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Criminal records are a very common reason why people would be denied entry to the United States and Canada. A DUI conviction is one of the most common criminal records that travelers are dealing with when they try to enter each country. While both countries take DUIs seriously, Canada takes them more seriously than the United States. This is because one DUI may not result in inadmissibility to the United States, rather multiple DUIs will or a DUI in conjunction with other charges.
However in Canada, you are most likely going to be denied entry to Canada because of a single DUI.
What does being denied entry mean? It means that you will not be allowed to enter the country. If you’ve arrived by land, you must turn around and return to the US. If you’ve arrived by air, you will be put on the next flight home.
While Canada does take DUIs very seriously, that does not mean that you are going to be inadmissible to Canada no matter what forever and ever. You have options!
You may be eligible to apply for something called a temporary resident permit, or a TRP. This will allow you to enter Canada on a temporary basis, even though you would ordinarily be inadmissible to Canada because of your conviction. A TRP can be applied for at the US-Canada border, or you can apply for one at your Canadian embassy or consulate. Keep in mind that applying at the border can be more risky because you can be denied for one and have travelled all that way.
Another option is criminal rehabilitation, which cannot be done at the border. While it takes longer and has to be done through the consulate or embassy in your country, this process is more permanent.
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