We all know that we should make good life choices. We also all know that sometimes it doesn’t happen. Take getting a DUI, for example. Depending on where you live, you could pay a fine, lose your driver’s license and/or go to jail. Depending on how long ago it was, you may not be able to rent a car. That’s to say nothing of the fact that you’ve run the risk of getting into an accident and hurting or killing yourself or others.
As it turns out, there’s another potential long-term risk of getting a DUI – you may not be able to enter certain countries, sometimes for years, sometimes for forever. Take a look:
U.S. citizens need to fill out an e-Visa to enter Australia. The application includes passing a character test and applicants must have no major criminal history, no convictions and no association with anyone who is or has been involved in criminal conduct. As per Australia’s ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) FAQ:
If you have a criminal conviction and have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more, you should not be applying for an ETA. You might be eligible to apply for other types of online visitor visas.
If you are found to be in breach of any condition, your visa can be cancelled at the border and you will not be able to enter Australia.
Having a DUI is considered a serious crime in Canada (it’s punishable by up to a decade in prison). Visitors who have been convicted of any alcohol-related driving infraction, such as driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving while ability impaired (DWAI), or wet reckless driving may be considered criminally inadmissible to Canada and refused entry at the border.
There was a time when people with a history of DUI were considered “rehabilitated by time” ten years post their conviction. This is no longer the case; it’s possible for you to be refused entry into Canada for forever if you have a history of DUI, even if the conviction was over 10 years ago.
Japan conducts extensive background checks when applying to enter the country, and if you lie about a past criminal or even misdemeanor history, they will find out about it. If that’s the case for you, it’s suggested you contact the U.S. Consulate to determine your next step.
Similar to Japan, Malaysia conducts extensive background checks when applying to enter the country, and if you lie about a past criminal or even misdemeanor history, they will find out about it. If that’s the case for you, it’s suggested you contact the U.S. Consulate to determine your next step.
DUI convicts are taken very seriously in Mexico; it’s considered an indictable offense, similar to a felony, and felons are prohibited from entering. So foreigners with drunk driving convictions within the past 10 years are generally refused entry into the country.
Mexican border guards have been known to let travelers pass through with little scrutiny, so while you can take your chances, don’t be surprised if they tell you no.
The People’s Republic of China
Similar to Japan and Malaysia, the People’s Republic of China conducts extensive background checks when applying to enter the country, and if you lie about a past criminal or even misdemeanor history, they will find out about it. If that’s the case for you, it’s suggested you contact the U.S. Consulate to determine your next step.
When visiting South Africa, you’ll be expected to voluntarily disclose any criminal record at the South African border (even if they don’t ask you about it). Failure to do so is called “deception by silence” and will result in your immediate refusal. If you do disclose your criminal history and are denied (it depends on the judgment of the immigration officer) you can still return to South Africa once the conviction has left your record.
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country and since Muslims consider the consumption of alcohol to be a sin, their stance on DUIs is, not surprisingly, harsh. UAE has no laws on the books about allowing visitors with a history of DUI from entering the country, but having that history could definitely make entering the county more difficult. The final decision will be left with the strictness of the immigration officer.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary