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How Can An American With a DUI Travel to Canada on Business?

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Business Travel to Canada, Inadmissibility Issues and Waivers and Criminal Inadmissibility

How Can An American With a DUI Travel to Canada on Business?

Canada and the United States are close neighbours, and many people who live near the border forget the fact that they are entering a foreign country and cross the border regularly for work or pleasure. Even though Canada is a friendly, welcoming country, to enter the country you must have a valid passport and meet other admissibility criteria. If you are an American with a criminal incident in your background - even something minor, many years ago - you may be found inadmissible to enter Canada on business or holidays. This can be frustrating and even embarrassing when a minor incident from decades ago prevents you from doing your job and travelling to Canada. If you are inadmissible to enter Canada due to a past criminal, security, health or other reason but want to visit Canada for business, holiday or a personal reason, a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) may be a solution to allow you to visit Canada temporarily.

How To Travel to Canada On A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)

To enter Canada, an individual must:

  • have a valid passport
  • be in good health
  • have proof of funds to cover their stay,
  • demonstrate ties to your home country
  • agree to leave Canada when your visit is over
  • have a clear criminal record

The U.S. and Canadian border authorities electronically exchange personal data about cross-border travellers. If an individual has any criminal conviction on their U.s.S record - even a DUI from decades ago - they may be 'deemed criminally inadmissible to Canada.' A single DUI or dismissed charge can result in an American business traveller being turned away at the border by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).


To be eligible for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), your need to enter or stay in Canada must outweigh the health or safety risks to Canadian society, as determined by an immigration or a CBSA officer. Typically, documented business travel is considered a valid reason to enter Canada.

Who Qualifies for a TRP?

Depending on the criminal record and how much time has passed, you may be eligible to qualify for a Temporary Resident Permit. Valid reasons to apply for entry to Canada even if you are inadmissible may include:

  • travel for work
  • to visit an unwell family member
  • attendance at a family wedding

If you are found criminally inadmissible to enter Canada, you must have been convicted of a criminal offence and:

  • have had less than 5 years pass since the completion of the sentence (including jail time, community service hours, probation and fee payment), OR
  • have had more than 5 years pass since the completion of the sentence, AND you have not applied for, or have yet to receive a decision on an application for criminal rehabilitation.

How to Apply for a Temporary Resident Permit for Business Travel to Canada

Temporary Resident Permits are issued for fixed periods of time, and you must leave Canada by the expiry date or get a new one before the original document expires. Obtaining a Temporary Resident Permit requires an application to be submitted. As with all IRCC immigration applications, there are fees to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit.

FAQs About Temporary Resident Permits

1. How long does it take to get an approved TRP?

It typically takes several months to get a Temporary Resident Permit approved, but due to the Covid paperwork backlog, right now it can take even longer. So, if you need a TRP for yourself or an employee, apply as soon as possible.

2. Can a TRP application be expedited?

Yes, an American business traveller can expedite a TRP application by bringing a TRP application to the border and presenting it a presented at a Canadian Point of Entry (POE) for the border agent to review. Border agents have considerable discretion in determining whether or not to grant entry via a Temporary Resident Permit.

3. What if my TRP is denied at the border?

If your TRP application is incomplete, or your interview with the Canadian border agent goes poorly, you could be denied entry to Canada. Not only would this be embarrassing, it will also go on your record and could make it more difficult to enter Canada in the future.

4. How can I improve my odds of having my TRP approved?

If you need to travel to Canada on business and you have been - or are afraid you will be - found criminally inadmissible you can take several actions to increase the chances your Temporary Resident Permit will be approved:

Apply for a single entry TRPInstead of applying for a Temporary Resident Permit for several years, apply for a single entry TRP to cover one business trip, then apply for a longer TRP in the future.

Get a NEXUS card

To qualify for a NEXUS trusted traveller card, you must be fully admissible to both Canada and the United States. A U.S. citizen with a past DUI conviction will need to be deemed criminally rehabilitated in order to get approval

Talk To An Experienced Business Immigration Lawyer
An experienced Canadian immigration lawyer can
• help you process your TRP application
• prepare for your interview with the border agents
• proactively look for any potential pitfalls with your application and suggest alternative options to help you meet your business goals
• guide you and manage every step of the application process


Are You A Business Traveller Who Has a Canadian Criminal Inadmissibility Issue?

Don't risk getting turned away at the border. Ackah Business Immigration Law can help you find out if you are inadmissible to enter Canada and how to overcome an inadmissibility issue.

Contact Ackah Law at (403) 452‑9515 or contact@ackahlaw.com.

Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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