Are There Travel Restrictions with A DUI?

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Travel restrictions with a DUI often vary across the world. If you are planning to travel outside your country and have a conviction or arrest on your record, your criminal record can bring unexpected problems. In essence, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can limit your ability to travel to other countries. Several nations do not allow individuals with these criminal records. Each country has its regulations that differ broadly from one nation to another, especially in the way immigration officers interpret the law. Here is a summary of how a DUI can affect your plans to travel abroad.

DUI Travel in the United States

Americans who have a DUI on their records are free to travel from state to state without restriction. However, dealing with all of your charges before traveling is the best approach. Your criminal record follows you, and not dealing with it can result in more significant fines and more trouble down the road. It can result in your inability to travel to other countries, as you will read from the information below.

Are you a citizen of a foreign country who was denied a visa to the US because of multiple DUIs or other aggravated circumstances? You can now apply for an exemption to allow you to travel to the United States. However, these waivers are only temporary and last up to five years.


If you are planning to travel to Canada, be aware that this country has some of the most stringent restrictions concerning the admission of people with a criminal record. That would include a DUI arrest or as low as a misdemeanor conviction. However, a Canadian immigration officer makes that determination at his or her own discretion. Also, individuals with criminal convictions can apply for a waiver before taking the trip.

Canadian Waivers

Canada provides two separate applications for individuals with DUI convictions in the last ten years:

  • Criminal Rehabilitation: This waiver is usually a permanent solution. If you maintain a clean history, you don’t have to apply for any subsequent entries. However, this application is only available five years after completing your sentence.


  • Temporary Resident Permit: This waiver is a temporary solution. If it has been fewer than five years after completing your sentence, the temporary resident permit is your only option. The exemption allows you to travel to Canada for a particular purpose.

If it has been ten years after completing your sentence, the country considers you rehabilitated, meaning you will not require any applications, but you should provide the relevant documentation.


Travel restrictions with a DUI in Mexico might be unpredictable because of the rate at which their laws change. In general, one misdemeanor DUI cannot keep you out, but a felony conviction can be a reason for exclusion. Mexico only denies entry to people with a history of serious crimes. Currently, DUI is not present on the Mexican embassy’s record of serious crimes. Permission to travel to Mexico mostly depends on the judgment of an immigration official.


Several Asian countries impose travel restrictions with a DUI, including Malaysia, Japan, and China. The conviction only has to be misdemeanor level to deny entrance. These countries will require you to disclose any DUI conviction or arrest. In most Asian nations, hiding or withholding information is typically a more severe crime than the DUI conviction itself.


The countries in the European Union do not make a DUI conviction a prohibited offense. This means you should not encounter any restrictions when traveling any current member of the EU. Although the United Kingdom will no longer be a part of the EU soon, you can still go to the country with a DUI on your record.

New Zealand and Australia

In New Zealand and Australia have a similar policy when it comes to their DUI standards. Either country may admit you as long as you did not receive a prison sentence for a DUI lasting over a year.

The Middle East and Other Muslim Countries

When applying for a visa to the majority of Muslim countries, most travelers with a DUI cannot enter. That is because Islamic Law condemns the consumption of alcohol. Having a DUI record will possibly be viewed as pretty negative. Permission to enter these countries may be at the discretion of the immigration official, and reporting a drunk and driving record can prevent you from getting a visa to many of these countries.

Learn More About Your Rights

As you have seen, immigration officers have a broad leeway to deny or approve your visa to their nation, as only a few countries have particular DUI policies in place. However, a Record Suspension or pardon can support your visa application since it proves rehabilitation and assists in assuring the officers that you are no longer involved in criminal activities. Are you dealing with a DUI and in need of assistance? The Law Office of Douglas Herring can help. Whether you are dealing with your first, second, or third offense, a member of our team is ready to listen to the details of your case. Call (609)-321-8060 today to set up a free consultation.

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