Drinking and Driving
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Impact on Immigration
A visitor to Canada faces possible deportation
upon conviction for impaired driving, drive over 80 mgs., or refuse
breath sample. A person who has committed a comparable offence
abroad could be denied entry to Canada.
Visitor includes anyone lawfully in Canada
as a tourist, or on a work or student visa. It also includes a
person who has approval in principle for landing on humanitarian
and compassionate grounds.
Inadmissible to Canada
A person seeking to come to Canada as a landed
immigrant or as a visitor is likely inadmissible if he or she
has been found guilty abroad of a drinking and driving offence.
Permission to enter Canada
found guilty of drinking and driving can apply for a temporary resident permit. Issued at the discretion of immigration authorities, the permit is valid up to three years. It can authorize single or multiple entries. The fee is $200 Cdn.
Once five years have passed from the completion
of any sentence imposed for the offence, including any driving
suspension, a person with a drinking and driving conviction may
overcome inadmissibility upon receiving approval of rehabilitation
from an authorized immigration official.
Persons not yet eligible for approval of rehabilitation
could be granted a temporary resident permit.
Deportation from Canada
A person in Canada as a visitor who is convicted
of a drinking and driving offence may not be able to renew his
or her visitor status. Upon conviction, such a person becomes
inadmissible to Canada and could be deported. To overcome this
inadmissibility, a record suspension is required. For information on record suspensions:
see National Parole Board.
Approval of Rehabilitation
An application for approval of rehabilitation
Criminal clearance certificate from police authorities in
all countries (including Canada) where you have resided for
the past 10 years. If you have lived in the United States, you
must provide a state certificate (or letter from a police authority)
for each state you have lived in the past 10 years and a national
Conviction certificates for all convictions. Acceptable proof
may be original or certified true copies of each court judgment
such as a certificate of conviction or a police report. This
information must be sufficient to establish the nature of the
offence, the section of the law under which you were charged,
the verdict and sentence. If the conviction certificate does
not include enough information, you should obtain other court
records or transcripts.
Any documents relating to sentence, parole, probation,
pardon, or record suspension, such as court records, judge's comments (including recommendation
regarding parole), probation or parole reports.
If you were a juvenile offender, a letter or document proving
that the country where you were convicted has special measures
for juvenile offenders.
Photocopies of the laws under which you were convicted.
A personal written statement outlining the circumstances
of your offence(s) and describing all efforts you have since
made to re-establish yourself as a law-abiding citizen.
Photocopies of the pages from your passport showing your
name, date of birth, and country of birth. If you are a U.S.
citizen and do not have a passport, provide a copy of your driver's
licence and birth certificate.
Certified translations for all documents (e.g., police, birth
certificates, etc.) that are not in English or French.
Character references from public officials or respected private
citizens may help.
A fee of $200 Cdn. (or $1,000 Cdn. if your conviction is
for an offence committed abroad that carries a maximum jail
penalty of 10 years or more under Canadian law).
You may be contacted for an interview.
"Applying for Criminal Rehabilitation,"
a kit containing the required application form (IMM 1444) and
a guide for its completion, can be downloaded or ordered by mail
at Citizenship and Immigration Canada's
You can complete the form even if you are not
yet eligible to apply, but would like to canvass options for entering
Canada (no fee required).
Apply early: it can take up to a year to process
If there is any possibility you will one day
have to enter Canada, you would be prudent to secure certified
true copies of all court records relating to your conviction and
sentence, including proof of fine payment, and a transcript of
the evidence underlying your conviction.
Disclaimer: The material on this site is not intended as legal advice. It merely conveys general information on legal issues commonly encountered by persons facing criminal charges in Canada. If you are charged with an offence, you should contact a criminal lawyer.