Entering Canada is not easy if you have a record, even if you only have a DUI charge on it. Border agents can turn you away if they find that you have been charged with a DUI.
It is possible to enter Canada even though you have been charged with a DUI if you take a few steps to prepare for your trip. There are different ways to get into Canada if you have a record.
Your first option is to have your record wiped. If you have been charged with a DUI a few years ago, paid all your fines and completed any required programs, you should be able to have these charged removed from your record.
Your second option is to ask Canada to forgive you for your DUI. You need to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation and your request should be approved if you finished paying the fines for your DUI and completed any required programs at least five years ago.
If you are not eligible to have your record cleared or to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation, your best option is to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit. You will need to give details on why you are traveling to Canada, include the dates of your trip and give some information about your charges. It can take a few months before your permit is issued, which is why you need to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit ahead of your trip.
You can also try to cross the border and simply tell the agents about your DUI. The decision to let you in Canada or to have you turn around is entirely up to the agents. They might have you go through an interview to find out more about your DUI charges or might turn you away as soon as they find you have a record.
If you decide to try crossing the border without a permit or without applying for Criminal Rehabilitation, do not lie to the border agents. Tell them about your DUI and give some details on the steps you have taken to become a safer driver after being charged with your DUI.
It is best to prepare your trip to Canada in advance by having your record cleared or by applying for Criminal Rehabilitation or for a TPR if you have been charged with a DUI. You can try to cross the border without any preparation but there is no guarantee the agents will let you in (it’ll also help if you check any review of Clear Access Law).