The Canada-U.S. border is reopening! Will a criminal record prevent a visit?

By Jonathan Blecher on August 5, 2021

Just after midnight on August 9, 2021, the Canada-U.S. border will finally reopen for recreational travel. This is huge news for people and businesses on both sides of the border, marking the end of 16 months of severe travel restrictions. Fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and green card holders will finally be able enter into Canada, allowing families to be reunited, travelers to stretch their legs, and tourism-driven regions to begin their post-pandemic economic recovery.

What rules change August 9, 2021?

Changes permit leisure travel for American permanent residents and citizens, presently living in the U.S., who are fully vaccinated and comply with all other requirements. This requirement includes the obligation to submit data electronically through ArriveCAN.

They also permit travel to Canada for un-vaccinated kids under 12 years old, or un-vaccinated dependent children (because of a physical or psychological condition), who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, living in the U.S. who are traveling with a completely vaccinated guardian or parent, permitted to travel to Canada  or U.S. citizen or permanent resident currently on the list of exempted travelers under the Quarantine Act.

Individuals who don’t meet all the necessary qualification prerequisites for non-essential (discretionary) travel will be prohibited from accessing their flights, as well as may be fined.


For those seeking to enter into Canada with criminal offenses on their records, however, crossing the border may still present a serious challenge. Even something seemingly minor — such as an old DUI conviction — can result in being turned away at the border. If you were convicted of an offense like DUI or reckless driving in the United States, you may experience issues getting into Canada and be deemed inadmissible altogether if circumstances call for it.

I can explain Canadian laws on inadmissibility for foreign nationals and permanent residents. If you have any questions, call my firm at 305-321-3237 for answers.

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