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Can You Travel Internationally After Getting a DUI?

Posted on June 7, 2023 in DUI

Getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) can affect your life and future in numerous ways. You may lose certain freedoms, such as having to spend time in jail or losing your driving privileges. The laws in some countries may also prohibit you from traveling internationally for as long as 10 years after your conviction. If you have a DUI on your record, do your research before attempting an international trip.

Travel Restrictions With a DUI in Different Countries

Some countries view driving under the influence as a criminal or felony offense – even if you were convicted of a misdemeanor in the US. If a country deems a DUI an indictable offense, it may block you from entry or make it more difficult for you to cross its border. While the majority of countries do not prohibit visitors with DUIs, the following are exceptions: 

  • Australia and New Zealand – you may not pass the visa application process if you have a DUI on your record. You might be able to enter using a travel waiver, instead.
  • Canada – cannot enter the country for at least five years. After five years (with an otherwise clean criminal record), you can pay a $200 fine or apply for criminal rehabilitation to enter. You can also wait 10 years after your conviction to enter.
  • China, Japan and Malaysia – these countries conduct extensive background checks that will find DUI convictions on your record. You may need to apply for a travel waiver.
  • Iran – while Iran cannot access your criminal record, you will be asked about drug-related convictions during a “good conduct screening.” A DUI will most likely lead to denied entry.
  • Mexico – if you have a DUI conviction on your record in the past 10 years, you will typically be refused entry into the country.
  • South Africa – you must disclose a felony DUI conviction at the border, even if you are not specifically asked.
  • United Arab Emirates – no specific laws prohibit individuals with DUIs from entry, but alcohol-related offenses are frowned upon since the Emirates adheres to Muslim scripture.

Most countries allow people with DUIs on their records to enter, unless it was a felony offense that resulted in jail or prison time. If you are convicted of a felony aggravated DUI in Arizona, this could interfere even more with your ability to travel internationally. Research the laws and rules in the specific country you wish to visit for additional information.

Solutions to International Travel After a DUI Arrest

The best way to preserve your right to travel internationally is to never be convicted of driving under the influence at all. As soon as you get arrested for a DUI in Arizona, contact an experienced DUI defense attorney. An attorney can take immediate action to protect you and reduce the odds of a DUI conviction, such as challenging the prosecutor’s evidence against you or moving to have the charge dismissed.  

Your lawyer can negotiate with the prosecution in an attempt to reduce the charges and penalties that you face. If your DUI case goes to trial, a lawyer can represent you to potentially achieve an acquittal (not guilty verdict). Another option is to have a DUI conviction set aside or expunged. These processes can effectively erase your criminal history or hide it from public view, allowing you to enter countries that previously would have barred your access. To discuss the possibility of having a DUI conviction expunged in Arizona, contact Rosenstein Law Group for a free consultation.

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