This question comes up more and more often as the United States continues to increase enforcement and lower Blood Alcohol limits. The short answer is No, you can’t get into Canada with a DUI, a DWI, or any state’s equivalent charge. At least not without jumping through a series of hoops set up by the Canadian government.
Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Impaired is the equivalent of a felony charge in Canada, triggering what Canadians call Inadmissibility. Canadian officials will not let you into the country if your FBI record shows this type of conviction, unless you are able to qualify for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation (CR).
Temporary Resident Permits will allow someone who is inadmissible to enter Canada for a limited period of time. To qualify you need to have a significant reason for entering Canada, such as a business trip or travel which benefits Canada or a Canadian citizen. You still need to apply and be approved prior to entering the country.
If 5 years or more have passed, you may be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation. If this is approved, you will be deemed admissible and you will not have any restrictions on the duration or purpose of your travel in Canada. Both Temporary Resident Permits and Criminal Rehabilitation take a significant amount of time to gain approval, so a timely application to the Canadian officials is paramount.
If 10 years or more have elapsed, and you have only one non-serious conviction, you should be deemed rehabilitated without requiring an application. In any scenario, it is always a good idea to consult with a Canadian immigration attorney prior to navigating these regulations.
As always, be safe and if you have a pending DUI charge in Colorado call us at 303-756-3231 for a free consultation.
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