Part II - DUI Drunk driving charge in USA keeps US

 The drunk driving email has created a plethora of comments, observations
personal experiences and questions by phone and email.  I wish I had not put
it out at this time because June 15th is the deadline for US citizens living
in Canada to file their US tax returns and the deadline for Self-employed
Canadians and their spouses to file their Canadian returns.  We are almost
as busy as April 15th or April 30th.
I had a phone call about a US Army General who had to get off the bus and go
back to the US when a military group were on their way to Canada to visit. I
had two ministers who were forced to turn around and go back with their
basketball team when they would not let him go across the border - It also
became a warning to others thinking about coming to Canada as the next email
will show.  Remember, one out of five American males has a DUI conviction by
age 40.
In the meantime, Donald Cameron, an immigration expert in Vancouver is the
definitive answer in my opinion.  It points out the inconsistency that is
applied by people at the borders (both ways) and the thought process behind
the decision he would make or that a border person would likely make if the
original questioner were to go to the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo as an
It also reminds me of a comment made to me by The former District Director
of the INS in Seattle (everything North of San Francisco, Alaska, and all
border points in BC) in June 2001 just before Sept 11.  He said something to
the effect that "people are always telling me that I should give my officers
more leeway. I can't. Some of them do not like Canadians and would turn them
all away."
Read Don's observations and note that he points out that the writer is
inadmissible when charged which reminds me of another silly situation in
1999.  A Vancouver man was charged with rape in Astoria, Oregon. The
complainant was an "out of town mistress" of 15 years and she had charged
him with rape when he said he was breaking up the relationship. He was
released on bail to come back to Canada and clean up his affairs and was
given a trial date in Portland for six weeks later.  When he went to the
border to go to Portland to answer the charge, the border officers would nor
let him into the US because he had a criminal charge against  him.  That was
on a Sunday and it took us about 6 hours to find "someone" to let him in.
When he got to Portland the case was dropped because the complainant had
been arrested for drunk and disorderly and told her cellmate that she had
charged the fellow to get back at him and the cellmate told the sheriff
etc., etc.,
Read on.
-----Original Message-----
From: Donald Cameron [mailto:cameron at]
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 5:21 PM
To: taxman at; centapede at
Subject: Re:  DUI Drunk driving charge in USA keeps US
citizen outof Canada -George Bush William Heard - international
incometax expert and immigration expert david ingram in VancouverCanada
- David Holroyd,George Arora CPA experts consultants preparer
Applications for Temporary Resident Permits (which were then called
Minister's Permits) from Americans with convictions for drunk driving were
frequent during the time (1992-1996) I was the Immigration Program Manager
of the Canadian Consulate General in Seattle.  In fact, I saw more such
applications during those 4 years in Seattle than in the other 25 years of
my career at 8 other Canadian Embassies or High Commissions.  There are a
variety of reasons for this - relating to the closeness of the relationship
between the 2 countries and the enormous volume of traffic crossing the
shared border.  Being the Immigration Program Manager of a Canadian
Consulate in the U.S. (especially one near the border) is an experience so
different from holding the same position at other Canadian missions abroad
that there should be special training for it.
As is the norm in Citizenship & Immigration Canada no one in authority at
the headquarters in Ottawa is willing give any useful guidance to those with
the delegated authority to issue such permits as to the circumstances under
which these applications should be approved or rejected.  In consequence,
decisions are all over the map.
As you know, your questioner is inadmissible to Canada because he has
committed an offence in the U.S. (even though the charge has not yet been
adjudicated) which is an indictable offence in Canada.  His inadmissibility,
provided he commits no other offences, will cease when 10 years have elapsed
from the date of the completion of the sentence imposed for the offence.
The erasing of inadmissibility in cases of one DUI or DWI by the passage of
10 years did not exist when I was at the Consulate in Seattle and this
innovation in law is a great improvement which will eliminate the previous
inadmissibility of many middle-aged or older Americans who have one youthful
drunk driving offence (and no other offences of any kind) in their
In the circumstances described by your questioner I would have refused to
issue a Temporary Resident Permit to him.  In different circumstances (such
as a family member being in a hospital in Canada) I would have issued a very
short term permit to him.  The fact that the offence is very recent would be
the main factor in my decision.  After the passage of several years (not
longer than the passage of the 5 years required to apply for rehabilitation)
and evidence that he would be unlikely to re-offend I would have issued a
longer term Temporary Resident Permit.
That is what I would have done.  Other Immigration Program Managers and
Managers of Canadian immigration offices at the border would certainly make
different decisions on the same facts than I would have.
Best regards,
----- Original Message -----
From: <centapede at>
To: "CENTAPEDE" <centapede at>
Cc: "Com Webmaster at Featureweb." <webmaster at>
Sent: Sunday, June 05, 2005 5:02 PM
Subject:  DUI Drunk driving charge in USA keeps US citizen outof
Canada -George Bush William Heard - international incometax expert and
immigration expert david ingram in VancouverCanada - David Holroyd,George
Arora CPA experts consultants preparers prepare
> QUESTION: I found this site through Googgle and you present excellent,
> concise answers so well appreciated. I do understand if you do not or can
> not answer this. My family and I (we are American)have been visinting
> Southern Ontario since I was born (now50). I made the mistake of a life
> time
> and have pending DUI charge from the states. I immediately entered AA and
> have started a program to never drink again. Car was parked, not moving,
> no
> other violation. Am I now not admissable in to Canada until trial ? Also,
> this was to be a year we thought about buying a small cootage for the
> summers; if convicted can I ever buy property in Canada? Thank you for
> your
> time and attention.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> david ingram replies:
> Although certainly not a circumstance I want to go through, you are in
> good
> company.  President Bush has two DUI charges and is technically ineligible
> to come to Canada without going through the same process you will need to
> go
> through if convicted.  20% of American males have been convicted of drunk
> driving by age 40 in the USA.
> The Premier of British Columbia spent a night in jail in Maui three years
> ago and blew over .16 but can still go to the US because the US does NOT
> exclude a Canadian for a DUI offence.
> In August, 1992, an FBI Agent named Carmacks from Atlanta, Georgia was not
> allowed into Canada because of an 8 year old DUI.  The strange part here
> was
> that he was coming to Canada at the invitation of the Prime Minister of
> Canada as a guest at the 50th anniversary ceremonies of the Alaska Highway
> in Carmack, in the Yukon Territory.  The Town had been named after his
> Uncle
> George Carmack who along with Skookum Jim Mason, Tagish Charlie and Robert
> Henderson, discovered gold on Aug 16, 1896 and started the Yukon Gold
> Rush.
> FBI agent Carmack was turned back at the Vancouver Airport in spite of his
> gold engraved  personal invitation from Eric Nielsen Acting Prime Minister
> of Canada at the time. And speaking of Acting, "Eric" Nielsen is the
> brother
> of "Leslie" Nielsen, the comedic actor.
> Unfortunately, FBI Agent Carmack was not informed that he could have
> applied
> "at the airport" (or at a border crossing) for a waiver which can be a
> one-time or a "for all time" waiver.
> You can as well if convicted.
> Go to to find out
> how much it will cost you.
> Go to for a
> Canadian
> Government Guide on the subject. Note that "in general", you can not come
> to
> Canada easily until 5 years have passed since the end of any sentence for
> the offence (Carmack was okay because "8" years had elapsed).  However,
> page
> 8 of the Guide shows how to apply BEFORE the five years is up.
> The Guide also tells you how to mark your application which you can find
> here at You have
> to check off the "For Information Only" box on the application if five
> years
> has not elapsed.
> If you print out the checklist at
> you will have a list of everything you have to submit.
> And, if you decide you want someone to help you, only a Canadian lawyer or
> a
> representative of CSIC, the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants
> can
> assist you before the CBSA (Canadian Border Services Agency) or CIC
> (Citizenship and Immigration Canada)  If you wish to appoint a
> representative, you need form 5476 which you can find here:
> Note that in some refugee and sponsored cases, a member of a religious
> organization may assist you without being a lawyer or a member of CSIC.
> Susan Paulson, who passed away last August 12th was a member of a Lutheran
> Refugee organization in North Vancouver, BC where I live.
> Last, but not least, You may need to fight the case.
> Although I have never met or talked to him, William Head is a lawyer who
> has
> founded a web site devoted to impaired driving offences and has a team of
> specialized lawyers in just about every state.  He also has information on
> the Canadian situation as I understand it.  You can look at his
> information
> at
> Good Luck - let me know what happens.
> In the meantime, do NOT buy the cottage until you know the outcome.
> david ingram
> Answers to this and other similar  questions can be obtained free on Air
> every Sunday morning.
> Every Sunday at 9:00 AM on 600AM in Vancouver, Fred Snyder of Dundee
> Wealth
> Management and I, David Ingram  host a LIVE talk show called "ITS YOUR
> Those outside of the Lower Mainland will be able to listen on the internet
> at
> <>
> Local calls are taken at (604) 280-0600 and Long Distance calls (BC only)
> are taken at 1( 866) 778-0600
> Callers to the show are invited to attend free seminars on financial
> planning with such specialities as deductible mortgage interest. They are
> held at Fred Snyder's Office at 1764 West 7th in Vancouver - (604)
> 731-8900
> for more information.
> =========================================
> David Ingram's US/Canada Services
> US / Canada / Mexico tax, Immigration and working Visa Specialists
> US / Canada Real Estate Specialists
> 4466 Prospect Road
> North Vancouver,  BC, CANADA, V7N 3L7
> Res (604) 980-3578 Cell (604) 657-8451
> (604) 980-0321 Fax (604) 980-0325
> Email to taxman at <mailto:taxman at>
> <>
> <>
> Disclaimer:  This question has been answered without detailed information
> or
> consultation and is to be regarded only as general comment.   Nothing in
> this message is or should be construed as advice in any particular
> circumstances. No contract exists between the reader and the author and
> any
> and all non-contractual duties are expressly denied. All readers should
> obtain formal advice from a competent and appropriately qualified legal
> practitioner or tax specialist in connection with personal or business
> affairs such as at <> . If you forward
> this message, this disclaimer must be included."
> Be ALERT,  the world needs more "lerts"
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