Can You Fly to Canada with a DUI?

Canadian Immigration Entry Graphic

Canada has strict regulations regarding alcohol and drug offenses, classifying them as serious crimes. As such, there are instances where entering Canada may take more work than expected, particularly for individuals with a DUI. Those with a DUI in their home country may be deemed inadmissible to Canada. This article explores the possibility of flying to Canada with a DUI. In short, it is possible to fly to Canada with a DUI if you have successfully been granted legal permission. Keep reading for solutions to navigate this situation.

How does Canada know if you have a DUI?

Like many other countries, Canada has established treaties providing extensive access to criminal record databases from around the world. Because of this, Canadian immigration authorities can conduct thorough security screenings to ensure the safety of their citizens before allowing entry to foreign individuals. These screenings enable border agents to review an individual’s criminal history, including arrests, warrants, pending charges, convictions, and misdemeanors. Thus, through this information sharing, Canadian border agents can identify if a foreigner has a past conviction, like a DUI, before entering the country.

Electronic Travel Authorizations

Tourists from Japan, Australia, Ireland, the UK, Germany, and New Zealand must acquire an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before they can board their flight to Canada. Additionally, individuals from these countries who are criminally inadmissible to Canada may face rejection when applying for an eTA. In these situations, they must pursue a TRP or Criminal Rehabilitation before being granted permission to obtain an eTA.

It’s worth noting that citizens from the United States do not need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to Canada.

Flight Attendants and Airline Pilots

Airline employees must obtain legal permission to enter the country like anyone else, especially if they have previous convictions. They must also go through the standard permit application process specific to their situation.

Legal Paths to Fly Into Canada with a DUI

What are some options for legally entering Canada with a DUI? Let’s explore a couple of possibilities:

Apply for a Temporary Residence Permit

You may be able to overcome your inadmissibility to Canada by applying for a TRP. To do so, you must complete an online application form and submit the required documents, among them are:

  • A valid passport 
  • Proof of funds
  • A criminal record check
  • A reason to enter the country

TRPs are only valid for the length of the visit to Canada disclosed at the time of application and expire every time you exit Canada unless you have been specifically authorized to reenter with your current TRP. TRPs are best for individuals whose sentence was completed within the past five years.

Apply for Criminal Rehabilitation

To be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation, you must wait at least five years after completing your sentence and ensure that no new offenses are committed during this time. Criminal Rehabilitation applications typically take 6-12 months to process. Once granted Criminal Rehabilitation, you will no longer need additional applications, like TRPs, to reenter Canada.

Apply for Deemed Rehabilitation

To apply for Deemed Rehabilitation, you must demonstrate the complete fulfillment of your sentence, with a minimum of ten years having passed since its completion. Similar to the process of Criminal Rehabilitation, once you have been deemed rehabilitated, you will no longer require special permission to enter Canada.

Obtain a Legal Opinion Letter

Individuals considered inadmissible to Canada may be permitted entry by submitting a Legal Opinion Letter in specific circumstances. To obtain this letter, a Canadian immigration attorney must provide a written document stating that you are not inadmissible and should not be denied entry at the border.

How Dogen Law Can Help

At Dogen Law, we work with clients to navigate legal pathways to help overcome criminal inadmissibility to Canada. If you want to visit Canada but require assistance to streamline your application process, contact us today.

Further Reading

Gain deeper insights into criminal rehabilitation, temporary resident permits, and overcoming criminal inadmissibility to Canada by reading our articles below:

Assault Charges

Border Checks, Criminal Inadmissibility, and Expunged Records

Criminal Rehabilitation & Temporary Resident Permits

DUI Resources

Felony Resources