Traveling to Canada After DUI: Issues to Consider

After a DUI conviction, you’re bound to face a number of challenges. Yes, there are fines, jail or prison time, probation, and other penalties levied against you. Yet there are many other consequences and restrictions you may not be aware of. That’s why having a skilled Phoenix, AZ DUI defense attorney is crucial.

With this in mind, we want to consider some of the challenges a person may face when crossing the border to Canada if he or she has a drunk driving conviction on their record. It’s not as simple as having a valid passport. As you’re about to read, these issues can be much more complicated than you expect.

Can You Be Denied Entry to Canada Due to Drunk Driving?


While a single, first-offense DUI conviction may be okay, you could be denied entry into Canada because of a criminal conviction. Even if you do not intend to drive while in Canada, you may still be turned back at the border or unable to fly into the country because your DUI makes you criminally inadmissible to enter Canada.

Specifically with drunk driving, you will be denied entry into Canada if the nature of your crime in the United States could be, if committed in Canada, punishable by at least 10 years in prison. This covers all kinds of felonies and misdemeanors, and could include a DUI offense under certain circumstances. The older the DUI conviction, the greater chance you have of entering Canada with few problems.

Potential Differences Based on State the DUI Occurred

Since the US has different statutes and penalties from state to state, there’s an additional complication to consider. These state differences regarding DUI laws could make you more or less likely to be denied entry into Canada depending on which state your drunk driving conviction occurred.

This is why having a skilled drunk driving lawyer on your side is so helpful. They can assess your situation, and then consider solutions such those we’ll note below.

Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)

A temporary solution to these travel issues is applying for a TRP. This allows people to visit Canada for a specified amount of time as long as they have a valid reason to be in the country. TRPs can take time to obtain, so be sure to apply for one well ahead of your trip to Canada.

Keep in mind that if you plan to visit Canada again at a later time, you’ll need to apply for another TRP.

Criminal Rehabilitation

A permanent solution to these travel issues is applying for Criminal Rehabilitation. Essentially, this involves a person petitioning the Canadian immigration authorities to forgive their stateside DUI conviction and allow entry into Canada.

To be granted Criminal Rehabilitation, five years has to pass after the person has:

  • Served their full time for the conviction
  • Paid all penalties and fees
  • Completed community service
  • Fulfilled all conditions associated with the conviction

If Criminal Rehabilitation is granted, the person will not need to worry about being denied entry into Canada again.

Deemed Rehabilitation

Rather than petitioning for Criminal Rehabilitation, you could be deemed rehabilitated if you served your debt to society for your conviction, 10 years has elapsed since that time, and your criminal record is clean otherwise. In such cases, Canadian authorities may deem you rehabilitated and eligible to enter the country.

Learn More About the Challenges After Drunk Driving

For more information about penalties and difficulties you may face after a DUI conviction, be sure to speak with a skilled drunk driving lawyer. Our team will be here to offer insight and assistance during your time of legal need.

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