DUI Entry TO Canada Changes

DUI Entry to Canada Set To Become More Difficult

The Canadian government just passed legislation that’s going to make it even more difficult to enter Canada with a DUI. The amendments increased the maximum sentence in Canada for impaired driving from 5 to 10 years. This effectively means that a DUI charge is no longer a minor offence and is now elevated to the category of “serious criminality”. This increase will affect border crossing eligibility for anyone entering Canada with an old DUI.

Drinking and driving in Canada has been a Federal criminal offense since 1921.

Previously Entry to Canada With A DUI Was Possible

Driving impaired can be grounds for being found inadmissible when trying to cross the border into Canada. That said, a process call “deemed rehabilitation” could allow a person to be admissible despite having a single past DUI conviction. Deemed rehabilitation only applies to people who have one criminal offence that is punishable by a sentence of less than 10 years in Canada. For full details see the government website.

New Legislation Affects Everyone Convicted of DUI

By elevating impaired driving offences to “serious criminality”, the amendments will remove the possibility of “deemed rehabilitation” allowing entry into Canada. Individuals who have previously assessed to be “deemed rehabilitated” and were allowed entry to Canada, may now be found inadmissible.

Criminal code amendments make individuals with DUI offences inadmissible in 180 days from June 21st, 2018.

Time Is Running Out

If you will be inadmissible to Canada under the new amendments, you have roughly 6 months to apply for Temporary Resident Permit or Individual Rehabilitation before they come into effect. Once the amendments are active and the increase in sentencing for impaired driving is in force, it will likely become significantly more difficult to be approved for either of the two applications.

Application fess set to increase 500% & approval expected to be more difficult.

There is an additional incentive to apply quickly. The government fee for processing a rehabilitation request for an impaired driving charge is going to jump from $200 to $1000 when the new legislation comes into effect.

What to Do?

Apply now for either a Temporary Resident Permit or Individual Rehabilitation request. To help you decide which is best for your situation, we offer free consultations to assess your case. Simply call us at (204) 488-6350 or 1-800-438-7020.

30 thoughts on “Dui Entry to Canada Set To Become More Difficult

  1. Please note I”am a licence Outfitter in New Brunswick and this will affect our business some what . So if any new information come out please send it to us


    • Stevie Farmer says:

      There is a competition there in Canada, in Whistler B.C. that my partner and I would love to go to. I am worried that my past drug conviction in 1999(ALL done with all that now) will make it a problem for us to enter by vehicle from the United States. That is my only problem. What do you suggestI do so we can enjoy a trip there next year?Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  2. Bob Lonsberry says:

    No offense, but a lot of Canadians I meet at stores or restaurants in Buffalo, NY always criticize the U.S. for not letting enough immigrants or refugees into our country. I had received a DUI for CANNABIS possession which is a plant that your country recreationally legalized. I find it ironic that I cannot get into Canada even just to visit, because of a DUI charge 5 years ago due to a plant that your country legalized…from my stand point it just make those Canadians sound like hypocrites

    • Hi Bob,

      Please be aware that it has never been legal to drive under the influence of Cannabis in Canada past or present. If you have any questions about overcoming this, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

  3. I had a single DUI 14 years ago (minor, no accident or actual driving offense) with no other criminal offenses and have been able to enter Canada with no issues for the past several years but I am confused about the new law. I do not know if I am still permitted to visit Canada because my offense and all sentencing was completed over 10 years ago and “deemed rehabilitated” or if I will now be denied entry forever? Everything I try to read about it is pretty confusing so I can’t really find a straight answer. I contacted someone several months ago about it and they advised I wait until after the new law went into effect before taking any additional action because there was still a lot of discussion going on but now that the new law is in effect I can’t really find anything definitive about how this would affect someone in my situation.

    • Hi there,

      It is indeed very confusing right now, if you’d like to discuss your situation in detail please contact my office at (204) 488-6350 and we can talk specifically about your situation.

      • My husband got a DUI 32 years ago and that was his only offense … With this new law will he not be able to go to Canada for our son’s wedding?

        • Hi Lisa,

          Those with a DUI conviction prior to the passing of this new legislation (December 18, 2018), will continue to be assessed under the old legislation. Meaning, those with one DUI conviction, and no other arrests/charges what so ever, will be Deemed Rehabilitated once 10 years passed from the completion of their sentencing requirements.

  4. Well I guess my tourism dollars will be staying here in WNY or going elsewhere. I knew that one offense would haunt me,
    but having paid all the fines and 3 years having past, I was looking forward to eating at Happy Jacks again, seeing the nicer side of the falls with my son and spending some quality time and cash over there again.

    I’ll still have to dodge all the crazy drivers with Ontario plates who come over to our side of the falls to shop though. Really, you guys might not be drunk or stoned, but you are terrible drivers.

  5. We are currently building a house there, and immigrating to Canada in early 2020. I am a Canadian citizen, we have a 2 year old child who is a Canadian citizen, and my wife is an American citizen. We live in the US right now. My wife had a DUI over 20 years ago, and it has long since been expunged. However, when we recently attained her ‘required’ FBI report for immigration, the DUI still shows on her record. Given that it is a) expunged and b) was over 20 years ago and is her only ever offence, are we ok to proceed with the immigration application? thanks.

    • Hi Alec,

      If she has only been convicted of one DUI (with no injury), in her entire lifetime then she is admissible again as long as it’s been more than 10 years since she completed all sentencing requirements.

    • If that DUI conviction is the only arrest/charge he’s ever had and it’s been more than 10 years since he completed all sentencing requirements then he would no longer be inadmissible to Canada for that offence.

  6. Catherine Halverson says:

    After reading about the individuals wife with one DUI that was over 30 yrs ago and your comment that they would be deemed now admissible into Canada, does that mean that they can pass thru immigration with no issues or will they be stopped and questioned or are they suppose to have some special paper work filed with Canada to request entry due to dui over 30 yrs ago. My friend and I want fly into Canada and take the trans Canadian train across but my friend is worried she would get there and be denied entry. Should she have concerns? Hers was almost 40 yrs ago.

    • Hi Catherine,

      It’s up to the Border Officer to assess each person coming in and determine if they are ‘deemed rehabilitated’. They may be satisfied that’s the case without seeing any documentation, or they may ask for you to prove that all your sentencing requirements were completed more than 10 years ago.

  7. I had a dwi conviction 2012. Will I ever be able to obtain a fast pass again? I had one prior to conviction.

  8. I have tried applying for a TRV and told I do not need on e as my DUI Conviction was March 15, 2017 – however that is not 10 years since the conviction and I still am under a probation that allows me to have no more than a .04 bac. The information from the Canadian Government is horrendous but I understand why they make it hard. My dilemma is that a $1500 charge for an attorney to attend a 4 day conference in Banff makes the meeting prohibitively expensive. Am I screwed as I can’t get a damned consulate to take the paperwork I need?

    • Hi Gary, If you are a US citizen then you do not need a TRV to visit Canada. If you have a DUI conviction, then you can apply for a TRP however. If you have questions about this application then please feel free to email me at info@bordercrossing.ca or give my office a call: (204) 488-6350.

  9. hello – i was arrested for a DUI charge but was not convicted after completing diversion in Oregon. Would i be able to cross through canadian border?

  10. I got a DUI in 2012 but official sentencing was February of 2013. I served 3 years probation which ended February 2016. In 2017 I applied for expungement in California and my DUI was dismissed. Here in the US I can legally answer “no” in any questionnaire asking regarding convictions. My husband and I are planning to apply for express entry to Canada as both of our jobs qualify. However I am concerned about being concerned inadmissible. If my record has been expunged in the US will I be able to apply for individual rehabilitation? What are the chances of approval?

    • Hi Maria,

      I have a couple of follow-up questions however I think it’s best that it’s done in confidentiality, please feel free to call me at (204) 488-6350 or email me at info@bordercrossing.ca and I’ll be happy to consult.

      Mitch Jessiman

    • Hi Maria, any update??

      Asking as we have a very similar situation (California residence looking to travel to Canada w/ expunged DUI).
      Timeline: 2015 DUI (Ticketed Offense Date), 2016 Guilty Sentence (Suspended Conditional Sentence), 2020 Expunged (1203.4 PC).

      From what I understand thus far, we will fall into one of the following to camps (just trying to nail down which one):
      1. Canada recognizes California Expungement thus no individual rehabilitation is required.
      2. Individual Rehabilitation can be applied once 5 years have passed since sentencing.

  11. If someone I knew had a misdemeanor DUI in 2018 and 2019 will they ever be allowed into Canada even after ten years if they keep themself clean in that period? Asking for a friend.

    • If someone has 2 DUI convictions then they will be ‘inadmissible’ no matter how many years passed. The best option for this person would be to apply for ‘rehabilitation’ once it’s been 5 years since they completed all sentencing requirements. If they are approved for rehabilitation then they will overcome their inadmissibility.

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