10 years would be the short answer to this very large question. However, this would only be the case under a very specific set of circumstances, and a variety of factors could lead to a different outcome. As different scenarios can lead to varying answers, the following examples are provided to help summarize possible outcomes.
Scenario 1: One DUI conviction on record
The simplest, most straightforward scenario would be one where an American would have only one DUI conviction (or another similar alcohol-related driving offense, such as a DWI or an OVI) on record and no other offenses whatsoever. No other offenses means that there cannot even be an offense for which there was only an arrest, or one which is still pending in court. In such a scenario, the US citizen or permanent resident will be deemed rehabilitated by the effect of time, and therefore allowed to enter Canada again, once ten years have elapsed from the moment all ordered conditions pertaining to the DUI conviction have been successfully completed. This includes any imposed probation or supervision period. Such a period must either have been completed through to its full term or through an early discharge from the court. Should you have any concerns about entering Canada again after the ten year time period, please do not hesitate to contact us and speak with an immigration lawyer.
Scenario 2: One dismissed DUI on record
In a case where a US citizen or permanent resident had a DUI conviction, but then later successfully had it dismissed, and has nothing else whatsoever on record, he or she should be able to enter Canada once again following the dismissal, though again, the burden of proof is on the person attempting to enter Canada. JTM Immigration can offer its services for the preparation of a legal opinion letter discussing this matter.
Scenario 3: Two or more DUI convictions on record
If a person has more than one DUI conviction on record, i.e. two DUI convictions or more, the possibility of being deemed rehabilitated after ten years, as mentioned in Scenario 1, no longer applies unfortunately. This means that regardless how much time passes, an American will remain inadmissible and unable to enter Canada. For example, someone with a DUI conviction in 1985, and another in 1992, would, to this day, still be considered inadmissible and unable to enter Canada.
What can someone do if they want to enter Canada and have one DUI or more on record?
If an American has two or more DUIs on record, or has a single DUI that has not been dismissed, and it has not yet been ten years since every condition was complied with, there are two options to consider in order to be able to travel to Canada. The first would be to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). If the application is approved, the permit holder would then be allowed to travel to Canada for the duration indicated on the permit. As the name indicates however, this solution is temporary in nature. Once the duration expires, the person once again becomes inadmissible and would therefore either have to request a new TRP or request an extension within the imposed deadline to do so. There is no specific time to wait in order to be eligible to apply for a TRP. An American could therefore apply shortly after having been arrested and charged with a DUI, despite no final decision having been reached yet and having no other offense on record.
A more permanent solution would be to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation. If approved, this application therefore removes inadmissibility permanently. In order to be eligible to apply for criminal rehabilitation, a person must wait a minimum of five years from the moment all conditions pertaining to a sentence have been met. In other words, all cases for the offenses on a person’s record must have been closed for over five years. Therefore, this option can potentially be viable for a person who has a single DUI on record and nothing else, whose case was successfully closed six years ago, and who does not want to wait the full remaining four years before travelling to Canada again.
Disclaimer: Please note that the above scenarios are hypothetical only and do not constitute legal advice. As each case is unique, should you have any specific questions pertaining to your situation, we invite to consult with one of our lawyers as part of a free consultation.
To find out if you are eligible to enter Canada with a DUI, please call our team of Lawyers on 1-844-326-8410 for a Free Consultation. We handle first and foremost inadmissibility issues.