Client Guide – Travel to Canada
If you read our previous blog, then you know that Reynolds Defense Firm makes it a point to help everyone who calls our office. Sometimes, people call us for legal help that is outside our DUI law specialty. And sometimes, clients want to know how their DUI arrest is going to affect other important things in their lives. So, we have made it a point to get answers to some of the frequently asked questions that you might even be wondering about, yourself.
One inquiry we often get asked about by clients is, “Can I travel to Canada with a DUI charge?” To help answer this question, we spent a few minutes speaking with Canadian Immigration Attorney, Marc LaForce, who was happy to share some of his expertise:
Does a DUI conviction make someone inadmissible?
ML: Yes – with the exception of any type of deferred prosecution (like the Diversion program in Oregon). If someone is given a deferred sentence, they are considered to be acquitted of the crime. For peace of mind, we recommend that they carry paperwork that includes if charges were subsequently dropped, dismissed or if the applicant “beat” the case.
Does a mere DUI or reckless driving charge (or arrest with no formal conviction) make someone inadmissible?
ML: Yes, from the date of the arrest until the case is resolved, through a conviction, dismissal, etc., you are inadmissible. While the presumption of innocence until proven guilty is a core judicial principle as it applies to criminal law, border officers are bound by administrative law (i.e. immigration law) which carries a much less standard of conviction under a “balance of probabilities”. For this reason, a person with pending charges (with no final disposition) will be considered “inadmissible” because, on a balance of probabilities, they have committed an offense that if committed in Canada would be a crime. For this reason, the firm has heard countless stories of applicants being turned away at the border despite the absence of a criminal conviction.
What is the application process?
ML: A person who is inadmissible and wants to request entry must apply for a “waiver” called a Temporary Residency Permit (“TRP”) in Canada. A TRP will override your “inadmissibility” for a period of time, from a single-entry to a blanket (multiple-entry) spanning a 24-month period depending on your circumstances.
How long is the application process? Are there expedited options?
ML: The typical adjudication period for a well-prepared application, via the consulate, is four months. The consulate will consider expedited requests and try to work within your specific time frame, however that process can still take up to 30-60 days. Our office has helped many people get a TRP processed in as soon as 72 hours.
What about the scenario of an upcoming, preplanned business trip, wherein the persons job is dependent on the trip?
ML: Our office has helped many people get a TRP processed in as soon as 72 hours and they are approved 99% of the time with the appropriate documentation (assuming a single misdemeanor blemish on their record). We have also helped our clients obtain an extended TRP that is valid for multiple entries within a 6-month period.
How much time must pass, from the conviction date, before you are deemed admissible again?
ML: Convictions prior to December 2018 can be “cured” after 10 years. As of December 2018, a DUI (and reckless driving) is now considered a “serious criminal offence” which means the passage of time can never cure your inadmissibility. Now – you absolutely must apply to the consulate.
We can help
If you’re facing a DUI (or DUII) charge in Oregon, call Reynolds Defense Firm today. Our team has the expertise to handle your criminal case and the understanding to help you on the human-side as well. We hope that you never need to call us, but if you do, we are here. You can contact us for your free consultation by filling out the form on our website or by calling us at 503-223-3422.