I Have A Felony DUI. Can I Get A Passport?
If you have been convicted of a drunk driving offense, you have likely faced a variety of restrictions. Even for a first offense, your driving privileges are generally affected for at least 90 days, depending on the laws in your state. Considering that a driver’s license can be restricted, revoked or merely suspended, it’s a natural assumption that a DWI or DUI conviction will affect your ability to obtain a passport. However, such is not the case. Passports hold no information about your criminal record, and passports do not hold any statement of your character. Instead, the passport simply identifies you as a citizen of a particular country, and every U.S. citizen is eligible to apply for and to obtain a passport save a few federal caveats.
In general, a DWI or DUI conviction will not affect a person’s ability to obtain a passport. In other words, if someone is convicted of such an offense, even if it is a felony, his or her passport privileges are not automatically revoked. Still, it is technically possible to lose the right to obtain a passport following a DUI conviction if the restriction is due to the terms of probation or parole or if it is imposed by court order. Also, individuals who have been convicted as a drug trafficker and traveled into another country to commit the crime will be unable to obtain a passport as well as those who are in arrears on loans that they incurred as prisoners abroad. In addition, if the court deems someone to be a flight risk while he or she is facing a felony-related subpoena or while under federal arrest, passport privileges may also be withdrawn.
Although individuals convicted of DUIs are generally still able to obtain passports in the U.S., they may face other restrictions when traveling to other countries such as Canada, for example. Canada reserves the right to deny entry to any foreign visitor who has a criminal record of any kind, and this law applies to both felonies and misdemeanors. Mexico, likewise, will refuse entry to someone convicted of a crime, and if someone attempts to enter either country by ship, the individual will not be allowed to disembark onto foreign soil. Therefore, even with a valid U.S. passport, an individual convicted of any type of crime will not be legally allowed to enter Canada. Persons who absolutely must enter the country can either apply for criminal rehabilitation or obtain a Temporary Residential Permit.