Did you know that having a DUI on your record could prevent you from visiting Canada?
Canada treats DUI convictions as very serious offenses. In fact, customs agents have the authority to not allow you into the country if you have a DUI on your record. Of course, if your driving record is less than perfect that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be allowed to visit Canada. Usually, if your DUI is more than 10 years old and you don’t have any other criminal record, you’ll be allowed to enter Canada because you won’t be considered a risk to public safety. However, if you have a recent DUI or a DUI accompanied by other criminal charges, you may be considered high risk and not allowed to enter Canada.
As a general rule, Canada doesn’t allow anyone with DUIs to enter the country. However, it is possible to obtain a waiver in order to show the Canadian government that you are not a high risk. To do this, contact the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) during regular business hours between Monday and Friday by calling either (506) 636-5064 or (204) 983-3500. The people who work in this office are extremely helpful and should be able to provide you with the information that you’ll need in order to obtain a waiver.
If your trip to Canada is just around the corner and you don’t have time to obtain a waiver, you may still be able to enter Canada with minimal problems. Customs agents don’t do full background checks on everyone who enters the country; only a small sampling of individuals. It’s possible that if your DUI is more than 10 years since your DUI, you may be required to prove it has been 10 years since full completion of sentencing (which can be as much as 15 years after the date of conviction depending on the length of probation). That being said, and you haven’t committed any other criminal acts, customs can let you through without any problems. If you’re at all worried about a recent DUI and Canada letting you in, contact the CBSA as soon as possible. You can also talk to your lawyer about having them obtain a waiver for you.
DUI or not, we highly recommend that you travel to Canada if you have the chance. It’s a wonderful country filled with kind people and unimaginably beautiful scenery. You don’t need a visa to visit Canada, just a valid US passport. Visit Montréal to experience North America’s version of Paris, or head to the Canadian Rockies to see some of the most pristine mountains, forests, and lakes anywhere in the world. If you have any questions or concerns about visiting Canada from the United States, give us a call anytime at (877) 917-9438 and we’ll do whatever we can to help answer your questions.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.