Ask a Trooper: Crossing into Canada with a DUI on record

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“ASK A TROOPER” by Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol

Question: I want to take my nephew to Canada fishing. He got a DUI about 3-5 years ago, so what are the current rules/regulations of crossing the border into Canada if you have a DUI?

Answer: This is a good question but does not apply to the Minnesota State Patrol or the United States of America. However, I will attempt to answer this from what I found out from the “Canada Border Crossing Services.”

When entering Canada, be prepared to be asked by a Canada Border Services Agency  officer: “Have you ever been arrested, fingerprinted or appeared in court?” This includes DUI convictions also known as DWI (driving while intoxicated). Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence in Canada and the officer can refuse you entry their country if you have been convicted of this offense.

The good news is that this can be fixed via one of two methods, depending on the length of time passed since the conviction:

–For DUI and convictions less than 5 years old: An application for a Temporary Resident Permit will allow travel into Canada for business, pleasure or both.

–For DUI and convictions over 5 years old: A rehabilitation permit may be applied for allowing permanent hassle-free travel into Canada.

Regardless of the nature of any conviction, whether it be a DUI, misdemeanor or felony, all alcohol-related convictions are treated seriously. It is always best to tell the truth when speaking with a Canada Border Services Agency officer because if a lie is uncovered, you may be refused entry into Canada in the future.

Despite the port of entry or method of transportation used to cross into Canada, you can be denied entry for a DUI if you:

–Arrive by air at a Canadian airport.

–Are not driving and are a passenger in a private or commercial vehicle.

–Leave a ship docked at a Canadian Harbor.

Canada Border Crossing Services can help you successfully file the correct information to be granted either a Temporary Resident Permit or an application for Rehabilitation. For more information, go to or

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 W., Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at [email protected])



One Response to Ask a Trooper: Crossing into Canada with a DUI on record

  1. Hi there.
    Thank-you for posting this article. There is one item that needs clarification, however. Eligibility for rehabilitation does not begin five years after the date of conviction as stated, it is five years after the date of full completion of sentencing (which includes all probation). Thank-you.

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