Has anyone Traveled to USA with a DUI?

I have a friend that got a DUI 3 years ago. I believe he was given criminal charges due to his blood-alcohol level being so high. He also failed received a “no insurance” fine, which he failed to pay on time, leading to a warrant. Eventually, “he turned himself in” to the remand centre and was given community service in lieu of the fine. Thus, the fine is all paid off now.

I read online that DUI’s, even if you injured someone, are most often overlooked when traveling to USA. Does anyone know if this is true? Has anyone with a DUI gone to USA? And do you think my friend could go visit his family in America?

Please, no rude comments. He is a decent human who made a mistake and hasn’t/won’t do it again. Also, I’m glad to add that nobody was hurt.

Thanks in advance for any experiences// advice you may have to offer.



30 Responses

  1. Yes you can. I know someone with a DUI who had travelled to the US. If in doubt call the US consulate at the airport.

  2. When I worked as a travel agent I had clients (on more than one occasion) denied boarding to their flight due to a criminal record from when they were young that they didn’t tell us about. There is no refund from the airline or prepaid hotel if you are denied boarding for something like that. Best to get a pardon before buying a ticket anywhere in the US. If driving, you take the chance you will be turned around at the border as well.

  3. Dui is not considered a serious crime and does not affect admissibility to USA not true for Americans coming to Canada it’s Canada that has the offence listed as a disqualifier. Because of the criminal charge you might want to check the exact offence and make sure the charge was only relating to the dui and there is not a failure to comply or assault or something that could be construed as a criminal offence in the USA

    • Amanda Mae Amanda Mae says:

      You forgot the fine print with the borders.. *American border officers can refuse you entry to the United States for absolutely ANY reason.

    • I know of someone who had a DUI many years ago and was refused entry. He was flying to Belize with a stop in Huston TX And it was a no go. He had to find a flight that did not need a stop in the US. He had taken the same route with no problems but the last time they refused him

  4. Jaime Sharon Jaime Sharon says:

    It depends on yhe agent but i know someone who has been let in fine the last 2 times going.

  5. My brother in law was refused to enter the USA from a dui as it is a criminal charge but you can apply for a waiver that allows you to enter (can’t remember the name for it but it’s good for one year and I believe it’s around $50 a year. Some states don’t care as some states will not let you enter.

  6. Mandy Morgan Mandy Morgan says:

    A relative of mine was denied into the states 20 years after his dui. He had gone through many times prior with no problems… I would talk to a professional and apply for a waiver if necessary.

  7. Marc Cornies Marc Cornies says:

    Drugs yes, DUI no. the US customs and border control agency website states it very clearly. Dui, minor assault, basically almost anything that’s minor here they don’t care about, unless you have multiple convictions for the same offense.

    • So if someone had two theft under charges from almost two decades ago, would they probably be refused at the border because it happened twice?

    • Marc Cornies Marc Cornies says:

      They call it “crimes of moral turpitude” , which to the lay man is murder, bribery, drugs, etc. They do list theft as one of them, but i’m quite sure that would mean substantial theft, not some minor stuff. The length of time that’s passed since the last conviction would come into play for sure. If you have a passport that should be all you need. in my experience the border agents are easy enough to get along with. If they ask you if you have ever committed a crime( which 9 times out of 10 they won’t), just say ” ya, 20 years ago”. Don’t lie, then you’re screwed. They can see it when they scan your passport. Don’t bother with a pardon, as the states don’t recognize them.

  8. Travis Purdy Travis Purdy says:

    Impaired driving is a criminal offense no matter how high you blow. Once you blow over you are charged with a criminal offense. And YES it can be reason for denied entry to the US.

  9. Amanda Mae Amanda Mae says:

    It depends on the day, the border guard, their mood… Etc.
    They can refuse you entry for any reason at all. Your DUI will absolutely show up to them so don’t think it won’t and don’t lie to them about it.
    My mom had something on her file (was never charged so it’s not a criminal offense) and not once did she ever have issues crossing.. Until she did. 25 years after it happened. My parents live an hour from two different points of entry and used to go to the US often. Now my mom can’t go down at all, when it was never an issue before.

  10. Adam Orion Adam Orion says:

    You should be good. A DUI isn’t a super serious offence. I mean it’s not like having a bit of weed residue in your bag or anything.

  11. it should be ok just go through the application process. I know others that had a DUI and have 1

  12. Alexis Musik Alexis Musik says:

    Depends on your customs officer!

  13. John Miranda John Miranda says:

    I know someone who wasn’t allowed in with a dui charge, don’t risk it because if you’re not allowed in once you’ll never get in even with a pardon in the future.


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