Can You Go to Canada with a DUI Conviction?

A DWI conviction in the United States, whether you call it a DUI vs DWI, can have adverse consequences in Canada.  DWI charges and Canada

That may result in preventing access into Canada, as impaired driving may be deemed an offense against the Crown.

That’s a big deal if you’re standing in line at Passport Control, being told you’re being denied entry into the country and have to return to the United States.

Given the possible consequences of a conviction, if you travel or have business interests in Canada, we think it’s a good idea to carefully consider your legal options – Bill Powers, Charlotte DWI Lawyer 

Our defense firm focuses on legal representation in court for criminal charges, including DWI defense.

We are not immigration lawyers.

As such, we strongly recommend anyone who is facing DWI charges in North Carolina also consult with a specialist in immigration law.

We are more than willing to explain the legal processes involved with your immigration lawyer, once authorized to do so.

How to find information about foreign laws:

For more detailed descriptions of countries along with warnings and information about immigration and travel restrictions, see:

Entry into Canada:

  • Requires non-citizens traveling into Canada to keep / possess both:
    • Proof of Citizenship
    • Proof of Identity / Identification

Before attempting to travel to Canada, especially in instances where there is a criminal record, it is highly recommended travelers first verify entry eligibility.

When it comes Canada, even certain minor criminal offenses can adversely affect an individual’s entry status, thereby resulting in denied entry and even removal.

Immigration Law can be extraordinarily complex.  The lawyers associated with Powers Law Firm PA do NOT practice Immigration Law; nor do attorneys or staff provide legal opinions as to the ability to travel to other countries.  Indeed, certain judgments / convictions in the United States may also preclude the ability to travel out-of-country and even out-of-state, irrespective of the foreign country’s laws and regulations.

If you or a loved on is on Supervised Probation and is otherwise subject to a Judgment of the Court, it is EXTREMELY important to determine whether that judgment or probation precludes the opportunity to travel.


If you want to travel and have a criminal history, it is a much better practice to ask permission rather than beg forgiveness – Bill Powers 


Unauthorized travel may be a violation of the terms and conditions of a suspended judgment and probation issued by the Court.

Furthermore, the terms and conditions for Pre-Trial Release during the pendency of criminal charges may not allow for travel outside a particular county within North Carolina, or outside the state or even outside the United States.

  • Do NOT assume travel is permitted
  • If on Supervised Probation, confirm with the PO Probation Officer, travel is allowed
  • If on Pretrial Release or Supervision, confirm travel is allowed
  • Seek out experienced legal advice / consult with an attorney

Important Law(s) for Canada in Particular:


canada rules

How Do I Know if I am Eligible to Travel to Canada?

If you are not sure about your eligibility to travel into Canada it is recommended you seek professional legal advice.  For more information you may also wish to consult:

For More Information: Immigrating to Canada

If there are restrictions to entry due to misdemeanor or criminal charge, is there any way to change that or be allowed back into Canada?

There may be options available that could allow for entry**, including:

  • Applying for Rehabilitation
  • Official Determination of Rehabilitation
  • NOTE:  Passage of Time may be relevant
  • NOTE:  Type and Seriousness of Offense may be Relevant to Determination


**Given the level of complexity of such issues and potential for long-lasting consequences, it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED one consult with legal counsel experienced with issues involving immigration and entry status.  


Canada criminal rehabilitation Picture

See More: Canada Criminal Rehabilitation

What documentation is required to apply for Canadian Criminal Rehabilitation?

  • Application for Criminal Rehabilitation
  • Passport
  • Copy of court judgments and documentation related to verdict, judgment and sentencing
  • Copy of the Canadian Law(s)
  • Criminal Clearance form
  • Immigration Fee form
  • It is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED you speak with experienced legal counsel before preparing or submitting any formal documentation


Canada rehabilitation checklist picture

See More: Canada Rehabilitation checklist

Fees for immigration services and Approval of Rehabilitation


Immigration rehab fees steps

See More: Canadian Fees for Immigration Rehabilitation

Before travelling to Canada, individuals with a criminal history should verify their entry status.  Even seemingly minor offenses may render an individual inadmissible to Canada – Bill Powers 

Canada is Different

The Canada Border Services Agency CBSA border agents have access to the United States / FBI National Crime Information Center NCIC database.

Using the United States Citizen’s traveler passport:

  • NCIC National Crime Information Center
  • The United States Government Shares Information
  • Special Access of Database Granted to Canada
  • With such access, Criminal History can be consulted prior to entry
  • DWI DUI Impaired Driving under the influence Convictions are Problematic


Travel Restrictions

A conviction can cause a U.S. citizen’s ability to travel outside the United States to become complicated.

When it comes to having a criminal conviction or record, some countries outside the United States impose travel restrictions:

  • A criminal conviction may forfeit the ability to qualify for “Trusted Traveler” or “Global Entry” programs
  • Some countries outright refuse entry to individuals convicted of certain offenses
  • For United States Citizens, a conviction may result in the Revocation of a Passport for a period of time


See More:  What Happens When Convicted of a Felony


Immigration Information and Resources

Because the attorneys and law office(s) of Powers Law Firm PA do not practice immigration law, all legal inquiries are directed to other firms for formal legal advice and opinions.  Powers Law Firm PA is in no way affiliated with the following firms and agencies.  Powers Law Firm PA does NOT accept fees for referring matters.

We believe the following law firms are leaders in the legal profession, as evidenced by their multitude of individual awards, accolades, and certifications:

Whether you choose to call or consult with one of the following resources, it is again STRONGLY RECOMMENDED you seek out professional legal advice before taking any action.

Charlotte, North Carolina:

Atlanta, Georgia:

Los Angeles, California:





Contact Information