Can having a record for a misdemeanor crime really keep you out of Canada?

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#1
West Tennessee
60 Posts
Joined May 2006
I have just read something on cruise critic that was published in Feb. of this year that says that Canada will not allow people into the country if they have been convicted of any type of misdemeanor. Someone going in our group to Alaska has been convicted of DUI, does that mean they won't allow him into Vancouver? All of a sudden, I am scared to death. If anyone knows anything please help
#2
california
475 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
On our last cruise to Canada a year and half ago a young woman was pulled out after immagration in Canada because she had some problem with the law in US. She was with a large group from N California and they all went off without her. I don't what she did but we overheard her friends thinking it would be no problem and that it happened several years before. She did not get to go on the cruise.
#3
North Carolina
4,122 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
that's my understanding, though I have not witnessed it. The person may want to check with a Canadian Embassy in the US to get the correct answer.
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#5
Naperville, IL
441 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Yep, my foolish younger brother got caught on a DUI in Seattle and has been turned back at the border twice. The first time he thought it might be a fluke, but after the second time he told us to plan the Alaska trip without him.

I don't know if the system is set up to catch everybody, but I sure have heard plenty of stories. Sorry!

Cindy
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#6
3,960 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
There was a link here to both a US magazine article (from SF, I think) and a Canadian gvt site that outlined the procedure.

Basically, if you have anything on your record since age 18, you are cooked. On the Canadian site it says that speeding tickets are not, at this time, a problem. Everything else is.

The Canadians are now hooked into our crime information system and can retrieve all the dirty little things you did for which the cops were involved. Oh; you say your wife/husband didn't know about that little caper when you were in college? You never happened to mention that time when you were 19 and got caught with a joint? You really did forget about the candy bar you lifted from the store, then got caught? The border guards will be happy to refresh your memory and, perhaps, damage your marriage.
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#7
In the Prairies
165 Posts
Joined May 2007
The US Border is exactly the same....

They grilled my husband for 20 minutes on one speeding ticket that was pardoned! He'd never had one before or since, and it was dismissed! yet they claimed it was his 'criminal' record.
#8
Ottawa Canada
4,275 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Well to turn it around, my BIL has a record and is not allowed in the US. He's too lazy to finish the process of getting a pardon. But you'd think that if they stayed on the ship there'd be no problem, unless this is your embarkation port.
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#9
Adirondack Mountains
3,911 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by cruisinbuddy
Well to turn it around, my BIL has a record and is not allowed in the US. He's too lazy to finish the process of getting a pardon. But you'd think that if they stayed on the ship there'd be no problem, unless this is your embarkation port.
I don't think it is a problem in the reverse, for a US citizen banned from Canada, as long as you leave from Seattle and stay on the ship during the Victoria port day.... this may have changed recently though.
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#10
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
3,748 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
First.... we do not have misdemeanour and criminal offences in Canada... they are called summary and indictable offences.

Secondly, Canada (as all other countries) has laws that prevent other countries criminals from visiting. If your criminal offence is an indictable offence in Canada than they can refuse you entry. Indictable offences are divided into two, those that are serious and those that are not. In the case of those that are not, they look for you to have a clear record for at least 5 years. For those that are serious, they look for you to have a clear record for at least 10 years. (American pardons have no value in Canada and likewise the US does not recognize Canadian pardons.)

When you get to the border don't even think of lying about it. If you have a pardon, you still have a criminal record. Be open and forthwith about it. The border guard has choices to make. He can instantly consider you rehabilitated and at no cost allow you to pass if you are within certain parameters. He can consider you rehabilitated but require you to pay the $200 fee to have your record immediately cleared and give you a permit (which means from then on, your record is clear in Canada and you can travel without worries. Make sure you get a receipt and proof) or he can deny you entry. Entry is denied to about 1 in every 1000 people coming over the border into Canada and about 1 in every 1500 people coming into the US.

Both countries maintain the same rules and both have systems in place for those who have criminal records to have their record cleared for travel. In Canada the fee is CAD$200 unless ministerial approval is required (that's CAD$1000 instead.... just like Martha Stewart had to do). In the US, if I remember correctly it's USD$265 but if refused there is no appeal system (you can reapply after a few years, I think it's 10, but they will tell you so).

The border guards in Canada are allowed to clear just ONE offence, they have no discretion beyond one offence.

And as all countries do, the offences are rated at the MAXIMUM in the country you are visiting. For example, even if we do allow plea bargaining that moves the indictable offence of impaired driving (DUI in the US) to a summary offence, it is legally an indictable offence and therefore subject to the minimum waiting period for indictable offences. (We do see impaired driving as a serious crime in Canada... it's attempted murder with a 1 ton weapon.)

All countries want to keep each other's criminals out. Don't blame Canada. The US has the same system. And the information is being provided to Canada by Homeland Security. Your local police can provide you with a free copy of your criminal record. The FBI will provide one for a small fee and can even certify it. This must be requested through your local police as they want to verify that they are protecting your privacy (yeah!).

If you are worried about it, call the border security at the border you are coming through. If you are only stopping in Canada on a cruise, the worst that they will do is confine you to the ship. It's highly unlikely to be a problem, especially if the offence isn't serious. But if it's DUI, then it's not a summary offence, it's an indictable offence.
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#11
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
3,748 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by BSQ
that's my understanding, though I have not witnessed it. The person may want to check with a Canadian Embassy in the US to get the correct answer.
I wouldn't bother with the embassy or consulate. They will just repeat the law to you. Try the Canada Border Services Agency and they will be able to point people in the right direction.

And again, I can't say this enough... DUI is a SERIOUS crime and it is not a misdemeanour (summary offence). It is a criminal (indictable) offence. When offences are compared, they are compared as they are seen in the country you are visiting.
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#12
CA
621 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Originally posted by Ephraim
I wouldn't bother with the embassy or consulate. They will just repeat the law to you. Try the Canada Border Services Agency and they will be able to point people in the right direction.

And again, I can't say this enough... DUI is a SERIOUS crime and it is not a misdemeanour (summary offence). It is a criminal (indictable) offence. When offences are compared, they are compared as they are seen in the country you are visiting.
I am glad to see that border security is being taken seriously, especially in light of that guy flying all around with TB. How scary. I wish the U.S. would look at DUI as a more serious offense, very nice that Canada considers it a 1 ton weapon. Hope your friend gets this cleared up and is able to enjoy his trip. I am sure if the offense is not a major one everything will be worked out.
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#13
Moon Township, Pa
23,139 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
And in Canada, they take DUI much more seriously than the US courts do. Heck, we have people here that have been arrested 12 times for DUI and still haven't served one day in jail. My cousin dates a Canadian and she had problems with DUI in her residence of Toronto, and there are always problems with her coming over the border in Windsor to Detroit. BTW, she still cannot drive as the Canadian courts took away her license.
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Darcie
#14
Adirondack Mountains
3,911 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Actually it depends on where in the US... here in NY the second DWI is a felony puishable by up to 4 years in state prison.
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Ginny



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#15
Sandy Springs, GA
6,536 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Originally posted by Ephraim
First.... we do not have misdemeanour and criminal offences in Canada... they are called summary and indictable offences.

Secondly, Canada (as all other countries) has laws that prevent other countries criminals from visiting. If your criminal offence is an indictable offence in Canada than they can refuse you entry. Indictable offences are divided into two, those that are serious and those that are not. In the case of those that are not, they look for you to have a clear record for at least 5 years. For those that are serious, they look for you to have a clear record for at least 10 years. (American pardons have no value in Canada and likewise the US does not recognize Canadian pardons.)

When you get to the border don't even think of lying about it. If you have a pardon, you still have a criminal record. Be open and forthwith about it. The border guard has choices to make. He can instantly consider you rehabilitated and at no cost allow you to pass if you are within certain parameters. He can consider you rehabilitated but require you to pay the $200 fee to have your record immediately cleared and give you a permit (which means from then on, your record is clear in Canada and you can travel without worries. Make sure you get a receipt and proof) or he can deny you entry. Entry is denied to about 1 in every 1000 people coming over the border into Canada and about 1 in every 1500 people coming into the US.

Both countries maintain the same rules and both have systems in place for those who have criminal records to have their record cleared for travel. In Canada the fee is CAD$200 unless ministerial approval is required (that's CAD$1000 instead.... just like Martha Stewart had to do). In the US, if I remember correctly it's USD$265 but if refused there is no appeal system (you can reapply after a few years, I think it's 10, but they will tell you so).

The border guards in Canada are allowed to clear just ONE offence, they have no discretion beyond one offence.

And as all countries do, the offences are rated at the MAXIMUM in the country you are visiting. For example, even if we do allow plea bargaining that moves the indictable offence of impaired driving (DUI in the US) to a summary offence, it is legally an indictable offence and therefore subject to the minimum waiting period for indictable offences. (We do see impaired driving as a serious crime in Canada... it's attempted murder with a 1 ton weapon.)

All countries want to keep each other's criminals out. Don't blame Canada. The US has the same system. And the information is being provided to Canada by Homeland Security. Your local police can provide you with a free copy of your criminal record. The FBI will provide one for a small fee and can even certify it. This must be requested through your local police as they want to verify that they are protecting your privacy (yeah!).

If you are worried about it, call the border security at the border you are coming through. If you are only stopping in Canada on a cruise, the worst that they will do is confine you to the ship. It's highly unlikely to be a problem, especially if the offence isn't serious. But if it's DUI, then it's not a summary offence, it's an indictable offence.
Very, very nice summary. Thanks for presenting that so well! I am now really, really glad that I kept my nose clean --- on both sides of the border!
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#16
Georgia
25 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
"Your local police can provide you with a free copy of your criminal record. The FBI will provide one for a small fee and can even certify it. This must be requested through your local police as they want to verify that they are protecting your privacy (yeah!)."

I work in criminal history and not every agency is free, it could be as much as 20 bucks, if you or anyone else needs more information regarding criminal history, give me a shout out.
#17
Raleigh, NC
99 Posts
Joined May 2007
Lucy Perillo said that if it was more than 5 years old (and obviously not a felony conviction) then her regulations state you are fine. Be sure to bring a copy of the legal documents from the place you were charged showing that sentence was completed.
I really appreciated her giving me a straight answer after the run around I got from the Canadian Embassy -
#18
GA
23 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Whew! I was worried my underage drinking ticket when I was 18 (9 years ago) might come back to bite me in the butt.
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#19
Raleigh, NC
99 Posts
Joined May 2007
If you are going on a RCCL ship it might (see the info I posted about the RCCL memo re: no one with DUI will be allowed on ship if less than 10 years ago). You might want to check with your cruise line if it is not RCCL to see if they have a similar memo.
#20
Northern Virginia
1,167 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Originally posted by tomc
The border guards will be happy to refresh your memory and, perhaps, damage your marriage.
Sorry.... border guards are responsible for people lying to their spouses? I had trouble following that leap of "reasoning".
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