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  • Writer's pictureJustin Sparks

What Countries Can You Not Enter with a DUI Conviction?

There are many implications for receiving a DUI or DWI. A criminal record, in fact, can limit where an individual can travel to. Travel restrictions due to a DUI conviction have been legally placed in multiple countries. Each country has its own regulations and rules about entry.

This legislature can be different for vacationing or applying for an application for a temporary resident permit to said country. Depending on the country, a person who received a DUI or DWI may be denied entry or have to abide by certain restrictions or limitations.

Drunk Driving Implications

Drunk driving criminal convictions are not taken lightly in most countries around the world. Impaired driving can result in significant injury or even wrongful death. Driving under the influence is a very poor choice. (Find out how long after an accident can you be charged with DUI)

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), "on average over the 1o-year period from 2010-2019, more than 10,000 people died every year in drunk-driving crashes."

Organization of Information Explained

Organization of Information Explained

The countries discussed will be organized into four separate and distinct groups: Countries That Refuse Entry with a DUI, Countries with Social or Cultural Hesitations, Countries Where Honesty is the Best Policy, and Countries with Limited Entry Restrictions.

Countries That Refuse Entry with a DUI are very challenging or nearly impossible to enter with a recent DUI conviction. Countries with Social or Cultural Hesitations have strong cultural or religious beliefs that would denounce DUI's and alcohol consumption as a whole.

Countries Where Honesty is the Best Policy are countries in which it is in the best interest of the convicted to be completely honest about their DUI convictions. If they choose to lie about their past, undesirable consequences will occur. Countries with Limited Entry Restrictions are the most lenient and will most likely allow entry unless of a severe criminal record or sentencing.

Countries That Refuse Entry with a DUI


In Canada, a DUI charge is a felony conviction. In turn, an individual with a DUI conviction will not be allowed inside the country.

This does not mean there are no approaches to entering Canada legally. Individuals who have a clean criminal history besides the DUI can pay a fine to enter the country. Additionally, some DUI cases can be cleared from one's criminal records after a specific length of time.

Once this occurs, the said individual can travel to Canada legally without any repercussions. This does not occur for everyone though. Depending on the case, one might be permanently banned from visiting Canada.


If someone has a DUI charge within a 10-year span, he or she will most likely be restricted from entering Mexico. Similar to Canada, drunk driving convictions are viewed at the same level as a felony. In Mexico, this is called an indictable offense. Mexican border patrol and immigration officers are known to be a little bit more relaxed than most, but if a criminal conviction is discovered in any way, they will not let the convicted in. It is law in the country that individuals who have a DUI are not allowed entry.


To enter Australia, applicants must complete an e-Visa. Questions regarding criminal records will be asked on the Visa. If an individual does not pass a criminal record check, he or she will be denied entry into Australia. Depending on the severity of one's criminal background, the Australian government may permanently deny access. With a DUI conviction, requesting a travel waiver is the most intelligent course of action. For more information, please visit the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade official website.

Countries with Social or Cultural Hesitations

The United Arab Emirates and Persian Gulf Countries

The United Arab Emirates, located in Asia, is a Muslim country that holds a stern view on alcohol consumption. Known for its capital city, Abu Dhabi, Islam is the country's official religion. According to Islamic scripture, the drinking of alcohol is a sin and should not be tolerated.

Though these countries do not have any specific legislature about DUI convictions and border entry, their cultural background can play a big role in who they choose to allow in. Generally, it is up to the discretion of the immigration officer. One has to hope that the immigration officer he or she is dealing with is lenient and compassionate if the said individual wants to enter a Persian Gulf country like the United Arab Emirates.


Iran is very similar with respect to Persian Gulf countries. There are strong cultural reservations about alcohol. Not only can entering Iran be challenging enough as a United States citizen, but it can be far more difficult with a criminal record. If an individual admits a DUI conviction, most immigration officers will not allow entry.

Some immigration officers are more accepting and will grant access. Like the United Arab Emirates, it is dependent on the specific immigration officer.

Countries Where Honesty is the Best Policy


To legally enter Japan, extensive background checks will be conducted based on visa application question responses. If an individual decides to lie about his or her past criminal history, this could become detrimental with respect to entry. What is imperative is to be completely honest about the DUI conviction.

Japanese border patrol will be more willing to grant entry when people are fully cooperative and transparent about their criminal background. Yes, they may deny entry depending on the severity of the criminal charge but being honest will help more than it hurts. It is helpful to contact the United States Consulate to determine an appropriate plan for entry.

The People’s Republic of China

The People's Republic of China will also complete extensive background checks on applicants when suspicion arises about someone's criminal record. Crucially, any individual trying to enter China must be upfront and honest about their DUI conviction. There will be far worse repercussions if a lie is discovered.

Similar to Japan, Chinese immigration officers will be more negotiable if applicants admit their criminal records. If a Chinese officer has to conduct research and finds out about a hidden criminal charge, he or she will be frustrated and in no mood to even think about allowing entry.

Lying about a DUI can result in punishment including long-term banning. It is helpful to contact the United States Consulate to determine an appropriate plan for entry.

South Africa

When a person legally applies to enter the South African border, he or she must share their criminal records. In other words, the defendant must be transparent and admit a criminal conviction even if their criminal background is not brought up by the immigration officer directly. If the said person neglects to share his or her DUI, such behavior is referred to as deception by silence. This behavior will guarantee denied access. If the person is truthful, entry will be granted depending on the jurisdiction of the immigration officer.

Countries with Limited Entry Restrictions

Countries with Limited Entry Restrictions

New Zealand

New Zealand is usually lenient in travel restrictions. Consequently, the severity of the criminal act and its sentencing will dictate whether or not an individual is granted access to New Zealand. If the convicted completed serving a 12 or more month jail or prison sentence within the past 1o months, the said individual will be denied entry. Additionally, individuals who have served a jail time sentence of five or more years could face significant obstacles trying to enter New Zealand.

Overall, the country's immigration laws are understanding and fair.

United States

The United States has legislation in place that limits people with a crime involving moral turpitude from entry. The good news with DUI convicts is that this does not often apply to them. What does moral turpitude mean? According to Merriam-Webster, it refers to "an act or behavior that gravely violates the sentiment or accepted standard of the community."

Most frequently, such acts are defined by criminal intent. Examples of moral turpitude crimes would include abuse, fraud, kidnapping, murder, animal cruelty, and theft. If an individual earned a DUI offense as well as resorted to violence before, during, or after the conviction, he or she will have significant difficulty entering the country. A typical misdemeanor DUI is not a criminal act with intent. It is a poor and impactive life choice made on the spur of the moment.

This is why in most cases a drinking and driving conviction would not limit entry into the United States. In turn, this makes the U.S. more understanding than other countries.


Some countries are way sterner about entry approval with a criminal record including DUIs. Canada and Mexico have generally refused entry to individuals with DUI convictions. Countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Iran hold sacred religious beliefs that condemn alcohol consumption. These views can make it a challenge for a DUI holder to enter. It is at the discretion of the border agent to either grant or deny entry.

Japan, South Africa, and China entry can be far easier if the truth is shared upfront. When someone clearly states his or her criminal past, Japanese, South African, and Chinese border patrol might be more accepting. If a lie is unearthed, it is pretty much-guaranteed entry will not be granted. Furthermore, the individual might face punishment from the Japanese, South African, and Chinese governments.

New Zealand and the United States are the most lenient on the list compared to other countries. With an otherwise clean criminal history, most individuals can still enter these countries with a DUI conviction. While DUIs are serious crimes, the severity of the charge and sentence will determine whether entry is granted or denied. Each country has its specific policies, but these regulations are fair and relaxed.

If you need legal aid for a DUI case, contact the best DWI attorneys in Fort Worth today. They can help you in various aspects, such as determining how much it costs to get your license reinstated after a DUI and more.

1 comentário

Dennis Sordahl
Dennis Sordahl
19 de jan. de 2023

Just only having 1DUI on your driving record restricted a person from entering any other countries outside of the United States?

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