The Process of Entering Canada with A DUI Conviction

There are strict admission laws in Canada for individuals who have in the past been convicted of small or major crimes in their countries with connection to:

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

  • Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)

  • Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)

  • Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated (OMVI)

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One can only be allowed entry after successfully undergoing what is termed as Criminal Rehabilitation Process. According to, a person wishing to gain admission to Canada files an application requesting absolution for the crime committed in other foreign countries to the Canadian Government. The Government has the final word on the application, which, upon verification the applicant is granted a clean bill of health. The rehabilitation process is only applicable to persons who committed the offenses outside Canada.

A person can only be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation under the following circumstances:

  • If they have committed an act in a foreign country, that qualifies to be termed as an offense under the Federal Statute.

  • If they have been convicted of the same, or have admitted to committing the offense.

  • If five years have elapsed since the corrective measures have been concluded, including fines, jail terms, and probation.


Acquiring Legal Services for DUI

Regardless of whether you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony, your chances of your application for Criminal Rehabilitation going through, or gaining Temporary Residence Permit (TRP) depend on the Immigration Officer looking into your file. It is usually a process that will need to be handled by an experienced Immigration Attorney from Canada because they know what is required for the application to be complete.

The Government of Canada does not in any way assist foreigners with DUI-related immigration processes; therefore, it is only sensible to seek the services of an immigration lawyer who specializes in similar cases. A lawyer will be in a position to provide you with the relevant scheme to see your entry application through.

Temporary Solution – Temporary Residence Permit

Obtaining a Temporary Residence Permit (TRP) is an option that allows foreigners to enter Canada but only for a particular period provided they have presented a strong reason for visit in their application. It works as an ideal option for those applicants who are not eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation which is considered a more permanent solution. With an experienced Canadian Immigration Lawyer, a TRP can let you visit Canada for as long as 3 years, so long as your application has immense weight.

Deemed Rehabilitation

Under the Canadian Immigration Law, a person may be deemed rehabilitated if they have only one DUI conviction to their name and a reasonable amount of time has passed since their respective sentences. The Canadian Government is likely to overlook your DUI conviction if it has been more than 10 years since your successful sentence completion, and your criminal record has not been blotted again ever since. However, even when circumstances deem you rehabilitated, it is advisable to have a knowledgeable attorney on hand to increase your chances of a clean passage.

How long does it take for Criminal Rehabilitation?

The process of Criminal Rehabilitation takes between 9-12 months if taken through a conventional consulate. Most people consider applying for a Temporary Resident Permit that takes a relatively much shorter time to process than the Criminal Rehab. There is also a provision for both, where applicants submit their applications at the same time to allow them to have immediate access to Canada with a TRP as they await approval for Criminal Rehabilitation. 

Serious and Non-Serious Criminality

The processing of criminal rehabilitation for both serious and non-serious offenders is pretty much the same. However, it will be much easier and cheaper for a person convicted of a single DUI, and has spent over ten years without another conviction since completing their sentence. It will cost around 200CAD to complete this procedure.

If your conviction involves or involved an offense that is bound to attract maximum prison sentence under the Canadian Law, then this is considered serious criminality. No matter how long time has gone by since serving a sentence, a person once convicted of a serious crime can never be deemed rehabilitated and has to apply for criminal rehabilitation. The processing fees for applicants with serious criminality are much higher, at 1,000CAD, and usually take longer to finalize.


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