What would I need to do to enter Canada, despite being very stupid and having 2 drink driving convictions in the past (8 & 10 years ago)?

I know this is rightly considered very serious in Canada, however, my new company has head offices based there, and there is a chance I may get asked to go out

I would prefer not to tell my boss about the convictions.

Is there a way I could potentially apply for a visa or something that would allow me in ?

Please do not hate me based on my stupid past, I am not proud and can assure you I have learnt my lesson

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    Have you ever been convicted for anything else but the two DUI cases? – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Aug 14 '18 at 12:50
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo No, just those – PeterH Aug 14 '18 at 12:57
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    The answer is maybe: canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/…. But it takes quite a bit of time, it seems. – Alan Munn Aug 14 '18 at 13:06
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    I think yes, you should try it. It was long past, and that are seen as "typical young errors" (if you were young). Possibly you can tell them that you changed, your drink less, you takes a taxi after parting), ... depending of your real circumstances. Just do not lie (expect google search on you), the offenses are not strong, but a lie will zeros your possibilities. – Giacomo Catenazzi Aug 14 '18 at 13:07
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    @divibisan I rejected your edit, as drink driving is acceptable and correct usage in a number of countries (and perhaps where the offences may have occurred). – Giorgio Aug 14 '18 at 17:55

Unfortunately, you cannot be assured that you will be able to enter Canada, except in certain circumstances such as if the offense happened while you were a minor, or if at least five years has passed and you have only committed one crime. In your case, you've committed two and the time period before you would be deemed rehabilitated will be longer. Details can be found here. In fact, having had more than one conviction, you will not be eligible to be deemed rehabilitated by simply appearing at the border, although you may be if you apply for a visa. The previous link discusses how this works. Your convictions will need to be at least ten years old before you would qualify for any consideration here. (It is questionable whether deemed rehabilitation is even available if there is more than one conviction.)

If you try to go, you should be honest if asked. Understand that if the convictions are discovered, you are likely to be refused admission. Understand that if you lie about them and are caught, you are likely to be given a very long-term or even permanent ban on entering Canada.

You can apply for a temporary resident permit at a cost of CAN$200 - if granted this, you will be granted entry. However, if refused, you are not refunded the application fee. You must demonstrate that your visit to Canada is beneficial to Canadians, over and above the risk that you present.

  • What do he mean by go out there? If he meant to work then he will need some kind of work permit and the convictions will definitely be found out. I don't think he is simply asking about driving into Canada. He's talking work. – Augustine of Hippo Aug 14 '18 at 15:08
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    @MusoniusRufus He says his new employer's head office is in Canada. Certain types of work activity are allowed by foreigners in these situations. It is possible what he intends is outside what is allowed, which is a completely separate problem, but I'm assuming his purpose is, prima facie, permitted and only dealing with whether he is admissible at all for any purpose. – Jim MacKenzie Aug 14 '18 at 15:10
  • The temporary resident permit is usually only for specific travel purposes, meaning that the OP might have to apply for a new one every time they needed to enter Canada. An Application for Criminal Rehabilitation is probably more appropriate; assuming that it has been more than five years since the OP finished their sentence, they are eligible for that process. – Michael Seifert Aug 18 '18 at 13:48
  • @MichaelSeifert You are correct, based on my understanding at least. Work travel likely counts, particularly if he's a critical employee, but if he qualifies, an application for rehabilitation is a better long-term solution. – Jim MacKenzie Aug 18 '18 at 14:15

Presuming you are from a country that can enter Canada without normally holding a visa (which it appears you are), then the best course of action is to apply for an eTA (electronic Travel Authority) - which you will need to enter Canada even without your convictions.

When filling in the eTA application, answer truthfully about your convictions. Most likely your application will NOT be approved immediately, but instead someone will reach out to you for details of the convictions. Once you provide details, they will either approve your eTA in which case you're good to go, or deny it in which case your only option will be to apply for a visa (which, at that point, will also likely be refused).

There is still a possibility you will be turned away when actually attempting to enter Canada, however this is extremely unlikely if you have an eTA and if you answered all of the questions honestly.

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    US citizens cannot apply for an ETA as they don't need one. I presume that's where OP is from. – JonathanReez Aug 18 '18 at 7:09
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    @JonathanReez, the OP used 'drink driving' in the original version of the Q, which is the UK version. So it is more likely he is not from the USA. (I edited back to the original version as is helps in the details of the Q.) – Willeke Aug 18 '18 at 11:19
  • @JonathanReez Why would you presume they are from the US when their profile states they live in the UK? – Doc Aug 18 '18 at 17:20

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