Can a Florida DUI Stop Me from Getting a Passport?

A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida has many ramifications, such as DUI School, DUI probation, fines, driver license suspension, vehicle impoundment, an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) requirement, and skyrocketing insurance premiums among other ramifications.

Additionally, a DUI conviction can affect housing, employment, professional licenses, security clearance eligibility, college applications, college athletics, and even child custody. But what about a U.S. passport, can a recent DUI conviction bar you from travelling abroad?

Generally, a DUI will not stop someone from obtaining a U.S. passport. In some circumstances however, overseas travel may be restricted for various reasons. This typically happens when a DUI defendant is a perceived “flight risk” or when as a condition of the individual’s probation or parole, the defendant is forbidden from leaving a specified area, such as county lines or the state.

Other Countries May Not Let You In

While it’s unlikely that your DUI will lead to a U.S. passport denial, there is another, more pressing issue – other countries may not let you enter their borders with a DUI on your record. Canada and Mexico for example, are two countries that frown upon DUIs and will often prohibit a U.S. citizen from entering their country with a DUI on their record.

“Canada may not allow persons with DUI (driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol) convictions to enter their country,” according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

However, Canadians wishing to travel have it a bit easier. If a Canadian has a single DUI conviction on their record, it won’t prevent them from entering the U.S., but if they have multiple DUIs or if they have a single DUI in addition to other misdemeanors on their record, they can be deemed inadmissible and have to obtain a waiver before entering the United States.

What Can Bar Me from Getting a U.S. Passport?

A Florida DUI may not stop you from getting a U.S. passport but that does not mean that a passport is guaranteed. There are a number of issues that can indeed bar a U.S. citizen from obtaining a U.S. passport, including:

  • Certain court orders can block a passport from being issued.
  • Certain court declarations can lead to the denial of a passport.
  • If a person defaults on an assistance loan from the Department of State, they must repay the loan or arrange to do so before they can get a U.S. passport.
  • If a person owes more than $2,500, their passport request will be denied.
  • If someone had a passport in the past and it was revoked, they can be denied a passport.
  • If someone receives an IRS taxpayer notice in the mail about their large, unpaid and overdue tax debt, they can’t get a passport.
  • If a minor is party to a child custody dispute, they cannot be issued a passport.

DUIs and Immigration Status

Here in Florida we have a large, diverse immigrant population. Since we’re on the subject of international issues, we wanted to discuss how a Florida DUI can affect a Green Card holder’s immigration status. A simple misdemeanor DUI should not lead to deportation, but in certain cases a DUI can trigger removal proceedings.

When DUI can lead to deportation:

Not every DUI means deportation, but under the right circumstances it can affect immigration status. If a Green Card holder wishes to become a naturalized citizen, a DUI can block them from becoming a U.S. citizen, this is especially the case when the lawful permanent resident has too many criminal convictions on their record. The U.S. is strict about only letting people become citizens when they are of a “good moral character,” so a DUI can be used against a Green Card holder for this purpose, especially when they have a history of criminal conduct.