Can You Immigrate to Canada with a DUI Conviction? Yes, Here’s How
How to Immigrate to Canada with a DUI in 2023
It is possible to immigrate to Canada with a DUI, but it may make the process more complicated. A DUI conviction is considered a serious criminal offense in Canada and can be grounds for inadmissibility.
However, if you have completed any sentences or have been granted a pardon for the offense, you may be eligible to immigrate to Canada.
Start by Understanding the Impact of a DUI on your Canada Immigration Application
If you have a DUI and are looking to immigrate to Canada, it’s important to understand how your record may impact your application. Criminal inadmissibility refers to when a person has committed an offense (such as a DUI). Inadmissibility depends on how serious your DUI was.
The severity of your offense, the amount of time that has passed since completing any penalties or fines associated with the DUI, and the number of DUIs on your record will all be taken into consideration when evaluating your eligibility for permanent residency.
A DUI Impacts all Canada Immigration Programs
Even if you apply for immigration through a different program such as a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) or study visa program, you will still be considered criminally inadmissible if you have not yet been deemed admissible to Canada.
Steps to Immigrate to Canada with a DUI
If an applicant has a criminal history for DUI that renders them inadmissible, and they plan to eventually move to Canada, they can file special paperwork with the Canadian Government in an effort to resolve their inadmissibility.
If all sentencing including loss of driver’s license and probation was finished at least five years ago, an applicant can apply for ‘Criminal Rehabilitation’ which can permanently resolve inadmissibility to Canada.
This involves convincing Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that you are safe and will never reoffend. If a person is approved for Criminal Rehabilitation, their past DUI or other criminal history will no longer prevent them from immigrating to Canada.
Once granted ‘Rehabilitation’ status their past offenses will no longer inhibit their ability to immigrate to Canada through Spousal Sponsorship, Express Entry, or any other Canadian immigration pathway.
Immigrating to Canada with a Pending DUI
Having a pending DUI charge could prevent you from being able to immigrate to Canada in 2023.
According to Canadian immigration law, a pending misdemeanor or felony charge is considered “under indictment” and may make an individual inadmissible to the country.
Therefore, if you have been arrested for DUI and the charge is still pending, this may affect your ability to move to Canada.
When applying for permanent residence in Canada, you will be required to provide a recent police check, which will display your entire criminal history including both adult and juvenile offenses. Depending on your home country this police check may also show your arrest record, regardless of charge.
If any arrest appears for what could that could be considered a serious crime in Canada then it your application for permanent residence will be denied unless you can prove that the offense is equivalent to a non-conviction.
In these circumstances you will still need to obtain Canadian Rehabilitation before being eligible to move to Canada.
Immigrate to Canada with a DUI From Long Ago
If you have a single DUI or DWI that is very old, you may be “grandfathered in” under the old rules and considered deemed rehabilitated by the passage of time.
This means that you are deemed rehabilitated without having to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation. However, the onus is always on the applicant to prove their admissibility. Therefore, you may need to still provide evidence of your eligibility for grandfathered Deemed Rehabilitation.
If you have more than one DUI conviction, Deemed Rehabilitation will not be an option and you will need to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation if you wish to immigrate to Canada. This involves convincing Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that you are safe and will not re-offend.
Jacqueline Chow is an international immigration and visa expert with over 15 years of experience in the field. With a background in law and a passion for helping people, Jacqueline has built a reputation as a trusted and reliable source of information and advice on all aspects of immigration and visas. She has worked with clients from all over the world, including high-net-worth individuals, professionals, skilled workers and families. As a sought-after speaker and commentator Jacqueline has been featured in various media outlets and has given talks on immigration and visas at conferences and events around the world.