Truck driver and the Canadian customs process

For truck drivers, crossing international borders is a routine part of the job, and one of the most frequent crossings involves traveling between the United States and Canada. While the process may seem straightforward, there are essential details to ensure a smooth experience at the Canadian customs. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of the Canadian customs process for truck drivers, including crucial information on “US citizens entering Canada with a DUI.”

Understanding the basics

Before we delve into the specifics of crossing into Canada as a truck driver, let’s begin with the fundamental concepts and requirements:

Valid documentation

First and foremost, ensure that you have all the necessary documentation. This includes your passport, commercial driver’s license (CDL), and the appropriate work permits or visas if required. Additionally, ensure that your truck’s registration and insurance are up-to-date.


Canadian authorities assess admissibility based on various factors, including criminal history. If you have a DUI conviction, it’s essential to understand how this may affect your entry into Canada.

US citizen with a DUI

For US citizens with a DUI on their record, entering Canada can be more complex. Canada takes DUI convictions seriously and considers them a criminal offense. Consequently, having a DUI can render you inadmissible to Canada. However, there are avenues to address this issue:

Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)

If you need to enter Canada for work or other essential reasons, you can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). This permit allows you to enter Canada for a specific period, provided you can demonstrate a valid reason for your visit and that you don’t pose a threat to Canadian society. Keep in mind that a TRP is a short-term solution and may not be suitable for long-term trucking assignments.

Criminal Rehabilitation

If a significant amount of time has passed since your DUI conviction, you may be eligible for criminal rehabilitation. This process essentially removes your inadmissibility to Canada, allowing you to enter freely. However, the waiting period for eligibility varies based on the severity of the offense.

Navigating customs as a truck driver

Once you have addressed any admissibility concerns, you can focus on the customs process itself. Here are some essential tips for a smooth border crossing:

Be prepared

Ensure all your paperwork is organized and readily accessible. This includes your passport, work permits, bills of lading, and any other relevant documents. Having a well-organized folder can expedite the process.

Declare all goods

Honesty is crucial when declaring your goods. Canadian customs require a thorough declaration of all items you are carrying, including any personal items. Failure to declare goods accurately can result in delays and penalties.

Compliance with regulations

Adhere to Canadian customs and immigration regulations. This includes any restrictions on the importation of certain items, such as firearms or restricted substances.

Navigating the Canadian customs process as a truck driver, especially with a prior DUI conviction, can be challenging. With these considerations in mind, you can continue your trucking career while safely and efficiently crossing the US-Canada border. Safe travels and smooth border crossings await those who are well-informed and prepared!