Can you go to Canada with a DWI?

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What is a DWI?

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is an alcohol or drug related driving offense, comparable to a DUI (Driving under the Influence). The specific DWI abbreviation is commonly used in the states of New York (NY), Texas (TX), Virginia (VA), New Jersey (NJ), Arkansas (AK), and Missouri (MO). In the states of Minnesota (MN) and North Carolina (NC), a DWI offense will stand for “Driving While Impaired” instead.


With respect to questions of inadmissibility to Canada, there is no significant difference between being charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or with Driving While Intoxicated, or Impaired (DWI). The fact remains that both involve driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However the abbreviation used will vary depending on the state where the offense occurred. For example, in California, a person can be charged with a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and in Texas, for a similar offense, a person can be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).

Is a DWI or DUI a Misdemeanor or a Felony offense?

In many cases, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) will be considered a misdemeanor offense. In some situations, such as when charged with a repeated DWI offense or a DWI with property damage or injury caused to another, a DWI can be deemed as a felony offense.

Can a DWI prevent entry to Canada?

Similarly to a DUI offense, a DWI on a record can stop you from entering Canada. Canadian government officials view a DWI as a reason for inadmissibility to Canada. Regardless of whether the DWI charge was acquitted, dismissed or never prosecuted, having a DWI on your record can cause you to be denied entry to Canada at the border. Even a simple arrest, which is still pending and has not yet led to a conviction for DWI can be grounds for refusal to allow entry to Canada regardless of whether a person is entering by ground (driving) or by air (flying into a Canadian airport).

What are the rules for entering Canada with a DWI?

In order to be allowed to travel to Canada with a DWI, whether it be to attend a business meeting for work purposes, transit through a Canadian airport or for any other reason, you must apply for and obtain a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). The TRP will allow you to enter Canada with a DWI on your record, for a specific amount of time. In some cases, you may also be eligible to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation (CR). If approved, this would allow you to enter Canada freely from the time you are approved for Rehabilitation.

Call us today for a free comprehensive consultation with one of our specialized lawyers to further discuss the matter of a DWI on your record. (1-844-326-8410)