Canada is one of the countries in the world that has strict immigration rules, which help to protect it from people that are considered a threat to the safety and security of the Canadians. As a result, any individual who has been convicted of a crime in the past, or is considered a threat due to medical or security reasons may be deemed inadmissible by immigration officials, and denied entry into the country. The reasons for being denied entry include convictions resulting from misdemeanour offences such as driving under the influence or driving while impaired. Therefore, while trying to enter Canada with a past DUI record, you might find yourself denied entry at the border or airport, even if the offence resulted in a fine and not serving time.
How to Enter Canada with a DUI Conviction
Being denied entry into Canada can be quite frustrating, especially for people who are travelling for important reasons such as work, business, or study. Fortunately, even after being declared inadmissible to Canada, you can still be able to enter the country by overcoming the inadmissibility. There a number of ways for doing this, but the most effective one involves seeking a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), which grants you entry to Canada for a temporary basis. Read more here.
The permit is issued to an individual for a specific reason, and is thus useful when you are travelling to the country for occasions such as business meetings, study, cultural events, important family events (marriage, death, etc.). The permit can be used until such a time when your inadmissibility to Canada is removed permanently by applying for criminal rehabilitation, record suspension, or when you are deemed rehabilitated (a certain period of time passes, usually 10 years, from the completion of your last sentence without being convicted of another offence).
Applying for a Temporary Resident Permit
Anyone who has been denied entry into Canada because of a DUI record or other convictions can apply for the temporary resident permit. However, there are certain requirements that must be met when applying for the permit:
1. You must have been convicted of an offence outside Canada (conviction in this case involves a sentence or a fine)
2. Less than 5 years have passed since the completion of the sentence (or since the fine was paid)
3. More than 5 years have passed since completing the sentence, but you have not applied for Criminal Rehabilitation, your application for rehabilitation has not been reviewed, or your application has been denied
How to Apply for the Permit
Applications for the Canadian Temporary Resident Permit are addressed to the Canadian immigration officials. Your application should have your details (including passport size photos), and should indicate the reason why you are entering Canada. You should also include a persuasive argument as to why you should be granted entry into the country, and prove to the officials that you are not a threat to the Canadian society.
When applying for the Temporary Resident Permit, there are two methods you can use: applying at the Canadian consulate in your country or at the point of entry when entering Canada.
1. Application at the consulate: Applying for the Temporary Resident Permit at the Canadian consulate is one of the safest ways of getting the permit, as you can get a review in advance before you travel. Therefore, by the time you travel to Canada, you will not have to worry about whether your application will be approved or denied at the point of entry. However, the problem with this method of application is that it takes a long period of time for your application to be reviewed (can take up to 6 months). Therefore, it is not ideal when you are travelling for an urgent matter.
2. Application at the Point of entry: Application at the point of entry is the fastest way of applying for the Canadian Temporary Resident Permit. The application is made as you are entering Canada (at the border, airport, or a seaport), and reviewed instantly by the immigration officer. The only problem with this method of application is that the officer might deny your application, thus forcing you to return back home without entering the country.
Factors Affecting the Approval of the Permit
Once you have applied for the Temporary Resident Permit, an immigration officer will process your application, and at his/her discretion, approve or deny it. There are several factors that are considered by the immigration officers when reviewing TRP applications, which include
1. Number, severity, and type of offence committed: The offence(s) you were convicted of is one of the most important consideration that are made by the immigration officers when reviewing your TRP application, and it is done in order to ascertain that you are not a threat to the Canadian society. When reviewing your application, the officials will consider the number of offences committed (more offences will reduce your chances of the application being approved) and the severity of the offences (more severe offences are likely to lead to a denial of the application).
The type of offences committed is also considered, and people who have been convicted of offences such as terrorism and sexual abuse/harassment/assault are likely to be denied the permit.
2. The amount of time that has elapsed after completing your sentence: Another factor used to determine your application is the amount of time that has elapsed since your conviction. The rate of approval increases if more time has elapsed, as it helps to show that you are less likely to commit another offence in the future.
3. The reason provided for seeking entry into Canada: When applying for the Temporary Resident Permit, you must provide a reason for seeking entry into Canada. Your application is more likely to be approved if the reason you provided is compelling. Some of the most compelling reasons that can increase your chances of being approved include:
– Economic reasons, such as when travelling for work
– Compassionate reasons, for example, such as attending the birth of your child, visiting a sick immediate family member, or attending a funeral of a family member
– Academic purposes such as travelling to Canada to study, to attend an academic conference, or to conduct a scientific research project
Summary: DUI convictions and other misdemeanour offences can cause you to be denied entry into Canada. However, it is possible for you to overcome the inadmissibility by applying for the Temporary Resident Permit. This provides you with a temporary pass that you can use to enter the country for a specific reason.