The Star Tribune reports that Canada has eased its strict policy denying Americans entry into Canada if they have a single DWI conviction. In the past, Americans with a single DWI conviction often were deemed inadmissible because DWI is considered an "indictable offence" in Canada. An "indictable offence" is similar to a felony in the American system. Canada's new policy is in response to lost tourism revenue.
The new Canadian policy effective March 1, 2012, allows certain first-time offenders a one-time exemption. Importantly, the policy doesn't help Americans enter Canada more than once and doesn't help those with more than one DWI or other conviction triggering inadmissibility.
Under the new policy, Americans who are convicted of a single DWI must not receive any term of imprisonment in connection with their sentence and must have no other convictions or charges that could render them inadmissible. If eligible, these Americans can receive a free Temporary Resident Permit in lieu of paying the normal fee of $200.
To read the actual policy changes, visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
For further help with visiting Canada with a criminal record, visit Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario.
Americans with convictions for Careless Driving or Reckless Driving also may have problems entering Canada, regardless of the new policy. It is wise to do your homework before visiting Canada.