International Travel Restrictions If You’ve Ever Been Convicted of Drunk Driving

Trip planning items.

Are you thinking of traveling somewhere out of the country this holiday season or at any time in the future? Unfortunately, you may need to change your plans if you or someone you expect to travel with has a past DUI or DWI conviction. In addition to the numerous other severe penalties imposed on someone who is found guilty of drunk driving, a driver who is convicted can also be denied entry into certain countries simply because they had a DUI or DWI at some point in the past.

Travel restrictions can be an extremely important consideration for certain individuals, such as those who need to travel for work. Unfortunately, not being able to enter certain countries because of a past conviction is just one more thing that can make life more difficult for any driver who is caught driving drunk. This is in addition to the other penalties that can occur, which we frequently discuss here on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, such as severe fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges. For some individuals, these penalties can mean the difference between being able to go to work or not being able to care for family members and loved ones.

Because a DUI/DWI conviction can have such life-changing consequences, we always recommend that drivers exhibit extreme caution when drinking. If you are pulled-over or arrested for drunk driving, it is important that you consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Even if you have already plead guilty to DWI or have been convicted, it is still possible for a lawyer to help in certain situations and have that conviction overturned.

Crossing the Canadian Border with a Past DUI or DWI Conviction

For New Jersey residents looking to travel abroad, Canada is often one of the closest and easiest choices. However, many people do not know that Canada has extremely strict border policies regarding travel into the country by non-Canadian citizens who have had a DUI conviction at any time in the past. The Canadian government reserves the right to bar any person from entering the country if they have ever plead or been found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is because Canada considers driving while intoxicated to be a serious offense, similar to a felony, even though it is treated differently in New Jersey. The official policy is: “Americans with a DUI record must seek a waiver of exclusion from Canadian authorities before traveling to Canada, which requires several weeks or months to process.”

Although having a past DUI does not mean you will definitely be turned away when visiting our Northern neighbor, there is a good chance that you will be turned away if you have a recent conviction. The border officers have a lot of leeway in deciding when to allow individuals in and when to turn individuals away. Border officials may be more lenient if an individual’s conviction is more than 10 years old, although there is no guarantee that such an individual will be permitted entry.

Furthermore, it does not matter if a person is trying to enter Canada by car, boat, plane or train – or what they will be doing in the country. There are well-known stories of Americans being denied entry even when traveling to Canada by ferry on a sight-seeing daytrip.

Finally, Canada is able to easily determine when an individual has had a past conviction because Canada is the only country that shares complete information with the United States regarding criminal databases, meaning that Canadian border agents have complete access to all criminal records. For this reason, it is especially important to be honest and not lie when discussing any past convictions with Canadian border agents.

Other Countries Where a DWI Conviction Can Affect Travel

In addition to Canada, there are a number of other countries where past DWI convictions may bar entry. Generally, travel into countries that are part of the European Union will not be affected. However, travel to certain Asian countries – such as China, Malaysia, and Japan – and countries in the Middle East.

Because these policies are country specific and subject to change at any time, it is important for you to specifically research the policies governing your intended travel destination. In some cases, you may even want to contact an immigration official to find out more information.

What Can You Do About a Past DUI/ DWI Conviction

If you have been convicted of drunk driving in the past, and now feel you need to have that conviction cleared from your record, it is important that you contact a knowledgeable attorney immediately. A good attorney will be able to review all of the facts and circumstances surrounding your past DWI case. The DUI lawyer will then be able to inform you about your options. In certain circumstances, the attorney may be able to file an appeal or make a motion to overturn the past conviction.

If you are in a situation where a past conviction – no matter how old – is preventing you from traveling, working, or being eligible for a job, this can often be the only way to change how that conviction affects your ability to live your life.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help if You Have Been Arrested, Charged, or Convicted of Drunk Driving

If you have been convicted of drunk driving, you could face penalties that affect all aspects of your life. Some drivers deal with the penalties associated with DUI/DWI for the rest of their lives. For that reason, if you or someone you know has a DWI/DUI related issue or question, it is extremely important to contact an experienced DUI/DWI attorney immediately. A good drunk driving lawyer can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI/DUI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.