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The Impact of a DUI on Your Ability to Travel Abroad

Posted on in DUI Defense

IL DUI lawyerLooking forward to sunning on the beaches of Mexico, skiing the mountains of British Columbia in Canada, or touring the historic sites of Europe? Or perhaps you are required to travel abroad for work? Most countries love American visitors (or at least our dollars), so you just need a passport and a plane ticket, right?

Well, not always. Rigorous electronic screening takes place almost everywhere you clear customs these days, and many countries have criminal records sharing agreements with the U.S. If you have a DUI conviction on your record, you could be denied entry to some countries. Before booking your flight, you should check the travel and immigration section of the website of the country you plan to visit.

You might think our neighboring countries of Canada and Mexico would not care if an American vacationer had a DUI, but you would be wrong. Mexican border agents can refuse entry if you have a DUI conviction within the past 10 years. However, entry will likely be allowed if it was a misdemeanor conviction.

Canada bars entry to convicted felons and considers any driving under the influence conviction to be a felony. Canadian customs agents can access U.S. criminal records with just the information on your passport. Vacationers will generally need to wait five years after completion of their sentence to apply for a “permanent waiver” to gain entry to Canada. For people who need to enter Canada for work or some other reason more important than a vacation, you can apply for an emergency waiver.

If the country you are traveling to requires you to have a visa in addition to a passport, be aware that visa applications often include questions about your criminal history. It is important to be honest when completing these forms, even though in some cases a DUI might prevent your visa application from being approved. Take Australia, for example. Travel to Australia requires a tourist visa. To qualify for this visa, you must not have any criminal convictions involving a jail sentence of 12 months or more.

In contrast, the European Union countries do not care if you have a DUI on your record. You can freely travel to any of them.

While this is not a comprehensive list of policies for every country, as you can see, a DUI conviction may cause problems with travel to a few countries, but in many cases, you will have no problems at all.

DUI Defense Attorney in Oak Brook

If you are charged with driving under the influence in DuPage County, be sure to consult an experienced Oak Brook DUI defense lawyer before making any decisions. The attorneys at McMahon Law Office will diligently investigate all the circumstances of your case and work aggressively to get you the best possible outcome. For a free consultation, call 630-953-4400.








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