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Old 29-07-2014, 02:24   #1
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Canadian Customs and a DUI

Hello all,

I'm planning a week long cruise from Oneida Lake to the Thousand Islands. It's a great trip, one my family used to do once a year. It has, however, been a long time since the last one, about 15 years. I remember clearing customs upon arrival at Kingston was a non-event in that pre-911 world.

Now though, I'm a little worried that we might be turned away. I have a squeaky clean record, but my SO got a DUI about a year ago. I know that Canadians take that much more seriously than we do in the US, and I don't disagree with them. I certainly wasn't pleased with it either.

Much of what I've gleaned from the internet says that we shouldn't even bother trying. Some sources say we stand a decent chance of getting in. From what I can tell, It depends on the mood of the customs official that I get when I show up, though I hate to leave it hanging in the balance like that.
It's a long way to go to be turned back.

Has anyone else had a similar situation?

Thanks!!
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Old 29-07-2014, 03:28   #2
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Re: Canadian Customs and a DUI

This has been a huge problem for folks with a DUI. In my experience, one of our crew had a 7 year old DUI when we cleared in Port Colborne, 2010. It was about a 4 hour ordeal to clear in. He ended up paying $200.00 to become a temporary citizen or something like that. They threatened to turn us away in dense fog and drizzle at 11:00 PM dark to go back to the States.

I just flew into St. Johns, NF a week ago and no DUI question asked. I drove into the Soo, Ontario in May and no DUI question. I had got the DUI question in the Soo the previous 5 years when visiting Ontario. So, I was thinking that it is possible that they finally gave this up this year.

Good luck to you.
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Old 29-07-2014, 04:33   #3
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Re: Canadian Customs and a DUI

If you have been convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, you will probably be found criminally inadmissible to Canada. But as of March 1, 2012, you may be able to get a temporary resident permit for one visit without paying the C$200 processing fee.

Determine if you are inadmissible

What is the new policy on criminal inadmissibility?
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Old 29-07-2014, 09:19   #4
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Re: Canadian Customs and a DUI

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave0549jv View Post
Hello all,

I'm planning a week long cruise from Oneida Lake to the Thousand Islands. It's a great trip, one my family used to do once a year. It has, however, been a long time since the last one, about 15 years. I remember clearing customs upon arrival at Kingston was a non-event in that pre-911 world.

Now though, I'm a little worried that we might be turned away. I have a squeaky clean record, but my SO got a DUI about a year ago. I know that Canadians take that much more seriously than we do in the US, and I don't disagree with them. I certainly wasn't pleased with it either.

Much of what I've gleaned from the internet says that we shouldn't even bother trying. Some sources say we stand a decent chance of getting in. From what I can tell, It depends on the mood of the customs official that I get when I show up, though I hate to leave it hanging in the balance like that.
It's a long way to go to be turned back.

Has anyone else had a similar situation?

Thanks!!
I can't see that your SO's DUI is going to be an issue if he/she isn't driving the boat and won't be driving a car. Has the SO's driving licence been revoked? That might count for something, I suppose. But if you have a DUI conviction, and are just walking or sailing around, what's the big deal?
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Old 29-07-2014, 09:31   #5
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Re: Canadian Customs and a DUI

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
But if you have a DUI conviction, and are just walking or sailing around, what's the big deal?
The Canadian government doesn't want convicted US felons walking around in country.
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Old 29-07-2014, 10:03   #6
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Re: Canadian Customs and a DUI

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Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
The Canadian government doesn't want convicted US felons walking around in country.
Why not ? According to recent news stories we have 4,000 american political refugees in Ontario collecting welfare and OHIP
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Old 29-07-2014, 10:10   #7
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Re: Canadian Customs and a DUI

Over the past 30 or years I have crossed into Canada in Kingston or Gananoque about once a year. Never in those years have I been asked about a criminal past or a DUI. (Nor do I have either.) Unless NY automatically shares driving records with Canadian Customs, I'm not sure how they would find out. I wouldn't volunteer the information unless asked.

The questions are typically:

Who are you? (name, nationality, DOB)
What is your purpose for visiting? (Vacation)
Who is with you?
How long are you staying?
Are you bringing anything into Canada that will be left here? (looking for duty)
How much alcohol? (about a case of beer and a bottle of wine. they are only looking for closed and sealed containers that could be sold or left in the country, they don't care about open bottles of liquor)
Do you have any firearms?
Do you have any pets with you?

Once you clear by boat for the first time, the boat is registered with immigration, subsequent entries are much simpler. All you will need to do is give them the boat's registration number and they just confirm the information you gave in the past.

When you get to a port of entry, Kingston or Gan, you call an 800 number. The officer will tell you if they want to inspect your boat. You'll get a reporting number that must be displayed on your boat.

You will need a passport to clear back into the US. You can clear in person at Cape Vincent or by Video phone in Oswego and maybe Clayton.

If you do go I'd suggest that you head to Gananoque to clear. If for some reason you are denied entry, it is a short trip to Clayton or Cape Vincent and an even shorter trip to Canoe Point St Park on Grindstone. If you clear at Kingston, it is a long trip back to US Waters at the end of a long day getting to Kingston.
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Old 29-07-2014, 10:36   #8
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Re: Canadian Customs and a DUI

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lochner View Post
Over the past 30 or years I have crossed into Canada in Kingston or Gananoque about once a year. Never in those years have I been asked about a criminal past or a DUI. (Nor do I have either.) Unless NY automatically shares driving records with Canadian Customs, I'm not sure how they would find out. I wouldn't volunteer the information unless asked.

The questions are typically:

Who are you? (name, nationality, DOB)
What is your purpose for visiting? (Vacation)
Who is with you?
How long are you staying?
Are you bringing anything into Canada that will be left here? (looking for duty)
How much alcohol? (about a case of beer and a bottle of wine. they are only looking for closed and sealed containers that could be sold or left in the country, they don't care about open bottles of liquor)
Do you have any firearms?
Do you have any pets with you?

Once you clear by boat for the first time, the boat is registered with immigration, subsequent entries are much simpler. All you will need to do is give them the boat's registration number and they just confirm the information you gave in the past.

When you get to a port of entry, Kingston or Gan, you call an 800 number. The officer will tell you if they want to inspect your boat. You'll get a reporting number that must be displayed on your boat.

You will need a passport to clear back into the US. You can clear in person at Cape Vincent or by Video phone in Oswego and maybe Clayton.

If you do go I'd suggest that you head to Gananoque to clear. If for some reason you are denied entry, it is a short trip to Clayton or Cape Vincent and an even shorter trip to Canoe Point St Park on Grindstone. If you clear at Kingston, it is a long trip back to US Waters at the end of a long day getting to Kingston.
The points of the North American Security Perimeter operating under the Beyond the Border program now means, that yes, whether you are heading into Canada from the US or vice versa, the border official has access to your records. Many more than some of us are comfortable with, but that is the situation in a post 9/11 world.

If you answer any questions contrary to the information the official has on his screen, be prepared for either a very long time at the border, or not being allowed in at all. If you are rejected once, it can be a very painful experience trying to get what ever issue that stopped you from entering to be addressed. Don't forget, there is little or no room for appeal from a border officials ruling.
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Old 29-07-2014, 10:48   #9
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Re: Canadian Customs and a DUI

In theory you cant go until the DUI is over ten years old. several years ago it was 20 years! We had friends in town and had motel bookings etc for a weekend in Vancouver. We got to the border and sure enough they decided to take a closer look at us. One of the out of towners had a DUI, I think it was 11 years previous. At that time it had to be 20 years. They changed to 10 years shortly after that. We were not allowed to cross.
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Old 29-07-2014, 11:58   #10
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Re: Canadian Customs and a DUI

And the new question they are asking... "Have you ever been fingerprinted?"

Its designed to trip people up... People are expecting "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" Then they ask the fingerprint question.. "Ah umm well yes" is the usually answer.
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Old 29-07-2014, 12:07   #11
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Re: Canadian Customs and a DUI

Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
The Canadian government doesn't want convicted US felons walking around in country.
A DUI is not necessarily a felony.

However I think we should immediately change the laws for Canadians coming into the US to be at least as restrictive, or more so.
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Old 29-07-2014, 12:26   #12
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Re: Canadian Customs and a DUI

They will not let your SO in.
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Old 29-07-2014, 12:58   #13
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Re: Canadian Customs and a DUI

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Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
A DUI is not necessarily a felony.

However I think we should immediately change the laws for Canadians coming into the US to be at least as restrictive, or more so.
Really.. You kidding right... The laws are much more restrictive for us coming that way. The US government has had access to our personal data since the late 80s. It has been routine for the last 35 years for Canadians to be denied access to the US for any convicted offense (including DUI, shoplifting and ect).
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Old 29-07-2014, 13:19   #14
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Re: Canadian Customs and a DUI

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
A DUI is not necessarily a felony.

However I think we should immediately change the laws for Canadians coming into the US to be at least as restrictive, or more so.
Some misdemeanors in the US are considered to be felonies in Canada, for example a misdemeanor DUI.
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Old 29-07-2014, 13:47   #15
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Re: Canadian Customs and a DUI

[B]Help Centre
What is the new policy on criminal inadmissibility?

Normally, if you have been convicted of an offence, such as mischief or driving under the influence, you cannot enter Canada without a permit that has a processing fee of C$200.

However, as of March 1, 2012, you may be able to get a temporary resident permit for one visit without having to pay the C$200 processing fee if you:

have served no jail time, and
have committed no other acts that would prevent you from entering Canada.
[/B]

The above is Canadian current policy
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