Canada DUI Entry: 2019 ChangesThere were major changes to Canada’s DUI entry rules in 2018 and 2019. Changes to Canada’s entry rules were not direct, but a consequence of changes to Bill-C46 coming into power on December 18th,2018. Those changes made visitors that could previously enter Canada legally after a waiting period of 10 years, including those from the United States, become inadmissible no matter how long has passed.

Canada DUI Changes in 2018

Bill-C46 upped the maximum charge for DUI (Driving under the influence – same as DWI ) in Canada to a 10-year prison sentence. This meant that a DUI charge was also upgraded to become a major offence or “serious criminality” for legal purposes. It’s the upgrading of a DUI to be considered “serious criminality” that changed crossing with a DUI going forward.

Border Crossing with A DUI

Prior to December 18th,2018 a foreign DUI charge was a considered a minor offence as the Canadian criminal charge was a maximum of 5 years in prison. Border officials would allow visitors from the US and other countries to enter provided that ten years had passed since they completed their sentencing requirements for their DUI charges. So basically, after any fines or time served were completed, waiting a further 10 years would give a person without other charges a very good chance of being “deemed rehabilitated”. Deemed rehabilitation would allow people with old DUI’s to enter Canada.

When the maximum charge for a DUI in Canada was increased to 10 years in prison, “deemed rehabilitation” no longer applied as the previously minor offence was now a major offence.

DUI Entry Rules Changes Affected Millions

The scope of the problem was enormous. Tens of millions of Americans and people from around the world became inadmissible over night. Truck drivers, airline pilots, visitors of all kinds, would be potentially inadmissible. The effect of the changes would also cause problems for people immigrating or seeking refugee status in Canada. From what we have been able to learn, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) did not immediately enforce the rule changes. Potentially millions of visitors would have had to pay to apply for rehabilitation and then wait up to a year to gain entry to Canada.

DUI Entry Rule Changes in 2019

Early in 2019 Canada’s Immigration Minister’s made a statement in the media, “anyone deemed rehabilitated for an impaired driving offence outside Canada before December 18, 2018…” “…would not need to reapply for relief to overcome inadmissibility due to that same offence.”
Deemed rehabilitation was grandfathered in for any foreign national convicted of a DUI prior to December 18, 2018. It should be noted that this is simply a policy and not a legal change. Policies are subject to change as the administration deems fit. This means a change in government could potentially mean a change in this policy.

How Long Do You Have to Wait to Go to Canada After A DUI?

Right now, with no other criminal charges, the waiting period for anyone with a DUI conviction prior to December 18th, 2018 is 5 years with an application and 10 years without a formal application. The waiting period begins after their full sentencing requirements are completed. Any additional criminal charges will require the application for “criminal rehabilitation” be made.

Automatic eligibility for entry to Canada with an old DUI requires a waiting period of 10 years after sentencing requirements are completed. This has been grandfathered for convictions prior to December 18th, 2018.

Questions?

Everyone’s situation is unique and it’s always a good idea to ask questions to get the correct answers. For a free consultation simply give Mitch a call T (204) 488-6350 or 1-800-438-7020. Alternatively, you may complete the contact form on this page.

84 thoughts on “Canada DUI Entry: 2019 Changes

  1. I had a DUI in December 2005 & sentencing was completed September 2006. I have had no other
    convictions/criminal charges since. Is there anything I need to do if I plan to travel to Canada either by car or air?

    Thanks!
    Barb

    • If that single DUI conviction was your only offence in your entire lifetime, and it has been more than 10 years since you completed your sentencing requirements, then you are referred to as ‘Deemed Rehabilitated’ and are no longer inadmissible to Canada.

  2. DANIELLE WEBER says:

    If I had a DUI October 2013 and paid my fines and sentencing by September 2014 and I’ve had no other offenses, would I be ok to travel into Canada?

    • At this point in time you would be considered ‘inadmissible’ and might be refused entry. If you’d like to overcome this, my office can certainly help. Please feel free to call at (204) 488-6350, or send an email to info@bordercrossing.ca if you are interested.

  3. I received a DUI 08/2012 and fines and sentencing were completed 01/2013. I’ve had no other convictions or tickets. Can I travel into Canada from the US?

    • Hi Janet,

      If that is her only arrest/offence in her entire lifetime and it’s been more than 10 years since she completed her sentencing requirements then she is no longer inadmissible to Canada.

    • Hi Tom, Usually two convictions of that sort would make you inadmissible to Canada however I’d need to see records to make a proper assessment. Please feel free to email me at info@bordercrossing.ca or give my office a call: (204) 488-6350 if you’re interested in applying to overcome this.

    • Those with one DUI conviction in their entire lifetime, and no other arrests/offences what so ever, are ‘Deemed Rehabilitated’ and able to enter Canada again once 10 years has passed from the completion of all sentencing requirements.

  4. Can an expunged wet reckless ticket in California in 2015 make me inadmissible for permanent residency in Canada or Fail me in criminality checks of PR application?I am currently in Canada on a work permit.

  5. My son wants to join us on vacation August 2021. Civil motorcycle DUI in July 2019. No other record. He will not be driving. What does he need to do? Thanks!

  6. I had my first and last DUI in Illinois and had supervision which I completed all the requirements for and was released on 1-10-2012. The offense does not show up in my driving record. Can I enter Canada to go on a moose hunt in September of 2021?

  7. I had a DUI in 2010 and another one in 2013 and fines and 3 day jail sentence were completed by 2014. Am i inadmissible still?

  8. If I had a reckless driving charge in 2011, and I finished paying the fines in 2013, when will I be able to get into Canada? Can I go once it reopens after COVID?

  9. Do you need to take any particular actions Prior to arrival if you are in the deemed rehabilitated category (20 years post DUI conviction in my husband’s case) or can you just show up at the border with your passport? Thanks.

  10. Hi I had a DUI in 2012 that has since been expunged from my record in the USA. I am planning on an Alaska Cruise that departs from Vancouver
    Am I able to enter Canada to board my cruise ship?

  11. I was convicted of an OVI on December 19, 2018. I was arrested for it in May of 2018 but did not have my final court appearance until December 19th, 2018. It was my first offense minus minor speeding tickets. I have had no other charges or offenses since. Once the border restrictions due to COVID-19 are removed, how do I go about being granted permission to enter Canada?

    Respectfully,
    Angie

  12. My boyfriend got a dui on a scooter in 2019. He has no other offenses and has completed all requirement. Would he be able to travel to Canada for vacation?

  13. Doraldo the exploraldo says:

    What if you do not drive and do not have a license from a couple DUIs in 2017 and want to ride your bike in canada or take a stroll aboot the countryside

  14. Ashleigh Gilbert says:

    Bless your heart for all these questions. What would happen of someone tried to enter Canada and they said your not deemed rehabilitated? My husband’s dui was 20+ years ago but I’m to scared of what would happen if they said no to even try. Will they just turn you around? Can they charge you for trying?

    • Most of the time, you are allowed to withdraw your application to enter and will just be sent back to the United States but it depends on your cooperation, honesty, etc. If he wants to make sure he’ll be able to cross then I can be of assistance with an application. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions in regards to what’s needed: (204) 488-6350 / info@bordercrossing.ca

  15. Hello, I had 2 DUI’s, first in 2001 and the second in 2005. Since then I’ve been clean. Am I able to cross into Canada for a vacation? If the answer is no, how does Canada know I have a DUI anyhow if they ask, do they have access to the United States criminal system? Thanks

    • Hi there, if you have multiple DUI convictions you’re considered ‘inadmissible’ no matter how long has passed – Canada and the US share national crime databases. If you’d like to overcome this, please feel free to reach out to me at (204) 488-6350 or info@bordercrossing.ca and we can confidentially go over what’s required.

  16. Hello,
    I have a OWI in 1999 and a DUI in 2006 in USA. I have my license in USA now and have no other charges ever. Can I visit Canada now or will I be rejected at the border?
    Thank you,
    Michael

  17. Hello,

    At 21 years old, I had a DWUI , and another sealed offence in my records. I am now 29 years old now and haven’t gotten an offense ever since.
    I now work as an essential worker in the medical field. will I be accepted into canada from the USA?

  18. I had a dui in 1989 and 2000 all penalties probation everything completed I think i had a summary probabtion on the last one which would have been completed in 2005 . what do I need to do. I dont drink

  19. Hello,

    I received a dui in November of 2016 and completed all my requirement in 2017. Am I understanding the law that I’d be “deemed rehabilitated” and can gain entry in 2027 if I receive no other infractions? That I’m “grandfathered” in?

    • Hi Dawn, if your offence happened prior to the legislation change (December 18, 2018) then you are ‘grandfathered’ in and will be able to be deemed rehabilitated after 10 years.

  20. I dont have any plans to travel to Canada in the near future but I di get convicted of a dui in 97and another one in 2004 and I had a few other non dui related charges but no felonies and no criminal charges after 2006, would I still be banned from ever travelling there

  21. Hi I was convited DUI in Dec 2012 I was only fined no sentence . I was in NZ at that time . Now I am in India and will be applying for VIsitor Visa next year. will there be a problem .

    • Hi there,

      A DUI makes you ‘inadmissible’ for at least 10 years following the completion of your sentencing requirements. There are ways to overcome this however, if you’d like to reach out to me at (204) 488-6350 or info@bordercrossing.ca then I can advise further.

  22. Hello,

    I was convicted of a DUI in August 2015 and paid all fees/met probation requirements in August 2016. I have had no other criminal charges since then. If I am understanding this correctly, would this mean that I am able to gain entry into Canada on August 2021?

    • Hi Paul, you will be eligible to apply for Rehabilitation in August 2021 if that’s when all of the sentencing requirements were completed. Rehabilitation is an application to the Canadian government which you need to get approved for before you’re able to overcome your inadmissibility. If you’re interested in hearing more about the application please feel free to reach out to me by phone or email.

  23. I’m a drive away truck driver and need to have access into Canada for work related issues but received a DUI in 2001. Will I have any problems entering into Canada?

    • Hi Tim, If you have one DUI conviction in your entire lifetime with no aggravating circumstances (and no other offences what so ever), then you’re no longer inadmissible to Canada once 10 years has passed from the completion of all sentencing requirements.

  24. Matthew smethurst says:

    Hi.

    I got convicted dui Nov 2014. Yet traveled to Canada in 2017. Then tried to travel again in 2019 and I got refused. If I was to try again to come in 2021 would I be deemed rehabilitated.

    • Hi there,

      You are not Deemed Rehabilitated until it’s been 10 years since you completed all sentencing requirements for your DUI offence. If you’re interested in overcoming this sooner than that, please feel free to reach out to my office at (204) 488-6350 or info@bordercrossing.ca

  25. I had a DUI in Idaho in Jan. 2015 all fines were paid and the sentence was completed in 2015 I received a withheld judgement and all charges were subsequently dropped. According to Idaho Law I technically haven’t had a conviction wondering how it would be seen in Canada and if I can travel to Canada for business.

  26. I had a dui, that was probation before judgement sept 2008. everything was completed sept 2009. Am I able to come to canada and not be refused entry?

    • Hi Daniel, if you have one DUI conviction in your entire lifetime and no other offences what so ever than you are no longer inadmissible to Canada once 10 years has passed from the completion of all sentencing requirements.

    • Hi Thomas, yes unfortunately that would be 2 separate offences and as you would be ‘inadmissible’ to Canada until you apply and are approved for ‘Rehabilitation’. If you have questions or would like assistance with that application than please feel free to give my office a call: (204) 488-6350 or send an email: info@bordercrossing.ca

  27. Barbara Johnson says:

    On 1/10/15, my husband was arrested in Maryland for DUI. We are US citizens. It was his first offense and he has no offenses since. At the trial on May 1, 2015, all charges were dropped except one, Driving Under the Influence Per Se. For that, he pled Not Guilty and the Judge granted Probation Before Judgment. It does not count as a conviction — different from being convicted and being placed on probation. His probationary period ended on 5/1/16. Can he enter Canada legally by car as a tourist for a day or two? Many thanks.

  28. Jason Thompson says:

    Hello, I’m in Washington state and in 2014 had the charge of Negligent Driving 1. Is this a charge that will keep me from driving into Canada?

  29. Reuben Schultz says:

    To whom it may concern,

    I had a DWI back in 2014 and the sentencing in 2015 (November). Would I have to wait till I carried out the sentence (which was 3 months probation that ended in February of 2016)? Or would the 5 years only have to pass from the date of sentencing?

    Thanks!

  30. My husband had a DUI 20-25 years ago and an assault charge when he was early 20,s. I have had 2 DUO’s last one 16years ago and the 1at one 10 years before that, does this make us unable to enter Canada.

    • Hi Kelly, having multiple convictions of those sorts makes you ‘inadmissible’ no matter how long has passed unfortunately. If you have any interest in applying to overcome this so that you can enter Canada, please feel free to reach out to my office at (204) 488-6350 or info@bordercrossing.ca

  31. Can a person who received a DUI in 2018 (this is the only thing on their record) visit Canada as a traveling passenger for a family road trip for 2 days?

  32. I had a a DUI in Jan 1984 and another in June 2018. I completed probation Dec 2019. Would I be eligible for consideration to travel to Canada in Dec 2024 with full admission in 2029?

    • If you have only one DUI conviction in your entire lifetime, and no other charges/arrests what so ever, than you’re able to enter Canada once it’s been 10 years since you completed all sentencing requirements.

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