McCamley & Branchaud, P.C.

Will Your DUI Keep You Out of Canada?

Section 253 of Canada’s Criminal Code:

“Every one commits an offense who operates a motor vehicle…

(a) while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle is impaired by alcohol or a drug’ or

(b) having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred milliliters of blood.

Conviction under 23 V.S.A. ยง 1201 is equivalent to Section 253 of Canada’s Criminal Code and will make a foreign national inadmissible to Canada under Paragraph 36(2)(b) of the Canadian Immigration and Refuge Protection Act.

For a single misdemeanor conviction of DUI, the rule of thumb is as follows:

1. If 10 + years have elapsed, the individual is “deemed rehabilitated” and can freely enter Canada.

2. If 5 + years have elapsed, the individual may apply for rehabilitation at a Canadian Consulate/Embassy (or certain land or airport ports of entry). This is a very labor intensive paper process, taking at least one year, requiring all court records, proof of compliance, letters of reference, FBI background check, birth certificate, passport, etc.

3. If less that 5 years have elapsed, a “discretionary permit” (called a Temporary Resident Permit) may be applied for. This process is similar to the application for rehabilitation. The 5 year waiting period begins when the sentence for the crime that made the individual inadmissible is completed, i.e. payment of fines, completion of probation, etc.

The key distinction under Canadian Law is whether an offense is summary in nature or indictable under the Canadian Criminal Code (whether the offense was actually indicted or treated as a summary offense).

Offenses committed outside Canada will be analyzed by comparing them to the Canadian Criminal Code. DWI/DUI is an indictable offense. If an offense is summary the defendant can enter Canada but if the offense is indictable, the defendant is deemed inadmissible.

For information, including forms, go to

  1. We welcome any feedback, questions or comments