Can You Go to Canada With a DUI? Your Eligibility Questions Answered

You may have many questions about your Canadian eligibility: From whether you can move to Canada without a job, with no experience, or no qualifications, to whether the country accepts candidates with prior convictions. Here are all of your Eligibility questions answered, including the big one: Can you go to Canada with a Driving Under the Influence (DUI)?

Can You go to Canada with a DUI?

Generally, having a criminal conviction to your name gives the Canadian government grounds to categorize you as inadmissible to the country. One of the requirements you need to meet in order to travel to Canada, particularly to immigrate, is that you need to present a clear police clearance. If you have been convicted of DUI, most commonly known, you will not be able to meet this requirement.

However, you do have a few options if you've committed, or been convicted of a crime.

If you have driven while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including cannabis, you may be ineligible for serious criminal charges. This means that unless the Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issues you a temporary resident permit, you will be unable to enter or remain in Canada. You must pay a $200 processing fee for the permit, and there is no guarantee that you will be allowed to enter or remain in the country.

What Does it Mean To be Inadmissible?

You may not be allowed to enter Canada if you are inadmissible. Some people are not permitted to enter Canada because according to Canadian immigration law, they are ineligible to enter. There are several factors that might put you in this category. They may refuse to admit you to Canada for a variety of reasons, including security, criminal, or medical concerns.

How Do I Become Admissible With a DUI?

There is a possibility that you will be able to re-enter Canada. If you are no longer inadmissible, you may be able to enter Canada without having to obtain a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) each time you wish to return - this is referred to as criminal rehabilitation.

If you meet the general eligibility requirements, and it has been at least five years since you completed your sentence or committed the crime, you may be eligible for criminal rehabilitation.

If you committed an impaired driving offence prior to December 18, 2018, the IRCC will determine whether you are inadmissible based on the penalties in effect at the time.

This means that unless you have served a prison sentence in Canada for more than six months, you may be inadmissible for criminality, but not serious criminality.

If you are ineligible for criminality, you may be eligible for deemed rehabilitation if at least ten years have passed since your sentence was completed.

Depending on the crime, how long ago it was and how you have behaved, you may still be allowed to come to Canada. Therefore, there are a few ways you can still enter Canada even with a DUI.

  • You can convince an immigration officer that you meet the legal terms to be deemed rehabilitated
  • You applied for rehabilitation and were approved
  • You were granted a record suspension
  • You have applied for and have a temporary resident permit

Can I Go To Canada If I Was Convicted of a Crime Before 18 years old?

You may be able to enter Canada if you were convicted of a crime while under the age of 18 years.

Inadmissibility Factors

What Makes Me Inadmissible?

The table below explains why you won’t have Canadian Eligibility.

Reasons For Canadian Inadmissibility
Security reasonsespionage
attempts to overthrow a government
violence or terrorism
being involved in a group associated with these
Human or international rights violationswar crimes
crimes against humanity
Committing a crimeIncluding driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
dangerous driving
possession of or trafficking in drugs or controlled substances.
Organized crimeOrganized criminal activity, people smuggling or money laundering
Medical reasonsendanger public health
endanger public safety
causes excessive demand on health or social services
Financial reasonsIf you’re unable or unwilling to support yourself and your family members

Who Decides if I’m Inadmissible?

A Canadian immigration officer will decide whether you are eligible to enter Canada. You will be informed when you submit an application for a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or when you arrive at an entry point in Canada.

Can I Remain in Canada if I am Inadmissible?

Normally, if you are inadmissible to Canada, you will be denied entry. However, the Canadian government may issue you a temporary resident permit if you have a valid reason to travel to Canada - this should be justified in the circumstances.

How Can I Get a Temporary Resident Permit?

If you are otherwise inadmissible but have a compelling reason to visit Canada, you may be granted a temporary residence permit by the immigration officers. However, you need to demonstrate that the reason you need to stay in or enter Canada must be more important than the safety or risks you may pose to Canadian society. This will be determined by an immigration or border service officer at the port of entry or through the IRCC.

Even if the reason for your inadmissibility appears minor, you must show that your visit is justified. Even so, there is still no guarantee that you will be granted a temporary resident permit, particularly if you do not have the correct documentation to back your claim.

If you require eTA

If you are a citizen of an Electronic Travel Authorization eTA-required country and your eTA application was denied, you may be granted a temporary resident permit. This is determined by the nature and circumstances of the inadmissibility, as well as the reason you need to travel to Canada. Your country's or region's visa office may have its own application form for temporary resident permits. You should contact the visa office to learn more about how to apply.

If you need a visa

You must apply for a visitor visa and include supporting documentation explaining why you are inadmissible and why your entry into Canada may be justified. You may be required to attend an interview in order for an officer to evaluate your application.

How Long Will My Temporary Resident Permit Be Valid For?

A temporary resident permit is usually issued for the duration of your visit to Canada, such as one week to attend a conference. You must leave Canada by the permit's expiration date, or obtain a new permit before your current one expires. However:

  • An immigration officer may revoke this permission at any time.
  • If you leave Canada, the permit is no longer valid unless you have been specifically authorized to leave and re-enter.

How Much Are The Fees For a Temporary Resident Permit?

You will be able to apply online for a Temporary Resident Permit. To cover the costs of processing your application for a temporary resident permit, you must pay a $200 fee. However, if the permit is refused, the fee will not be refunded.

Can a Felon Go to Canada? 

While there are some exceptions, generally speaking, unless they have been granted special authorization by the Canadian government, no one with a felony conviction on their record may be allowed admission into Canada.

Other Eligibility Questions

1. Can You Go to Canada Without a Job?

Not every immigration program requires you to have a job. For example, the following immigration programs do not have a valid job offer as a requirement:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTC)
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (OINP)
  • Saskatchewan Provincial Nominee Program (SINP)

However, even if you don't need one, you should try to find a legitimate job offer. It will result in a much higher point score and, as a result, a better chance of being invited to apply for permanent residency

Check out more on how to immigrate to Canada without a job offer below:

2. Can You Go to Canada Without Work Experience?

If you do not have work experience in your home country, finding a job in Canada can be difficult if you are not yet in Canada. As a result, you may want to consider if immigrating to Canada before beginning your job search. You can find work by networking with locals and taking advantage of opportunities to demonstrate your skills.

Fortunately, there are few immigration programs that allow people without work experience to move to Canada legally. Study permits and family sponsorships are examples of these. These enable you to establish roots in the country and seek employment and permanent residency. Here are three ways to immigrate to Canada without work experience.

3. Can You Go to Canada Without a Qualification?

Many foreign workers believe that in order to work in Canada, they must have a higher education from a university or college; however, this is not the case. In fact, immigration and visa options are available to applicants of all skill levels in Canada. Here’s how to immigrate to Canada without a degree.

4. Can You Go to Canada Without Money?

The authorities require that you have enough money to live in Canada when you move there. The amount of money required to support your family is determined by its size. Proof of funds is how you demonstrate to us that you have sufficient funds to settle in Canada. If the IRCC accepts your application, you must provide written proof of your monetary claim.

However, this is not always required. There are some exceptions, such as:

  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Spousal sponsorship
  • Live-in caregiver
  • Trade agreements
  • International Experience Canada
  • or you have a work permit or job offer

Consult a Professional

If you were wondering 'can a felon go to Canada?' or you're not sure whether you have Canadian eligibility or not, consult a professional today. We work with a team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs), who are experts in all things Canadian immigration. We hope we’ve answered the important question: “Can you go to Canada with a DUI?” but if you’d like to consult with a professional or check your eligibility, click the link below.