Despite meeting eligibility requirements, foreign individuals from any country may still be criminally inadmissible to Canada due to previous criminal conduct, or the criminal conduct of their dependents. In particular, if you are convicted of a DUI, entering Canada may be made more difficult.
Drunk driving charges are processed under a variety of names worldwide, but they all equally have the potential to create issues of criminal inadmissibility for foreigners entering Canada. Drunk driving charges that can make an individual criminally inadmissible include, but are not limited to, Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Driving While Impaired (DWI), Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated (OMVI), and Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI).
Americans should note that Canadian immigration law does not use the misdemeanour and felony offence system. Instead, there are summary offences (quite minor), indictment offences (more serious), and hybrid offence, which means that the violation can go either way depending on context. Therefore, determining if your offence outside of Canada makes you criminally inadmissible, you need to convert the same charge into the Canadian system and see whether it was a summary, hybrid or indictment offence.
Criminal inadmissibility can be overcome permanently by Criminal Rehabilitation or temporarily by obtaining a Temporary Resident Permit.
If an individual has only been convicted of a single DUI offence and a period of 10 years has passed since the completion of the entire sentence, including license suspensions and paying fines, then the individual may have been Deemed Rehabilitated. For more information on being Deemed Rehabilitated, click here.
In order to be eligible to apply for a finding of Criminal Rehabilitation, a period of 5 years must have elapsed since the completion of the entire sentence imposed for the DUI. If an individual has more than one DUI conviction, an application for Criminal Rehabilitation will be required as such an individual cannot be Deemed Rehabilitated. The same goes for serious indictment offences, such as those that cause bodily harm or used a weapon for example, as they are unable to be deemed rehabilitated and require criminal rehabilitation.
TRPs are granted to allow individuals, who would otherwise be inadmissible, to gain admission to Canada for a specific purpose. The specific purpose of the visit must be properly explained in any application for a TRP. For more information on Temporary Resident Permits, click here.
A DUI conviction can create complications in regards to temporary or permanent entry to Canada, however there remain a number of ways to overcome such issues. For more information on what Immigration program, or what application, you should be using to enter Canada, fill out this Assessment Form here.