It is Illegal to Enter Canada with a DUI

Are you planning a trip to Canada any time soon?
There is a broad range of consequences that you happens for a DUI conviction. In the United States, if you get a DUI or DWI, defendants lose their license for 90 days, attend an online DUI school, thousands in dollars of fines, buy an ignition interlock device among tens of thousands paid in attorney fees. We all know that  getting a DUI or DWI affects drunk drivers in all aspects of life, such as job status or even travelling. Many people love to go on road trips, experience different culture, and go to different countries for pleasure or business.  But what happens when you go to a country and they turn you away because of your misdemeanor DUI or DWI offence in the United States?

Canada turns away anyone who has been convicted of a DUI. Canada, however forgives DUI or DWI records within 10 or more years.  When you traveling to Canada, border patrol will do a background check on every passenger in the vehicle tourists are in. When you arrive at the airport, and even if you take a ferry over.  If you travel to Canada by airplane, a CBSA Declaration Card is required, which is needed to present to security on arrival.  When at the border in a vehicle, border patrol performs a background check, even if they are not driving.  The Canadian Border Services Agency is able to access information on people through FBI criminal databases and is able to pull up information within 30 seconds per person at first inspection.

DUI Class is required to enter into Canada

Before November 23rd, 2015 every passenger was scanned and border patrol was only looking for wanted individuals or looking for lost/stolen or even fraudulent passports. In 2015, Canada has increased border security by 26% and has spent over $1 million dollars to improve their systems.  

The CBSA is able to see if you have had a DUI on your record, after you are processed within 30 seconds, so there is no point in lying to border patrol or security, because it will just make things worse.  If you lie to border patrol about have a DUI or DWI on your criminal record, or even try to enter Canada at a different Port of Entry (POE), multiple times in the same day without being legally able to, Canada has the right to ban you from the country all together.

It is best to get seek legal advice from an immigration lawyer two to three months before you plan on entering Canada.  

You will be able to enter Canada if you have followed the proper legal channels and if you do not have more that one DUI on your record. Canada denies entry into their country because they consider a DUI or DWI as a Federal criminal offence and the consequences are similar to that of the United States of America as well, you can read more about Canadian DUI Laws here. Canada will allow you to enter after you file the correct paperwork as well as only have one DUI or DWI on your record, which documentation takes about 6 months on average to process.  Once they scan your passport you will be turned away if you had not completed a Temporary Resident Permit or have not completed Criminal Rehabilitation.  

Drunk driving class

2 ways that you can enter Canada with a first offence DUI or DWI on your criminal record

You can fill out a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) in advance or at the POE at second inspection, or you can complete Criminal Rehabilitation. The Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is a temporary solution that will only work for a specified amount of time.  If this document is not filled out correctly, then you can be turned away when you attempt to enter Canada.  The TRP can take 2 – 3 months to complete, so it is advised to speak to an immigration lawyer if you have a DUI and you need to enter Canada for work or even personal reasons.

Criminal Rehabilitation is more of a permanent option, if you do not want to have any problems entering Canada multiple times.  This process usually takes 9 months or more and you will have to have completed all of the requirements for your first offence DUI.  This includes taking a DUI class which we have available at   If you need to complete a DUI course online, please take a look at our website.  You will also have to make sure all fines and fees are paid off to be able to complete Criminal Rehabilitation.

If you are planning a trip to Canada, please take a look at this U.S. Customs and Border Protection page for contact information for the CBSA.

You can learn more about how you can enter Canada when you have a first offence DUI on your record Here & Here
Attend a Nevada DUI School