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Travel to Canada After DUI Conviction

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A DUI conviction in California (or in any other state) will prevent travel to Canada. Anybody with a DUI conviction is deemed “criminally inadmissible”. Canadian authorities are quite strict about who is allowed to enter the country and even lesser-DUI related charges, such as a “wet and reckless” will count as a DUI conviction. It is possible overcome Canadian criminal inadmissibility of a DUI conviction, but it is very difficult to do so. Here are some possible solutions.

Deemed Rehabilitation – You may be “deemed rehabilitated” if five to ten years have passed since the completion of your DUI sentence and you have not engaged in any other criminal activity. The number of years that you are required to wait depends on the severity of the underlying offense. You don’t have to submit an application if you are deemed rehabilitated, but we encourage you to contact the US Consulate to confirm your eligibility to enter Canada.

Individual Rehabilitation – You can apply for individual rehabilitation if you are currently leading a stable life and not involved in criminal activity. However, there is an extensive application process and you still have to wait five years after the completion of your DUI sentence to apply.

Under Canadian law, completion of your DUI sentence involves termination of all conditions of your sentence. For example, if you were received three years probation in your DUI case, your sentence is only completed after your probation expires. That means you would have to wait an additional five to ten years AFTER probation is expired to be eligible for deemed rehabilitation or individual rehabilitation.

Temporary Resident Permit – You can obtain a temporary resident permit at any time, but these permits are only justified under compelling circumstances. Such exceptional circumstances include reasons of national interest or strong humanitarian or compassionate grounds.

Pending DUI charges — You may not be able to visit Canada even if you have DUI charges pending. Canadian Immigration considers a visitor “criminally inadmissible” if they have pending DUI charges or an outstanding warrant for their arrest.

For more information on these solutions, you can visit Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration site.

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