Drunk drivers face U.S. visa hurdles

Drunk drivers face U.S. visa hurdles

Medical clearance needed

If you’ve been charged with an alcohol-related offence in the last three years you will have to jump new hurdles to obtain a U.S. visa. A recent directive requires anyone arrested or convicted of such an offence to get medical clearance.

Single arrest in last 3 years

Consular officers must refer you to a specially appointed physician if you have had a single drunk driving arrest or conviction within the last three years or two or more arrests or convictions in any time period. Consular officers must also refer you to the physician if there is any other evidence to suggest an alcohol problem.

The new requirements relate to medical, not criminal, grounds for inadmissibility. A physical or mental disorder makes you inadmissible if you demonstrate behavior relating to the disorder that may pose, or has posed, a threat to your own safety, welfare or property, or to that of others.

Costly process

You will be ineligible to enter the U.S. if the physician determines you suffer from the mental disorder of alcohol abuse and there is current harmful behavior associated with the disorder or a history of harmful behavior that is likely to recur.

You will need to pay the panel physician a $500 fee and provide letters establishing you do not suffer from alcohol abuse.