Can I visit Canada if I have got a DUI years ago?

Can I visit Canada if I have got a DUI years ago?

Canada offers three major ways to apply to enter the country if one has a DUI. (It could be 5 years, 10 years or 20 years old)

Whatever the case may be, one needs to keep a few things in mind.

Canada has strict rules in place if one is looking to enter the country. It is crucial to understand these rules so that one is not unexpectedly refused at the Canadian border. Canada is able to find out if one has a DUI. Most of the time, those with DUI convictions looking to visit are from the United States

U.S. citizens looking to enter Canada need to present their passport or travel document to be screened by Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) officers. Their passports are linked to their FBI record which shows their criminal history. Any charge or conviction on their record can result in a CBSA officer deciding to turn them away at the border.

The good news is that Canada provides those with a DUI arrest or conviction with several options to demonstrate they are not a risk to the Canadian public.

One has both temporary and permanent options available. These options depend on whether a person is charged, convicted, the nature of offenses, when one has completed sentence, among other factors.

Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is a temporary option.

Criminal Rehabilitation is a permanent solution.

Legal Opinion Letter is an option if you are looking to travel to Canada with a criminal charge.

Temporary Resident Permit (TRP): A temporary option if DUI sentence was completed less than 5 years ago

Temporary Resident Permit is a temporary solution available to those who can demonstrate to the Canadian government they have a convincing reason to enter Canada. Key to the success of a TRP application is demonstrating that the benefits to Canada of ones visit outweigh potential risks. A TRP is available if it has been less than five years since one finished DUI sentence. Sentence means any judicial result following ones case such as jail, probation, a fine, or community service.

If you are travelling to Canada for leisure, you are advised to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation if you are eligible for it.

Criminal Rehabilitation: A permanent option if your DUI sentence was completed 5 or more years ago

Criminal Rehabilitation application is a permanent solution to clear your criminal history. If your application is successful, you do not need to worry about being turned away at the Canadian border as long as you do not commit any new offenses.

To apply, at least five years must have passed since you completed your DUI sentence.

Legal Opinion Letter: An option if you have been charged with a DUI, but not convicted 

Finally, a Legal Opinion Letter is available to you as an option if you have been charged with a DUI but not been convicted.

A lawyer can prepare a letter explaining to Canadian government officials the nature of the charges, the lawyer’s conclusions, and their explanation on how a potential sentence may impact your admissibility to Canada. Having a clear and convincing letter on hand can demonstrate that you should be allowed to enter Canada while your DUI case is pending.

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