DUI Entry TO Canada Changes


Entry to Canada with a DUI or any of its equivalents is only possible under a few specific instances. If you have 1 DUI equivalent charge along with any additional criminal charges, you are almost guaranteed to be found inadmissible to Canada and sent back to the United States. It’s the same outcome for or multiple DUI convictions. Potentially, there are ways to undue the effect of past charges. At least as far as Canada Border Services Agency is concerned.

Drunk/Intoxicated Driving Charge Types

Drunk driving or intoxicated driving charges and penalties varying state to state. This has led to many states having different acronyms that explain the various offenses. The Canada Border Services Agency considers all these charges to essentially be the same thing. They are grown and of a DUI or driving under the influence of either alcohol or intoxicants.

DUII – driving under the influence of intoxicants

DWI – driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired

DWAI – driving while ability impaired

DWUI – driving while under the influence

OWI – operating while intoxicated

OUI – operating under the influence

OVI – operating a vehicle under the influence

Entering Canada With A 10+ Year Old DUI

If your DUI occurred prior to December 18th, 2018 this section is valid for your situation. If your only offense is a DUI that you successfully completed all sentencing requirements for more than 10 years ago, then you are “deemed rehabilitated” and will be likely able to enter Canada.

The reason for the cut off the is due to changes in the Canadian legal system. The federal government raised the maximum sentence for a DUI in Canada from 5 to 10 years. Previously, when the maximum sentence for DUI charge in Canada was 5 years, a DUI equivalent charge received in the U.S. was not considered “serious criminality”. That meant deemed rehabilitation would have been available after a ten-year waiting period. Since the maximum punishment is now 10 years, DUI’s and equivalent charges are considered serious criminality. Hence Deemed Rehabilitated status is not possible if your offence happened after December 18, 2018.

We offer free consultations in person or by phone for U.S. citizens traveling to Canada with a DUI. Ask for Mitch.

Entering Canada With A 5+ Year-Old DUI

Anyone with a DUI that completed their sentencing requirements more than 5 years ago, can apply for ‘Rehabilitation’ to overcome their offence(s) and be able to enter Canada again. If you have multiple offences, and as such never qualify to become ‘Deemed Rehabilitated’, you can instead apply for Rehabilitation.

How To Apply For “Rehabilitation”

We recognize that everyone’s situation is unique, so it’s always a good idea to ask questions to get the correct answers. For a free consultation, simply give Mitch a call at (204) 488-6350 or 1-800-438-7020. Alternatively, you may complete the contact form on this page.

14 thoughts on “Entry to Canada: DUI & Equivalent Charges

  1. Hi. I understand that because my dwi conviction occurred 33 years ago when I was 18, I am not deemed inadmissible from entering Canada, but do I need to prove that I completed my sentence requirements (which was fines and a treatment program), or will Canada’s computer system have that information?

  2. Hello,

    I had a DUI in 2006. Other than that I had careless driving for an accident not involving alcohol in 2020. Would I be deemed inadmissible?

  3. I have an Operating While Visibly Impaired from 2013, and a minor shoplifting charge from 2015, would I have a case for 2-day admission to Canada to celebrate a wedding I am a groomsman in?

    • Hi Steven, you would likely be found inadmissible for those offences – please feel free to call or email my office if you have questions about being able to overcome this.

  4. I had two dui convictions in Florida one when I was 18 and one when I was 28 , I am 50 years old now would I be allowed entry into Canada for a hunting trip this November ?

    • Hi Eddie, if you have multiple convictions you are inadmissible to Canada no matter how long has passed. If you’d like to apply to overcome that, please feel free to call or email my office.

  5. My 19 yo son was arrested for DUI as a minor (he was 17).Is he admissible for entry with family members given his age at time of arrest?

    • Hi Jason, if it was Youth or Juvenile Court than he is likely still admissible but if you’d like more information on what he should bring or how to get better peace of mind then please call or email my office.

  6. HI,

    I had three DUI’s in collected in 1980, 1982, and 1984 in the US. I already visited Canada in 2007 when I flew to Toronto and toured around to Montreal.

    I didn’t know about the DUI restrictions in Canada, nor was I ever asked about it by any officials on my trip. How do you explain this?

    Should I assume future trips will be ok?


  7. So I am confused a bit. If you have one DUI conviction in the US ten years ago from the date you will be entering Canada (and prior to 2018) you will be considered admissible into the country?

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