Can You Enter Canada With a DWI Conviction?

Its close proximity and similar cultural norms can lead some individuals to forget that Canada is in reality a foreign country. It has its own unique requirements that must be obeyed before you can be given access to enter the country. Unfortunately criminal convictions – even convictions for minor infractions – can result in your entry into Canada being blocked.

Canadian law states that even if an individual has a valid passport and meets all conditions for admittance into the country, he or she can still be refused entry if he or she has been convicted of a crime. The crime does not have to take place within Canada’s boundaries. Convictions in the United States for a variety of crimes – including driving offenses – can result in a rejected entry.

Drunk driving arrests can prevent your entry into Canada.

Even DWI arrests without a conviction can lead to an individual being rejected at the border. Canadian law states that if a drunk driving trial is in progress, if a warrant is currently issued against you, if charges are pending, or if the Canadian border patrol official has cause to believe you’ve committed a criminal offense outside of Canada, your entry into the country can be denied.

The issue of Americans being refused access to Canada is not an insignificant one. The Canadian Border Services Agency has reported that thousands of Americans are denied entry at the border annually. Evidence reveals there has been an increase in the number of drunk driving-related denials recently. This is most likely due to Canada’s ability to easily access to U.S. criminal records.

If you have been convicted of a crime, are you permanently barred from entering Canada?

The short answer: not necessarily. If you have been denied entry into the country due to a criminal conviction, you might be granted access by applying for a Temporary Resident Permit or criminal rehabilitation. You can apply for rehabilitation if you committed a crime outside of Canada if at least five years has passed since the end of your sentence. To obtain entry you will have to prove the required time has passed and that you have led a stable lifestyle since your conviction. A stable lifestyle can be proven by the documentation of a permanent residence, keeping a job or by providing a reference letter.

Those pursuing criminal rehabilitation for entry into Canada should understand the process is not always a quick one. In many cases the application can take more than a year.

Questions? Contact a Minnesota DWI/DUI lawyer.

If you have been arrested for DUI/DWI, contact a local criminal defense lawyer is as soon as possible. Working with an attorney experienced with drunk driving cases will help you minimize the consequences after being charged with a DUI/DWI. Based in Minneapolis, attorney William J. Mauzy and his team represent individuals charged with alcohol-related driving offenses. Contact us today to have your case reviewed or your questions answered!