When Travelling to Canada (From the US)
Sometimes you come across little not so well know Travel Tid-Bits, I thought that I would add this new section to my Travel Blog Site, in an effort to spread the word, and endeavor to help even more of my Travel and Cruise Readers.
My first Travel Tid-Bit has to do with US Citizens travelling to Canadian Provinces. Did you know that if you have been convicted of DUI, or DWI here in the United States, that you could face being denied entry into Canada?
Yes that is right. Let me explain………….Canada views any infractions of driving impaired as A FELONY, even if you were convicted of MISDEMEANOR offenses related to such statutes in the United States. One of the many things Canadian Border Agents are checking for are; Name Associations with potential terrorist watch lists, U.S No Fly Lists, as well as for FELONY travelers (which by definition are not able to enter Canada). You must also understand that the level of cooperation between Canada and US Reporting Agencies has never been better, and it is something which you definitely do not wish to be caught giving false information about, as that alone is something that can get you banned from entering Canada for 5 years, on top of having to deal with the actual reason(s) for being detained while trying to enter Canada.
While you might be asked if you have ever been charged, or convicted of a CRIME you must answer truthfully. While potential travelers can request waivers for being “rehabilitated”, that is in itself a process which requires an application being submitted to the Canadian Authorities, and generally requires a period of time (at least 5 years) to have lapsed from the time of a DUI, or DWI conviction, as well as evidence that you have successfully completed a rehabilitation process, as well as being free of any further charges or convictions for such related offenses. The biggest surprise for most Americans is that they may be turned away at the Canadian border if they have any type of alcohol related offense.
- It does not matter if you are arriving as a passenger in another person’s car.
- It does not matter if you have no intention of driving in Canada at all. The Washington State Ferry reports that during peak tourist season the Canadian border patrol in Victoria turns a half-dozen or so passengers each week for DUI / DWI offenses.
- It does not matter if your offense was classified as a misdemeanor or a felony by US Courts.
- There are no exceptions for fans, guests, officials, or anyone else entering Canada for special events. Even former U.S. President G.W. Bush had to get a special waiver to enter Canada because of his 1976 drinking-driving offense that occurred in Maine. So that should pretty much tell you EVERYONE is subject to this process.
There are 2 ways to obtain permission to enter Canada despite having a DUI or DWI on your record.
Your first option is to file for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) at a Canadian visa office or when you arrive at the border. This is how American athletes get into the country despite DUI’s or other convictions. About 10,000 TRP’s are granted every year and many are to people with less than stellar pasts.
- The filing fee for a TRP is around $200. A Canada Customs and Immigration officer will review the TRP and decide if you will be allowed to enter the country. The permit is then valid for up to one year.
Your second option is to prove to Canada that you have been rehabilitated. If you are deemed to be rehabilitated, you will be granted lifetime access into Canada despite the offenses. A rehabilitation document does not need to be renewed. The process is somewhat complicated so you may want to have it handled by an experienced immigration lawyer.
- Your offense must be at least 5 years old to apply for rehabilitation. To obtain this approval you will file the Canadian rehabilitation forms with the nearest Canadian visa office. Fees range from $200 to $1,000 depending on your offense.
- You should expect that it will take at least 6 -12 months obtain this waiver so apply well before your intended Canadian border crossing.
So, the bottom line is to know before you go – especially to Canada! Remember, do not lie or assume that a certain charge was too trivial to bring up or mention, as false statements to border authorities can land you into hot water in itself not to mention your being delayed at the border or even denied entry altogether.
Wishing you happy and safe travels!!!
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