There are many reasons that someone may be refused entry to Canada by CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency).
Anyone who is not a Canadian citizen can be refused entry, but there are several common reasons why they do not let someone into Canada.
The most common reason someone is refused is because they have a criminal history such as convictions, or even arrests. This is called criminal inadmissibility.
The most common cause of criminal inadmissibility is being convicted of DUI / OWI / DWI.
How To Enter Canada With A DUI
When someone has been charged with a DUI, they are considered inadmissible to Canada even if they have not been convicted (unless they have been acquitted).
What’s worse, DUI laws changed in Canada in December 2018. Now, DUI is considered “serious criminality”. Under the previous law, the DUI conviction would eventually fall off your record and you could be deemed rehabilitated and enter Canada.
Now, this is not possible. If you have received a DUI after December 18, 2018, then you will always need to make an application in advance of entering Canada.
Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)
Entering Canada with a DUI or other criminal conviction can be done if you apply for a TRP, which is advance permission to enter Canada despite your criminal inadmissibility.
TRP applications can be made for people who have a valid reason to enter Canada, such as:
- Business Trips
- Family members in Canada
There are other reasons that someone may apply for a TRP, but generally tourism is not likely to lead to an approval of the application.
Enter Canada Quickly – TRP at the Port of Entry
If you know that you cannot enter Canada due to a criminal conviction, but you have just found out that you have to take an unexpected trip then you do have options.
An application for TRP can be made at customs in the airports in Canada by American citizens only. This is not a possibility for citizens of other countries as Americans are the only nationality not required to have an eTA to fly to Canada.
If you are entering Canada through the land border via the United States, then you may make an application for TRP at the Canadian border only if you are an American citizen OR a citizen of a visa-exempt country.
If you are considering making an application for TRP at the Canadian border, it is in your best interest to speak with a professional – you do not want to travel all the way to the Canadian port of entry with an application which was never going to be approved because it lacked vital information.
TRP for Other Crimes
People who have had convictions for any crime can apply for a TRP. The circumstances which led to the conviction and what has happened since that time are what the officer will evaluate to determine if the application is approved.
TRP applications are highly discretionary – not all applications for the same conviction are going to receive the same decision. Because of this, you want to make the best possible arguments for your case.