Getting Into Canada with a DUI Charge

Washington State borders Canada, so it’s no surprise that a lot of residents of The Evergreen State visit the neighboring country regularly, for both business and pleasure. However, what many folks don’t know is that having a DUI charge, even if it’s reduced, can bar you from entering Canada.

Getting into Canada with a DUI charge

In fact, many convictions in the US can make a person inadmissible to Canada, including reckless driving, first-degree negligent driving, and reckless endangerment. In our neighboring country, inadmissibility is determined by comparing the gravity of the crime in the US with elements of the Canadian equivalent. Unfortunately, DUIs are treated as a hybrid offense, which means they may very well provide grounds for inadmissibility.

Not all DUI lawyers in Washington State are familiar with the pitfalls, setbacks, and other elements of a reduced DUI charge or general Canadian immigration law. It’s always important to contact a reliable attorney that can guide you down the right path on your quest to getting into Canada with a DUI.

How to Gain Admittance to Canada Following a DUI Conviction*

Gaining admittance into Canada after a DUI is not a quick or straightforward procedure. It requires a lot of time and patience—extensive knowledge of Canadian immigration laws can also significantly speed up the process.

There are essentially three ways of getting into Canada after being convicted of a DUI, but they all have different time requirements. These are:

1. If Your DUI Sentence is Less than 5 Years Old – Temporary Resident Permit

If your DUI conviction was completed less than 5 years ago you can enter Canada by applying for a temporary resident permit or TRP. The cost of the application is around $200 Canadian Dollars, and if approved, it may allow visitors to enter Canada multiple times for as long as three years.

Keep in mind that TRP applications can take months to process, so having a professional DUI attorney can help you file all pertinent paperwork on time, thus improving your chances of getting accepted.

2. If Your DUI Sentence is More Than 5 Years Old – Criminal Rehabilitation

People that completed their conviction more than 5 years ago can apply for criminal rehabilitation before departing for Canada. This application costs either $200 or $1000 depending on the severity of the crime and it may take more than a year to be accepted, but it grants applicants permanent entry to Canada for both business and leisure.

Criminal rehabilitation applicants will have to provide a police certificate of criminal history from every state they’ve lived in for more than 6 months since the age of 18. Not only this, but Canadian authorities will also require home and work addresses, as well as the dates you lived and worked at each one.

3. If Your DUI Sentence is More Than 10 Years Old – Rehabilitation By the Passage of Time

As long as you only have one single misdemeanor DUI conviction that occurred more than 10 years ago, you may apply for rehabilitation by the passage of time right at the Canadian border. All you have to do is arrive at the border with your application letter completed and hand it to the immigration officer along with your passport.

Note that your admissibility is still granted at the immigration officer’s discretion, but there is a higher chance of acceptance. And, once your application is accepted, you won’t have to worry about driving or flying into Canada with a DUI anymore, as long as you don’t rack up a new charge of course!

Finding a Reliable Criminal Defense Attorney that understands travel restrictions

If you’re asking yourself what are the travel restrictions with a DUI arrest, then you’ll probably want legal guidance to help you understand Canadian admissibility regulations.

At Leyba Defense, our team of seasoned Seattle DUI Attorneys understands the legal consequences that people convicted of driving under the influence may face—this includes inadmissibility to Canada and other legal repercussions that may arise due to the DUI charge.

Get in touch with us today and schedule a confidential, 60-minute free consultation so we can discuss details of your case. You can contact us by giving us a call or by filling out our online contact form and schedule an appointment in Seattle or in one of our satellite offices. Contact Leyba Defense today!

*The information provided on this page is for informative purposes only.  Leyba Defense PLLC does not provide legal representation for individuals seeking criminal rehabilitation into Canada