I am a caucasian flying from US to Vancouver, transferring to cruise ship for Alaska. I have a DUI on my record. Do I need anything other than passport since I am not staying in Canada?
closed as unclear what you're asking by JoErNanO♦, choster, CMaster, Gagravarr, blackbird Apr 7 '16 at 19:41
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You will quite possibly need a great many more documents than just your passport. Canada is quite strict about people with criminal records, and in particular, drunk driving is a federal offense under Canadian Law. Moreover, you will necessarily need to pass Canadian Customs to get from the airport to the cruise ship terminal; as far as I know, there's no "transit visa" exception for a situation like this.
You can try to get in to Canada with a criminal record; the customs officer you talk to can declare you "deemed rehabilitated":
You may be deemed rehabilitated, depending on:
the crime you committed
how serious the crime was and how much time has passed since you completed the sentence imposed for your crime:
- 10 years for one indictable offence
- five years for two or more summary convictions
- whether you have committed one or more crimes and
- if the crime would be punishable in Canada by a maximum prison term of less than 10 years.
If you think you are eligible, be sure you have these documents if you travel to Canada:
- passport or birth certificate plus photo identification
- a copy of court documents for each conviction, and proof that all sentences were completed
- a recent criminal record check
- a recent police certificate from the country where you were convicted and from anywhere you have lived for six (6) months or longer in the last 10 years.
This checklist implies that U.S. residents should have a certificate from each state in which they have lived in addition to a federal FBI certificate.
Even if you have all of this documentation, deemed rehabilitation at a port of entry is not guaranteed; ultimately, it's up to the judgement of the customs officer you talk to. If you really want to ensure that you will be admitted to Canada, you will have to apply for rehabilitation. This is a longer process, requires a non-refundable C$200 processing fee, and (according to the above link) can take over a year to complete.
For a brief visit, you can also apply for a temporary visitor permit. You can even apply for this permit even if it has not yet been five years since your conviction. This normally seems to require a non-refundable C$200 processing fee as well; however, it may be possible to get a permit without the fee. I haven't yet found any information on how to avoid paying this fee, though.
Finally, all of this is independent of whether or not you would normally need a visa to enter Canada. U.S. citizens do not typically require a visa for brief visits to Canada, but if you are a citizen of another country, you may need one after all. I will leave the details of this to another answerer.