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Criminal record, including DWI, may bar entry

>Q. Three of us couples are planning to take an Alaskan land and cruise tour. The trip begins in Seattle and ends in Vancouver, Canada. One member in our group has had a DWI, and I have read that people with DWIs are being turned away at the Canadian border. What are the rules? Is there a statute of limitations?

A. Anyone with a criminal record, including one for drunken driving, may be barred from entering Canada.

I hope you are planning well ahead. Your friend may need to apply for a special waiver and Canada could take six months or longer to decide.

If the offense occurred more than 10 years ago, he is "deemed rehabilitated" and may enter Canada, according the Consulate General of Canada in Detroit.

If fewer than 10 years has passed since the offense and all its attendant punishments were meted out (any fine, sentence, probation, loss of driving privileges), your friend could apply for a Criminal Rehabilitation or a Temporary Resident Permit.

"To be eligible for rehabilitation, five years must have passed since the completion of sentence [including probation] for the most recent conviction," the consulate wrote. "If an individual is not eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation and does not qualify for Deemed Rehabilitation, they may apply for a Temporary Resident Permit. The submission must include evidence of compelling, humanitarian and compassionate grounds or Canadian national interest grounds justifying the issuance of the permit." I doubt a vacation qualifies.

Download the "Application for Criminal Rehabilitation" at Scroll down to "Visas and Immigration" and click on the "criminal and other inadmissibilities" link. Then click on "approval of rehabilitation" for more information and the forms you need: "Application for Criminal Rehabilitation," the "Document Checklist" and the "Fee for Immigration Service." All can be downloaded for printing.

The processing fee is $200 and is nonrefundable no matter the outcome of the request. If your application must be reviewed at the ministry level, it could cost another $800.

The process is onerous, requiring letters of recommendation and court and police documents. Discuss this issue with your travel agent and cruise line before anything is booked.


>Q: I am flying with my elderly father from New York to Charlotte, where he would need to catch a plane 35 minutes later on the same airline. Will he have to go through security again or can he just walk to another gate in Charlotte? Will he make it on time?

A: Thirty-five minutes, especially if leaving from New York's delay-plagued LaGuardia Airport, isn't enough time to make a connecting flight even for a marathon runner. Many airlines require you to be on board and in your seat 15 or 20 minutes before scheduled departure or your seat is subject to resale, so a 35-minute connection leaves as little as 15 minutes to make the next flight. Build in enough time between flights -- at least 90 minutes, and up to four hours. (The airline can tell you what percentage of your flights are on time.) You father will not have to go through security again.

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