Traveling to Canada with a DUI

Traveling to Canada: how does Canada know if you have a DUI?

Are you planning a trip to Canada and heard you will not be able to enter the country if you have a DUI on your record?

It is true visitors to the country will not be allowed admittance if they have been convicted of an alcohol-related offense (DWI or DUI) without proper advance planning.  You may be thinking there is no way the border crossing officials will know about my DUI. 

Perhaps it took place many years ago or in another state.  The truth is Canadian border agents have access to a wide range of criminal databases that allow them to check each person’s background at the border or at Canada Customs and Immigration in an airport.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) uses a number of databases including the Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC) to screen people.  Border agents were given expanded access to these databases in 2015 which allows them to search for warrants or past criminal convictions for anyone attempting to enter the country.

Access to CPIC will allow the border agent to see any DUI conviction on your record.  Do not attempt to conceal a conviction because it could lead to you being banned from entering Canada for several years.  You also do not want to cause problems for other passengers in the vehicle.

Sometimes people assume only the record of the person driving the vehicle into Canada will be checked, which is not true.  Even if you are a passenger in a vehicle or if you are flying into Canada, you will still be denied entry with a DUI conviction on your record.  Having a DUI does not mean you are completely banned from entering the country forever.  However, it does mean you will need to make plans early.

If you have a DUI conviction you can be granted admittance into Canada, but you will need to plan your travel in advance.  As a person with a DUI, one of your options is to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) before traveling there.

Lansing DUI Attorneys

Not everyone’s permit request will be granted, so it is imperative to have legal representation to help guide you through the application process.  You will have to gather an array of legal documents and may even be required to have biometric fingerprints done.  The legal team at Basiga Law Firm can help you throughout the entire application process.

Once granted a permit, you will only have the ability to enter the country during a designated time period.  You will have to reapply for any future trips to Canada.

Learn more about submitting a TRP application on our “Will a DUI prevent me from going to Canada?” blog post.

When entering Canada by car or by plane you will be required to present your TRP application to the border agent/border service officer.  At the border, you will need to alert the officer that you have a TRP application.  If you are riding with other people in the vehicle who may not know about your DUI conviction this scenario may be uncomfortable for you and should be taken into consideration when planning your travel.

It is important to have all of your documents in order when presenting them to a border agent.  If your paperwork is not complete you may be denied access into the country and forced to turn around at the border.  In some instances, all passengers in the vehicle will not be given admittance into the country.

When flying into Canada with a DUI conviction, you will typically be sent on to a secondary checkpoint in the Canada Customs and Immigration area.  If your TRP application is not in order you will be denied access and will have to take the next flight back to the United States.

Do not risk being turned away at the border crossing or at a Canadian airport because of a DUI conviction.  Make plans to travel to Canada today.  Contact Basiga Law Firm at 517-708-7830.

Our expert legal team will guide you through all the necessary paperwork you need in order to enjoy your next trip to Canada. 

Additional Resources When Traveling to Canada (Common Questions About Traveling and The Different Types of Visas)

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