Whether it is for business or pleasure, people travel for many reasons. As American citizens, we are generally used to being able to travel freely to any location. However, this freedom can be limited if a person has a criminal record.
For some people, being convicted of driving while intoxicated is a cause of concern because of the legal effects it has on their life in the United States, but it also may prevent them from going to neighboring countries. Before you can understand how a DUI conviction may prevent you from entering Canada, you must first understand why the Canadian government would want to keep people with DUIs out of the country.
According to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), a person may be denied entry into Canada if they are "convicted of an offense outside of Canada which if committed in Canada would be an offense under the Act of Parliament punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years."
Essentially, the Canadian government is trying to keep Canadian citizens as safe as possible by not carelessly exposing them to individuals who have a record of dangerous or threatening behavior. While DUI convictions can fall under this category, so can a multitude of other offenses including,
· Illegal trafficking
How do you get permission to enter Canada?
There are two main methods for gaining entry to Canada with a DUI conviction.
1) Criminal rehabilitation
If you have been convicted of driving under the influence and have completed the sentence (this means paying all fines, completing all court-ordered programs, courses, probation, etc.) you will have to wait five years. If you have had no other charges within that five-year period, you are considered rehabilitated and you can enter Canada freely.
2) Temporary Resident Permit
This permit allows a person to enter Canada for a set amount of time. The maximum window of time for a TRP is 3 years. As the name states, this is a temporary solution, but it can be very helpful.
Because this type of situation involves international law, it can become complicated very quickly. The United States Customs and Border Protection agency has some resources that may answer additional questions. However, if you have had issues getting into Canada because of a conviction, or if you think you may have issues it is highly suggested that you seek out the services of an experienced legal professional who specialized in this area of law. They will be able to work with you to find the best solution possible.