How to get into Canada with a DUI

Q. I have a DUI charge and I need to enter Canada for business. I am a US Citizen and was charged with a DUI three years ago. How can I enter Canada quickly?


A.  As someone with a DUI charge that occurred less than 5 years ago, you will likely require a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) in order to be admitted into Canada. A DUI charge will render you inadmissible to Canada as a visitor for pleasure or business. Therefore you would have to apply for a TRP. Now a TRP can be obtained, if you are American, right at the Canada/US Border.

However, there are risks in trying to get a TRP this way. If you apply for a TRP at the border you could get refused on the spot and be turned away.  Most of our clients opt to apply at the border only in cases where they have an urgent need to enter Canada. If you are approved for a TRP then, you can be admitted to Canada during the validity of the TRP, usually up to 6 months.

But if you can wait a few months before entering Canada, it is best to apply for your TRP at the Canadian Consultate. This way you will be “pre-approved”  and will not run the risk being turned away.

How can I qualify for Canadian entry?

In order to qualify for a TRP, you will need to demonstrate that your offence was not serious enough to warrant denial of admission to Canada and that your visit will be temporary and there will not be any risk of re-offending especially while in Canada. It is therefore essental that you prepare a very strong TRP application with all the supporting documentation including your criminal background information.  TRP applicants are often refused so preparing in advance is key.

Where can I get more information about my DUI and entry to Canada?

We have extensive experience in helping people with DUIs and other offences for entry to Canada. So long as we can show that the risk of re-offending vs. the reasons for entry are in your favour, we can usually get  you admitted. But lots of paperwork needed. However, each case is different so it is essential to prepare in advance. For more information about denied entry to canada you can visit our webpage on this subject.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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