Image of drunken driver - South African visa application

Drunken driving convictions and visas

Clients often ask “can I apply for a visa if I have been convicted of drunken driving?” The answer depends on the sentence which followed the conviction.

Requirements for a South African Visa application

When applying for a visa, applicants older than 18 are required to submit a police clearance certificate in respect of every country in which they have lived since turning 18 years of age. If an applicant has a conviction for drunken driving, then the conviction will turn up on the police report. This report is submitted with the visa application. The question is, how does a conviction affect the applicant’s prospects of success?

Applicants with criminal convictions

The Immigration Act stipulates that anyone who has a previous criminal conviction where payment of a fine was not an option (and the offence is recognized by South African law) may be declared an “undesirable person”. Undesirable persons do not qualify for visas to South Africa.

Drunken driving is an offence in South Africa.Therefore, if the sentence for the drunken driving offence was rehabilitative community service, house arrest or incarceration at a correctional facility, then the applicant can be declared undesirable when submitting a visa application and the visa application can be refused on that basis.

If, however, the offender did have the option to pay a fine, then the conviction should not affect the application. However, we have found that some high commissions and embassies have refused visa applications where the applicant has been fined for a drunken driving offence.  We have been successful in having these refusals overturned on appeal. It should also be noted that declarations of undesirability can be set aside.

Applying for a visa when you hold prior convictions

Applicants with prior convictions should always contact an immigration attorney for advice before submitting a visa application. Applicants without prior convictions should phone a taxi.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column]

Image of drunken driver - South African visa application
Image of drunken driver - South African visa application

Speak to a professional

Contact Le Roux Attorneys, South African Visa specialists about your visa application. Start by selecting one of the enquiry options below

Posted in blog, News, Play in SA, Popular.


  1. I was arrested and charged for DUI, in 2008. I was refunded my bail and was never contacted for the trial. What can I do to clear my name

  2. Good day

    i was once convicted of driving under the influence and a couple of years ago i did not do any prison time nor i was fined, i was let go in court with a 3 years suspended sentence and that was it. although when i pull my police clearance certificate it shows i have a criminal record.

    now i want to go on a vacation overseas that would require a VISA.

    will this be an issue for my visa application?
    please advise.

    thank you.

  3. I was arrested in mcdonalds drive through for DUI and was taken in to get blood taken. After long months of postponing and stress, my last court appearance was a record given to me, as far as I know , and a R4000 fine. I am a British citizen and plan to emigrate back to England. Will my record affect me because as far as I know I am not required to fill out a visa application

  4. Hello,

    I want to apply for a tourist visa for SA. I’m invited from a local friend, which will provide for my accommodation and expands. 5 years ago I was driving under the influence and had a car accident, with a desciesed person, was charged with a fine and suspended sentence, because it is my first and only time happened. Would I be able to recieve a visa?

  5. My brother was caught in a roadblock for drink and driving. Will that affect his visa application to Spain. He didn’t go to court and they give his money back for bail. They said they are waiting for blood results. Please assist.

  6. Hi George

    Thank you for contacting us. You can try emigrate on the on the certificate that was done in June, if it is valid at the time you emigrate. We are unsure if the charge will show up on your Certificate if you get a new one, it may be worth getting a new one and taking it from there. If you still have to appear in court for this matter it will be illegal to leave the country before the proceedings.

    The SAVisas Team

  7. Good day,

    I was recently caught on a roadblock this past weekend for driving under the influence,The police took a blood test and was charged but never appeared in court was just released on a R 1000 bail.I would like to apply for a police clearance certificate as I plan on emigrating to Switzerland soon.Will the charge show up on my police clearance certificate. I am currently in possession of a certificate which was done in June and it states that I have no convictions.

    Please advice


  8. Hi Brighton

    Thank you for contacting us. Please email this outline and your contact details to and a specialist will be in contact with you during the course of the day.

    Kindest regards,
    The SAVisas Team

  9. I have been I SA since 2007. My wife and 3 chidren got SA citizenship by decent in 2013 and I have been using a 5 year work permit which expired in feb 2016. I applied for a spousal visa. I have to cases of DUI which I paid fines. On the 18 th of April I got a sposal visa section 11.6 for 3 years. When I went to collect it at VSF center. I checked and found out tha there was an error on one passport number digit and had to sent it back for rectification. Within a week I got a respose and now it was a visa deniel citing that I have a criminal record and that the permit was issued in error. I was suppose to make written representations as to why the Minister should reconsider my appeal. I am feeling that it can be an uphill hance I am now seeking for your professional help. I am based in Kuruman. N. Cape.

  10. Hello. We can help you with your appeal. Just send us an email to, in which you give us a detailed explanation of your situation. We will get back to you soon and discuss with you all the options.

  11. i would like to make an appeal,was charged on drunken driving and payed a fine and have never commited any other crime ,for my permanent residence application.WOULD LIKE TO FIND OUT HOW MUCH IS IT AND HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE ,CONTACCT ME ON 0784007509

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