Fu­ture plans in peril: an of­ten for­got­ten side ef­fect of drugs

Crim­i­nal con­vic­tion can pre­vent travel

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Community Campaign - Ice - For in­di­vid­ual as­sis­tance Ms. Sarah Bekker - Den­tal Hy­gien­ist Dr. Carolyn Chong BDSc Melb Dr. David Lin BDSc Melb - Prin­ci­pal Den­tist Dr Martin Hor­wood BDS Adel Sup­port for fam­i­lies faced with

Recre­ational drug users be­ware: if you’re caught with pro­hib­ited drugs and charged, it can limit your fu­ture travel plans.

Ac­cord­ing to Travel and Cruise North East owner and di­rec­tor Kay Reid a crim­i­nal record can af­fect your travel plans.

“It can be heart­break­ing to have to tell some­one that they can’t go on the trip of their dreams be­cause of a silly mis­take they’ve made in the past,” Ms Reid said.

“The more se­ri­ous the of­fence, the harder it is to travel. A drug con­vic­tion, even for a small amount of drugs, can make it dif­fi­cult to visit and to work over­seas. “The chal­lenge is that ev­ery­where is dif­fer­ent. “If you have a crim­i­nal record, re­gard­less of how mi­nor the of­fence is or how long ago it hap­pened, you’ll need to check the en­try re­quire­ments for ev­ery coun­try you pro­pose to visit.”

Gen­er­ally, if you need to ap­ply for a visa to visit a coun­try, crim­i­nal con­vic­tions and some­times ar­rests are asked about in the form.

They’re not con­cerned with the amount of drugs in­volved, whether you were fined or went to jail – it’s usu­ally just a yes or no ques­tion.

If you an­swer yes, it can mean you’re un­wel­come in that coun­try.

“Coun­tries change their rules of en­try all the time, so I’d en­cour­age peo­ple look­ing to travel to make the right en­quiries be­fore they leave,” Ms Reid said.

Lo­cal lawyer, He­len Collins from Nevin Lenne Gross, agrees many peo­ple who end up with a drug con­vic­tion don’t re­alise how it can limit their fu­ture travel plans.

“A lot of peo­ple who end up with a crim­i­nal record don’t re­alise it can limit their travel,” Ms Collins said.

“The only way to know where you can or can­not travel is to check with each coun­try you hope to visit.

“You may need to go through the process of ap­ply­ing for a visa or an elec­tronic travel au­tho­ri­sa­tion to know for cer­tain, as you may be able to travel, de­spite your record.

Coun­tries such as the US, Canada, China and In­done­sia re­quire trav­ellers with a crim­i­nal record to ap­ply for a visa or elec­tronic travel au­tho­ri­sa­tion.

“When you make an ap­pli­ca­tion, you are re­quired to dis­close any crim­i­nal con­vic­tions you have re­ceived, along with any mat­ters that you have out­stand­ing,” Ms Collins said.

“If you travel to a coun­try that in­quires about crim­i­nal his­tory dur­ing the visa or cus­toms process, you must an­swer truth­fully.

“Any false state­ments could re­sult in a lengthy or per­ma­nent bar to that coun­try.

“If you are un­sure whether you have a crim­i­nal record, you should ap­ply for a Na­tional Po­lice Check from the Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice be­fore you ap­ply for a visa or elec­tronic travel au­tho­ri­sa­tion.

“In any case, a Na­tional Po­lice Check is of­ten manda­tory if you are ap­ply­ing for a work visa for a for­eign coun­try.

“You should al­low plenty of time as the Fed­eral Po­lice re­quire two to three weeks to re­spond, and your ap­pli­ca­tion for a visa or ETA will take longer than if you have no crim­i­nal record.”

If you have a crim­i­nal con­vic­tion, it does not nec­es­sar­ily mean that you will be re­fused en­try to a coun­try.

Whether your crim­i­nal con­vic­tion af­fects your abil­ity to travel de­pends on the coun­try you’re plan­ning to visit and their poli­cies, as well as the sever­ity of the of­fence.

If you are fac­ing a drug con­vic­tion and you are con­cerned about the ef­fect it might have on your fu­ture travel plan; it’s a good idea to speak to a lawyer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.