Saturday, August 20, 2011

So, Who Can and Cannot Travel To Canada?


Most people assume that just about anyone can enter Canada. “This cannot be further from the truth,” states immigration lawyer, Satveer Chaudhary of the Chaudhary Law Office in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota.. “Canadian Customs and Immigration Officers have ultimate authority to permit or deny anyone entry to Canada, as is the case with U.S. Customs and Immigration Service. Most attempting to visit Canada don’t, however, have a criminal record and are allowed to enter. Consequently, most of us never think twice.”


What if you’ve been convicted of drunk driving? One common myth is that a person entering Canada with a DWI conviction is only prohibited from driving. This is absolutely not the case. In Canada a DUI is a felony that may be punished by imprisonment for up to 5 years, and therefore under the Canadian Immigration Act, can block your entry into Canada.
Anyone with a conviction in the United States that’s treated as a felony or indictable offense in Canada can be stopped at the border, even if the conviction OR CHARGE is a misdemeanor in the U.S. More surprisingly, should your legal entanglement not be a felony or indictable offense in Canada, Customs and Immigration Officers still have ultimate authority to deny entry to Canada.² Imagine taking your teenager “up north” for their first Canadian fishing trip, and being stopped at the border because 10 years ago you were charged with reckless driving or got a DUI. 

Almost all convictions (including DUI, DWI, reckless driving, negligent driving, misdemeanor drug possession, all felonies, domestic violence, assault, shoplifting, theft, etc. can make a person unable to enter Canada, regardless of when the incident occurred. For this reason, it’s not recommended that persons with past convictions attempt to enter Canada without first obtaining the necessary documents. Remember, it’s always the final decision of officers at ports of entry to decide whether a person should be allowed into Canada. “The Canadian Consulate emphasizes that this entry is discretionary,” Chaudhary continues, “and in the post 9/11 aftermath, officers are more typically exercising their discretion to deny entry than to grant entry.”
Phone(952) 525-2285
Fax (800) 447-1381

Chaudhary Law Office
Park Place East, Suite 700
5775 Wayzata Boulevard
St. Louis Park, MN 55416

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