Planning to escape the routine or winter weather for a tropical climate or historically rich culture? If you’re hoping for a trip overseas, don’t pack your bags before reading this – or you might find yourself on the first flight home. A criminal record travels with you. For example, a DUI may bring international travel restrictions with its verdict.
You may find yourself asking, “What countries can you not go to with a DUI or criminal record?” If you have international travel restrictions due to a criminal record, planning a vacation can get a little complicated. For example, Mexico and Jamaica may not handle a criminal record in the same way. What if you want to go on a cruise? Multiple countries must be considered if you’re going ashore. A criminal record includes violent crimes and felonies (which encompasses repeat DUI and DWI) but each country handles foreign criminal offenses in its own way.
There are a few factors to consider when traveling to other countries, like time since completion of sentence, the nature of the offense, such as a DUI or DWI, number of offenses and reason for entering the country. Fortunately, our DWI lawyers and trial attorneys have compiled research on international travel restrictions for your convenience.
Travel To European Countries With Criminal Record
A criminal record and travel to European countries can be surprisingly streamlined. Many of the European nations are part of the Schengen Agreement, which allows visitors to travel freely within the borders of 26 nations. Similar to the way we travel through different states, visitors to other European nations can travel without all the bureaucratic restrictions.
Countries in the Schengen Agreement:
- Czech Republic
These nations all adhere to the same laws when it comes to travelers with criminal records. Criminal records are linked to immigration databases in many countries, and convictions may be grounds for refusal to grant a visa, entry or passport application. Therefore, a conviction such as an aggravated assault in Houston could potentially put a damper on your travel plans.
Mexico and Canada Travel Restrictions
Our neighbors to the south and north experience an influx in travelers every year, and while they both share borders with the good ol’ U.S.A. they don’t share the same regulations when it comes to travel.
Going on a cruise to Cancun or flying down to an all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta? You won’t have trouble if you’re traveling with a DUI/DWI or misdemeanor criminal history. The country is lax when it comes to entering and staying there. A passport is needed and if you need to renew a passport with a criminal record, the process is typically fairly simple as well. However, if you have certain serious drug-related offenses or family law matters such as large amounts of owed child support, obtaining a passport may be more complicated.
Canada, on the other hand, is a different story. Canada is among the countries you cannot go to with a DUI. If you have been charged or convicted of any crime, including driving while impaired or drug crimes involving marijuana, you may be prohibited from entering Canada to visit, work, study or emigrate.
Mark Thiessen discusses international DWI-related travel restrictions for countries like Canada and Mexico in this quick video:
Travel To Australia With A DUI Or DWI
Australia has some of the strictest laws when it comes to allowing travelers with criminal records into the country. Non-citizens who apply for visas must meet the requirements of a character test that includes not having any of the following:
- Substantial criminal record
- Conviction of an offense while in immigration detention
- Association with an individual, group, or organization suspected of or involved in criminal conduct
“Substantial criminal record” is defined as:
- Sentenced to death or life imprisonment
- Sentenced to a term of imprisonment for 12 months or more
Thus, travel restrictions for Australia can be quite broad. A traveler’s visa can be canceled on the grounds of a substantial criminal record or past/present criminal conduct, which would permanently exclude him or her from ever entering Australia. So, if you’re planning to go to Australia with a DUI or criminal record, you’ll need to make other travel plans.
Applying for a Travel Waiver
In some instances when you need to travel to a country but are denied entry due to restrictions, you might try applying for a waiver. First, you’ll need to check with the embassy of the country to which you want to travel and make sure your particular criminal history is admissible. You can check out this list of embassies.
Candidates will need to provide proof of identification to get the application, similar to getting a driver’s license or passport. Some countries do make provisions to allow people with criminal records to enter under certain circumstances.
Don’t Let a Criminal History Ground Your Travels
A conviction shouldn’t tell you where you can and cannot go in the future. If you’re facing criminal charges, keep your record clean by contacting the Thiessen Law Firm to fight for justice for you.
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