Most Minnesota residents are not aware that a DWI conviction makes it difficult to cross the border into Canada. They assume that if they have a passport, they will be able to travel to Canada. However, Canadian law allows people who have been convicted of a crime to be prohibited from crossing the border. This applies to DWI as well as other crimes. If you have a DWI, consider the following information about getting into Canada following a DWI conviction.
How Can You Be Prevented From Crossing?
According to a Minnesota State Trooper, when you attempt to cross the border to Canada, a Canada Border Services Agency Officer may ask you if you have ever been arrested, fingerprinted, or appeared in court. Since a DWI is a serious offense in Canada, the officer can prevent you from crossing the border if you have a DWI conviction. This is the case regardless of whether the conviction was a misdemeanor or a felony. Access can be denied whether you are traveling by car, airplane or boat. Even if you are the passenger of the car with no intention of driving, you can be denied entry.
What if you had your driver’s license revoked because you refused to take a sobriety test? Since test refusal is considered a crime in Minnesota, it is enough reason for Canada to prevent you from crossing the border. In some cases the test refusal is dismissed and instead the person pleads to reckless driving. Yet, entry to Canada can still be denied in this case. Finally, a person that is currently facing charges may not be admitted into Canada because they have pending charges or an outstanding warrant. Therefore, even a person who was not convicted of a DWI may not be able to travel to Canada.
It is important that you don’t try lying. Some people think this will be the easiest way to cross the border without issue. If you say you have not been convicted, when you have, you may be unable to enter Canada in the future. You can be arrested and imprisoned for entering when you are inadmissible. Always tell the truth.
U.S. and Canada allow each other to access court records and driver’s license databases so they can investigate the people attempting to cross the border. Therefore, someone who does lie to the Canadian Border Agent will likely be caught in the lie. Keep in mind they can see charges that are pending and outstanding warrants as well as a previous criminal record.
For Convictions Over 5 Years Old
If five years have passed since the conviction, it is possible to apply for a rehabilitation permit. You must not have had any other more recent offenses. The five years starts at the completion of the sentence. To receive a rehabilitation permit, you will need to prove that the five years has passed and that your lifestyle has been stable since the conviction. Proving stability can include showing no additional convictions, demonstrating that you have a job, offering a reference letter, and showing a permanent residence. To get the permit, you must submit an application to the Canadian Immigration Board and pay a fee. It is best to seek the assistance of a DWI attorney to help with the application submission and supporting documentation. Once the rehabilitation permit is in place, you should be able to pass between the United States and Canada without a hassle.
For Convictions Under 5 Years Old
It is possible to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit. This will allow one-time legal entry into Canada. Although it is possible to apply for this permit at the border, it is not guaranteed that you will be approved, so you may have to turn around. Instead, consider contacting the Canadian Consulate prior to departing on your trip.
If you are looking to travel to Canada after a DWI, contact us so we can provide assistance.
Disclaimer: The content of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact Jennifer Speas to discuss the specifics of your case.