Under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), there are several issues that can make foreign nationals ineligible to enter the United States. One such ground for ineligibility is having a criminal record. However, there are special rules for driving-under-the-influence (DUI) convictions; and, even if you are ineligible, you may be entitled to a waiver that will allow you to enter the United States.
Here is a brief overview of what you need to know if you have a DUI conviction and are seeking to travel to the U.S. for personal or business purposes:
Obtaining a U.S. Visa when You Have a DUI on Your Record
1. If You Only Have a Single DUI Conviction
If you only have a single DUI conviction, you can enter the United States on a visa just the same as someone who has never been arrested for drunk driving.
2. If You Have Multiple DUI Convictions
If you have multiple drunk driving convictions, you could be denied entry into the United States. In order to obtain a visa, you may need to apply for an Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (Form I-601).
3. If You Have Been Convicted of a DUI and One or More Other Criminal Offenses
You could also be denied entry if you have been convicted of drunk driving and one or more other criminal offenses. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), “A single DUI conviction is not grounds to deny entry into the U.S. However . . . a DUI conviction in combination with other misdemeanor offenses can make a person inadmissible and require a waiver prior to entering the United States.”
The INA also provides for denial of entry for individuals who have been convicted of a “crime of moral turpitude.” These crimes include:
- Murder and manslaughter
Other criminal convictions may render you ineligible to enter the United States, as well – regardless of whether you also have a DUI. Similar to having multiple DUIs, if you have convictions for drunk driving and one or more other offenses, you may need to apply for a waiver in order to obtain a visa.
4. If You Have Been Convicted of a DUI and One or More Traffic Violations
Generally speaking, traffic offenses are treated differently than criminal convictions. If you have a single DUI conviction and have received a ticket for a non-criminal traffic offense (such as speeding), you may be eligible to enter the U.S. without a waiver.
Applying for an I-601 Inadmissibility Waiver
If you are inadmissible due to your criminal record but qualify for an I-601 waiver, you should consider starting the application process sooner rather than later. As posted on CBP’s website, the application process can take “up to a year.” There is also a $585.00 application fee which is non-refundable, so you will want to discuss your application with an attorney prior to filing.
Disclaimer: This Article Is Not Legal Advice.
Never rely on an article for legal advice as the law frequently changes, information may not be accurate, there may be exceptions to a rule, and reliance may be detrimental. Always consult one of our experienced attorneys for competent, current, and accurate legal advice.
Contact an Immigration Attorney at Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C.
If you are planning a trip to the United States and need help choosing the correct type of visa or need more information about filing an Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, contact Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C. in Wausau, Wisconsin. For a confidential consultation with one of our experienced immigration lawyers, call (715) 842-2291 or submit a request online today.