Getting Into Canada After a DUI Conviction
Several years ago there was a time when a US citizen was allowed to go into Canada without any sort of intrusion or difficulties with the border patrol agents. Since 9/11 unfortunately a lot of things have changed at the border and the days of strolling into Canada with nothing more than a wink by the border patrol agents are long gone.
As a DUI Attorney I deal with a lot of people facing DUI charges, and sometimes people who have already been convicted. Its important to understand how to avoid certain collateral consequences such as a denial into Canada when reaching a resolution on a DUI matter. That alone would be an complete article and beyond what the scope of this. What I would like to address is what happens after a person is convicted of a DUI and how they can gain admittance into Canada after.
So lets talk about what happens if your DUI conviction is less than 5 years old. If you have recently been convicted of a DUI and you would like to gain entry into Canada as a US citizen your options are pretty limited. You can either try your luck at the border and risk being turned away. Or you can apply for a permanent resident permit. The cost is around $200 and be forewarned this course of action can take months and months, and there is a lot of paperwork to fill out.
If your DUI conviction is more than 5 years old then your options are a little better. As always you can try your luck at the border and risk being turned away. You can apply for the permanent resident permit discussed above. Or you can apply for approval of rehabilitation. The nonrefundable fee ranges from $200 to $1000 depending on the kind of crime and severity of the offense. What you need to provide in order to be approved is a police certificate of criminal history from every state you have ever resided in since age 18. You will also need to provide dates of every home and work address since age 18. Again like the permanent resident permit this course of action can take months and months, with the average time frame being over 1 year.
Now lets some more than 10 years has elapsed since your DUI conviction. Since so much time has elapsed the Canadian consulate has decided to make it easier for these folks. You can truly arrive at the border and apply for approval of rehabilitation right then and there as long as the application is properly filled out. If approved then your past DUI will no longer be an issue and you can come and go as you please, and experience everything Canada has to offer.
This is a tricky area of law that can be quite confusing and is often misinterpreted. It’s best to speak with an experienced DUI Attorney who practices in your state