Traffic Q&A: DUI on your record? Entry into Canada may be denied

Question: Can they stop you from going into Canada because you have a DUI on your record?

There’s a footnote on the Washington State Ferries schedule that reads, “Individuals with felony or DUI convictions are routinely denied entry into Canada.”

Is that the case if you’re driving, too?

What if you’re only a passenger in the car? Do they check everybody, or is it like a random spot check? — Justin, Tacoma

Answer: Yes. Canadian border officials can and will turn you back if you have a conviction on your record for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

It’s not randomly enforced. They check everybody, every time.

“It’s part of our policy,” said Harkiran Rajasansi, consul at the Canadian Consulate in Seattle. “Impaired driving is considered a criminal offense in Canada.”

Not the one driving?

Doesn’t matter, Rajasansi said. The rule applies to passengers, too.

It is possible for someone with a DUI to get a one-time pass, called a “temporary resident permit,” but there’s a $200 fee to apply. The fee won’t be refunded if you’re refused. If it’s been more than five years since your conviction you might also stand a chance of being declared “rehabilitated.”

Rajasansi suggests this website for more details: