Entry into Canada after a conviction for a Kansas DUI has always been tricky, but it is about to get a lot harder. New laws went into effect on December 18, 2018, which classify a DUI as a serious offense and put it on par with some of the most violent and serious crimes imaginable. A DUI conviction in Canada can carry 5-10 years in prison, even for cases in which there was no accident or injury. Even DUI charges which are pled down to reckless driving are considered to be serious offenses and make the person convicted inadmissible to Canada. Obviously, Canada is taking DUI cases very seriously and you can expect that agents at the border will take foreign DUI convictions seriously, as well. Anyone convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in Kansas, or anywhere else in America, may be turned away at the border. It is possible to have travel to Canada cleared with Canadian immigration officials in advance. Travel permits and visas may be issued upon application prior to traveling to Canada. This is something that you would likely want a Canadian immigration attorney to handle for you. The new laws took effect in December of 2018, but people with DUI convictions from before that date can expect enhanced scrutiny at border.
A few years ago, it appeared that Canada was going to soften its stance on American citizens with prior DUI convictions traveling to Canada for business or vacation because so many Canadian businesses that cater to tourists were seeing their customers stopped at the border and turned away. Many hunting and fishing lodges were pushing to allow temporary travel to Canada by those with DUI’s because they were losing business. However, Canada has actually doubled down now on their stance concerning admissibility to that country after such a conviction. No other country takes such a hard line approach. Obviously, as our northern neighbor, there are a whole lot of Americans who travel to Canada for business and pleasure, so this change in the law is going to affect a large number of people. Many Americans are not aware that a prior DUI case will prevent them from entering Canada and are surprised when they reach Canadian immigration control and either get delayed for hours and/or denied entry. This is especially embarrassing when traveling with co-workers on business travel.
It is possible to have travel to Canada cleared with Canadian immigration officials in advance. Travel permits and visas may be issued upon application prior to traveling to Canada. This is something that you would likely want a Canadian immigration attorney to handle for you. The new laws took effect in December of 2018, but people with DUI convictions from before that date can expect enhanced scrutiny at border. So, it is best start the process of getting approved for Canadian travel as early as possible and, if you attempt to travel to Canada without a visa, to be prepared for questioning and to produce appropriate paperwork. People who have a DUI case pending or who are on diversion for a DUI from Kansas will want to have a letter from their lawyer that says that there has been no conviction for DUI, and have court certified copies of diversion agreements, orders of dismissal, or anything else that may be helpful to show Canadian immigration officials that he or she has not been convicted.