Can You Get a Passport with a DUI?
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. 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 traveling abroad? Can you get a passport with a DUI?
Generally, a DUI conviction 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 or state lines.
Will My Passport Be Revoked?
Your passport will not automatically be revoked if you’re arrested for or convicted of DUI. But you may be prohibited from leaving the country temporarily if you’re released on your own recognizance (without bail) after a DUI charge or are on probation.
Other Countries May Not Let You In
While it’s unlikely that your DUI will lead to a U.S. passport denial, and your passport will not be automatically revoked, there is another, more pressing issue. Other countries may not let you enter their borders with a DUI on your record. For example, Canada and Mexico may prohibit U.S. citizens with a DUI on their record from entering their borders.
If a person has a DUI conviction on their record and needs to enter another nation, there might be special procedures that allow them to do so. For example, if a person wants to enter Canada, they can apply for criminal rehabilitation or a temporary residential permit (TRP). Applying for a TRP allows a person to enter Canada regardless of past criminal convictions in the United States. However, the process is strict, and applicants must provide reasons for approval of their TRP. Notably, the Canadian government must be convinced that a person’s admission into the country has benefits that outweighs the risks of their entry.
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 must obtain a waiver before entering the United States.
What Can Bar Me from Getting a U.S. Passport?
Chances are that you can get a passport with a DUI conviction on your record, but this does not mean that a passport is guaranteed. There are other factors that could negatively affect passport proceedings.
There are several issues that can block 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.
These restrictions are in place to protect the U.S. government and citizens. Even though it’s unlikely that a DUI will prevent you from getting a passport, you need to be aware of these other factors.
DUI & Your Immigration Status
In most cases, you can get a passport with a DUI, but what if you’re a non-citizen? Here in Florida we have a large, diverse immigrant population, so it isn’t uncommon to encounter someone worried about their DUI and immigration status. A simple misdemeanor DUI should not lead to deportation, but in certain cases a DUI can trigger removal proceedings. If a person commits a felony DUI that kills or injures others, they’ll likely receive prison time and will be deported once they serve their sentence.
The following can lead to a deportation:
- Felony DUI
- Drug-related DUI
- Prior conviction for marijuana
- Multiple DUI convictions
- DUI causing serious bodily injury
- DUI causing death to another person
- Multiple criminal offenses on record
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.
A DUI Can Affect Your Passport, Travel & Immigration
You can get a passport with a DUI, but there are certain countries that may restrict your entry. Your passport will not be automatically revoked if you’re arrested for drunk driving or convicted of DUI, but if you’re a non-citizen, you could face removal—if you’re charged with a felony or drug-related DUI.
Driving under the influence charges can affect your life in many ways. It is important to discuss specifically how a DUI conviction may affect your ability to travel outside of the United States. At Thomas & Paulk, we have extensive DUI defense experience in Florida. Our attorneys are also former prosecutors. With an understanding of both sides of criminal proceedings, we can offer detailed guidance that helps you make informed choices about an active DUI case and even options such as expungement to seal your criminal record.
Whether you’re facing new DUI charges or having difficulty obtaining a passport, our firm is ready to help. Thomas & Paulk, P.A. has helped thousands of people dealing with criminal issues, and we’re ready to use our experience to pursue the most beneficial outcome for your situation. When you call our firm, you’ll be connected with a member of our team who will help you discover your options at no cost.
Can you get a passport with a DUI? Get the answer to this question as it relates to your unique situation. We’re standing by to help at (813) 321-7323. Call now for a free consultation.