A DUI can have further reaching consequences that a fine and potential jail time. A DUI prevents travel into certain countries. Depending on a country’s moral attitude, a DUI can be considered severe enough criminal activity to bar entry.
Generally speaking, a country can deny entry to anyone with a criminal record, but they are particularly tough on people with DUIs. So what countries can you not go to with a DUI?
What Countries Can You Not Go to with a DUI?
Driving while intoxicated is a felony in Canada. As a result, the country restricts anyone with a DUI from entering. However, there are ways to get around it. If you did not serve jail time for the DUI and have an otherwise clean criminal history, you might still be able to gain entry into the country.
Another way is to wait 10 years until the DUI is expunged from your record.
United Arab Emirates
According to Muslim scripture, consuming alcohol is a deadly sin. As a result, Muslim countries frown upon alcohol related crimes. Although there is no specific law that restricts a traveler from entering the country with a DUI, entry is often up to the immigration officer.
You can contact the Embassy or Consulate ahead of arrival and ask for advice on entering the country if you have a DUI on your record.
Entry into Mexico is difficult for those with a DUI. Most travelers are barred from entering the country if they have a DUI on the record within the past 10 years. This is because Mexico considers a DUI an indictable offense, similar to a felony. The easiest way around Mexico’s DUI laws is to wait for it to be erased from your record.
New Zealand might be difficult for those with a DUI, but only if the jail time was severe. Anyone who served jail time of longer than 12 months within the past 10 years order received a prison sentence more than five years in length may have a hard time entering the country.
Australia may have a reputation as the destination for people that want to party, but they also have strict laws when it comes to criminal records. Anyone that applies for a visa must pass a character test. This includes not having a substantial criminal Record, no convictions of the offenses while in immigration detention, and no association with anyone involved with criminal conduct.
Australia can permanently prevent individuals from entering the country due to criminal misconduct. If you have a DUI, your best chance is to a ply for a travel waiver.
Countries Within the Schengen Agreement
The Schengen Agreement as a policy that binds many countries in Central Europe, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, and many more. These countries all follow the same laws, particularly with regard to criminal records. As a result, a DUI might present difficulty in entering any of these countries.
On the other hand, entry into one of these countries means you can gain access to any of these countries. Once you enter one country in the Schengen Agreement, you can pass between borders easily.
A DUI on your record will not necessarily prevent travel to China, but you must declare any criminal record upon entry. In China, as well as other Asian countries, lying about a criminal record carries worse consequences and the record itself.
If you are concerned about being denied entry, attach a letter of explanation of the activity as well as a promise to commit no criminal activity while within Chinese borders.
The question of what countries can you not go to with a DUI is not normally answered with South Africa, but a felony DUI might be a problem. If you do not disclose a criminal record at the border, even if it is not asked, you can be denied entry. This is due to the Immigration Act of 1999 and a clause called deception by silence.
Be honest. If you are denied entry, you can attempt to return to the country after the conviction has left your record.
Normal travel to Qatar will not likely be restricted by a DUI. If you apply for a work visa, a DUI could be a problem. A work visa requires a Police Clearance Certificate, otherwise known as a good conduct a certificate. A DUI might prevent the issuance of the certificate. If so, it can also prevent you from obtaining a business visa.
Not only can a DUI make entry into Japan difficult, but the country takes issue with any misdemeanor conviction. Japanese laws are particularly strict and they apply the same Outlook to all visitors to their country. If you wish to enter Japan with a DUI, contact the consulate and ask what your options are. You may need to apply free travel waiver to gain entry.
Entering Iran is difficult under the best circumstances. A DUI can further exacerbate the problem. Although the country does not have access to your criminal record in the United States due to the lack of an Iranian Embassy within US borders, they do have a good conduct screening. If you admit to drinking and driving, they might deny you entry. The decision is ultimately left to the immigration officer.
The Bottom Line
Drinking and driving is never a good idea. Aside from the risk to your own life and the lives of others, a DUI can severely restrict your ability to travel to other countries. For non-citizens of the United States, it can even prevent entry back into the United States. Ask yourself, “What countries can you not go to with a DUI?” If your dream destination is one of those on this list, think twice before drinking and driving.