Five Helpful Tips on How to Get into Canada With a DUI

By: John Webb, Criminal Defense Lawyer Maine for Over Two Decades. DIAL 207-283-6400

John Webb Maine DUI Canadian DUI EntryJohn Webb Attorney Distinguished

Since driving under the influence is the crime about which the greatest number of our clients in Maine want more information, this information page exists. As stated further down this page, THIS INFORMATION PAGE AND THE 5 TIPS BELOW ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE on visiting Canada with a DUI, or how to get into Canada with a DUI.

John Webb Canada DUI Entry

A recent news article from USA Today covers the “iffy” situation oF a person with a prior drunk driving conviction getting into Canada with a DUI, saying this:

“Note that Canadian immigration officials still have the right to refuse entry to Americans for any number of reasons. Having a DUI conviction in your past is cause for denial, but officials make that call on a case-by-case basis. Other potentially disqualifying offenses include having ties to organized crime, committing human or international rights violations, and being convicted of certain other crimes.”

Can You Visit Canada With a DUI?

This information relates to challenges for you to be able to go to and from Canada, after a DUI-OUI conviction, and not another crime. Hence, this page information is limited to that single issue. Certain types of convictions (including a first offense DUI) MAY be able to obtain a temporary waiver of inadmissibility from the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) agency.

John Webb Maine First Offense DUI

Re-read the USA Today article and note that “certain other crimes” can make you ineligible to enter Canada. Relying on qualifying for the eTA route (read about this below) can backfire for some Americans travelling to Canada. Even with a DUI first offense, some people forget prior convictions or a nolo contendere plea to OTHER crimes, such as traffic-related offenses like reckless driving, or misdemeanor crimes (like shoplifting).

Adding the 1st DUI to another crime can block admissibility, since Canada takes multiple offenses by any individual very seriously. So, the complications of going to Canada with a DUI require a great deal of planning and investigation. Some will need to retain a Canada immigration lawyer, if the path is too complex and problematic.

Plus, see the disclaimer below, since our attorneys in Maine are not Canadian lawyers, and must refer you specialists in that country, if you cannot resolve your issues.

Five Tips for Obtaining Canada DUI Entry

  1. Start early, since the process for overcoming inadmissibility for DUI Canada entry can take up to a full year, in some instances.
  2. A special process exists for “PRECLEARANCE” with United States Homeland Security, for traveling to Canada with a DUI (or to other nations).
  3. A person who is a landowner in Canada MAY be able to expedite his or her Canada DUI entry, but is NOT (by virtue of buying land) automatically allowed into Canada, simply by land ownership.
  4. If you just show up at a Port of Entry, and apply for a visa, you are gambling that you will qualify for issuance of an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). You must at least understand that you may be delayed for a lengthy investigation, and delay your companions, which you obtain short-term permission to visit Canada.
  5. Internet technology has created a very convenient online method of checking your eligibility to apply for Canadian entry.

You may still enter Canada legally if:


Note: The attorneys in Portland Maine and Saco Maine, at Webb Law Firm, are not licensed to practice law in Canada. Thus, our Maine lawyers cannot give you legal information regarding Canada DUI entry (or opine about legal issues relating to a US citizen trying to go to Canada with a DUI or any other type of criminal history). The tips contained on this page for DUI Canada entry is highlighted for “notice” purposes only, so as to keep a citizen from being unaware of potential entry problems.

You should contact the Canadian Consulate with any further questions regarding Canadian laws and your possible inadmissibility, or contact a Canadian immigration attorney skilled in that nation’s unique immigration laws. This same disclaimer applies to the additional information and links set forth below, found on other pages within this website. Plus, carefully look over the CBP’s 10 travel tips.

John Webb Canada Maine DUI

Other Related, Helpful Links and Papers

CBP paper regarding Preclearance Expansion

Impact of a DUI Conviction on DUI Canada Entry

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