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Going to Canada with a DUI: What you should know

Going to Canada with a DUI: What you should know

Getting a DUI (“Driving Under the Influence”) can have far reaching implications, though many do not realize how far those can stretch. For example, people who have a DUI and need to travel to Canada for business reasons as part of their work will be unpleasantly surprised to learn that a DUI can literally prevent entry to Canada.

This can cause considerable problems for those who are expected to attend an important meeting, and can even jeopardize their employment. It should also be noted that Canada’s immigration laws will encompass a wide variety of situations that can lead to a denied entry, even if the final conviction is not one for a DUI.

Travelling to Canada with a DUI that is reduced to a “wet reckless”

In some cases, a person initially charged with a DUI can instead be convicted of a lesser charge known as a “wet reckless”. This is actually a conviction for reckless driving, with express mention that alcohol was involved in the offense, and usually results in a less severe penalty.

However, with respect to inadmissibility, a conviction for wet reckless can nonetheless prevent a person from going to Canada just as much as a DUI. In determining whether a foreign national is admissible to enter Canada or not, what matters is not the conviction itself, nor its applicable punishment.

What matters instead is what would be the most appropriate Canadian legislative equivalent to the offense for which a person was convicted. In this case, even though there was no conviction for DUI, it so happens that there is a Canadian legislative equivalent to the offense of reckless driving, and this equivalent can prevent a person from travelling to Canada as a DUI on record would.

A person with a wet reckless or a DUI on record can therefore either apply for a temporary resident permit, a temporary measure, or if eligible, apply for criminal rehabilitation. If the criminal rehabilitation application is approved, inadmissibility would be permanently removed and the person can therefore enter Canada legally without again having to request a temporary resident permit.

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