Last Updated on July 17, 2018
Here you will find:
- An overview of why individuals who have been convicted of impaired driving may not be allowed to enter Canada.
- Information on how individuals who have been convicted of impaired driving can overcome their inadmissibility to Canada.
Why individuals who have been convicted of impaired driving may not be allowed to enter Canada?
Many citizens of other countries may be surprised to discover that, if you have been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), you can be found criminally inadmissible to Canada. If you are found criminally inadmissible to Canada, you will not be allowed to enter the country.
This comes as a surprise to some because, in many countries around the world, impaired driving is seen as a minor or misdemeanour offence. In Canada, however, driving while impaired is seen as a more serious crime and is likely to cause a person who has been convicted of the crime to be denied entry into Canada. This is due to clauses in Canadian law, which state that a person can be deemed criminally inadmissible to Canada if they commit a crime outside of Canada that, if committed in Canada, would constitute a serious crime. For more information on how the Canadian government assesses inadmissibility for individual criminal acts, click here.
It is also important to note that Canada will refuse entry to individuals who have been convicted of any sort of impaired driving charge, not just DUIs. Examples of impaired driving charges are:
- Driving While Impaired (DWI).
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).
- Operating Under the Influence (OUI).
- Wet and Reckless (W&R).
- Reckless Driving.
- Driving without Due Care and Attention.
There are certain legal avenues, however, that can allow a person to enter Canada despite being having been convicted of impaired driving.
Information on how individuals who have been convicted of impaired driving can overcome their inadmissibility to Canada.
Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)
This solution is only a temporary one but it is the quickest solution to access if you would like to enter Canada as soon as possible. This is also the only option available to those who have been convicted of impaired driving less than five years prior to their attempt to enter Canada. TRPs can be applied for in advance at a Canadian visa office abroad or when entering Canada at a port of entry. You will only be eligible for a TRP if:
- Your impaired driving conviction is the ONLY crime you have committed. Note: you will still be allowed to get a TRP if you were convicted of two crimes arising from the same event.
- You did not serve a jail term for impaired driving.
- The impaired driving conviction did not involve any property damage.
The decision on whether or not to issue a TRP is based entirely on the opinion of the Canadian immigration official who is assessing your admissibility to Canada. Generally, TRPs are given to people who can prove that the need for them to enter Canada outweighs any potential risks or dangers that they would pose to Canada upon entering the country. A TRP, however, can only be issued for 3 years at most and can be cancelled at any point if Canadian officials deem it necessary.
It is also worth noting that some individuals who have been convicted of impaired driving may be excused from having to pay the TRP processing fee of $200. You will be exempt from the fee if:
- You did not go to jail for your crime.
- You did not commit any other crimes that would make you inadmissible to Canada.
For more information on TRPs, click here.
For more information on Temporary Resident Permit Fees, click here.
In some cases, you will be considered deemed rehabilitated from your impaired driving offense without having to make an official rehabilitation application to the Canadian government. If you are deemed rehabilitated, you will be allowed to enter Canada. Being deemed rehabilitated depends on the amount of time that has passed since you finished all sentences, fines and probation periods related to your crime.
Usually, you will have to wait 10 years to be deemed rehabilitated of an impaired driving offense. Also, you can only be deemed rehabilitated if you have not been convicted of impaired driving more than once. Lastly, if your conviction for impaired driving was one that, if committed in Canada, would receive a maximum jail sentence ofmore than 10 years, you will be unable to be deemed rehabilitated.
There are two main locations where a deemed rehabilitation can be confirmed. The first and most used location is a Canadian visa office. The second location is a Canadian port of entry. You can only be deemed rehabilitated at a Canadian port of entry, however, if you satisfy all of the following criteria:
- At least ten years have passed since you finished all jail terms and paid all relevant fees.
- The impaired driving conviction is not considered a serious crime under Canadian law. For more information on what constitutes a serious crime, click here.
- The crime did not involve any serious property damage, physical harm to any person, or any type of weapon.
A deemed rehabilitation assessment can take up to six months to process.
For more information on Deemed Rehabilitation, click here.
Individual rehabilitation involves a formal process by which you apply to the Canadian government to forgive you of your impaired driving offence. In order to be able to apply for individual rehabilitation, five years must have passed since you finished all sentencing, probation periods and fines related to your impaired driving offense. These applications take more than a year to process.
There are three ways of applying for individual rehabilitation.
If you are applying for individual rehabilitation and are living in Canada, you must mail your application to the Immigration Centre assigned to your area. To find the closest Centre, click here.
If you are applying for individual rehabilitation, living outside of Canada, and don’t have a visa to enter Canada (visitor, study or work), you must submit your application, along with all relevant visa applications to the nearest Visa Application Center. To find the closest Visa Application Center, click here.
If you are living outside of Canada, already have a visa, and are only submitting an application for individual rehabilitation, you must submit your application by mail to the visa office closest for your area. For more information, click here.
For more information on Individual Rehabilitation, click here.
For information on entering Canada despite being found inadmissible for prior criminal acts, click here.