident Permit application process. Contact us for a consultation today. With Akrami & Associates there is always a way!