Can you get a pilot’s license with a DUI?

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KLM Immigration Law
October 16, 2023
Pilot's License with a DUI

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Professional pilots have the responsibility for the lives of everyone on their aircraft. They are expected to prove they are physically and mentally fit to pilot an aircraft. But what happens if you’re caught driving under the influence? Is it possible to obtain a pilot’s license with a DUI on your driving record?

The impact of a DUI on obtaining a pilot’s license

Commercial pilots are required to undergo regular medical exams and obtain medical certifications from an aviation medical examiner to ensure they meet the strict health and behavioral standards of the aviation industry. Part of obtaining a medical certificate means disclosing any alcohol dependency or offense where a conviction or administrative action was taken against you.

Therefore, you might face delays or difficulties in obtaining or renewing your pilot license with a DUI offense on your criminal record.

FAA regulations and backgrounds checks

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) conducts background checks on all pilot applicants to identify any red flags, such as criminal convictions, including driving under the influence of alcohol. A DUI conviction may raise concerns about an applicant’s judgment, responsibility, and potential substance abuse issues. These strict criteria are in place to maintain a high standard of aviation safety.

Legal requirements and disclosures

Federal Aviation Regulation 14 CFR 61 requires that all licensed pilots disclose any administrative offenses, such as license suspensions resulting from motor vehicle offenses such as DUIs. Failing these disclosure requirements is grounds to deny or revoke an aviation medical certification. Without an approved medical certificate from a certified medical examiner, an aspiring airplane pilot will be prevented from flying.

Steps to follow if you wish to obtain a pilot’s license

The process of obtaining or retaining a pilot’s license while having a DUI conviction can be long and confusing. However, with the right legal advice, there are options you can take.

Criminal Rehabilitation for Canada and Legal clearances

If you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol and wish to retain your pilot’s license and ability to fly into Canada, you can overcome your inadmissibility by applying for criminal rehabilitation, as long as over five years have passed since the completion of the conditions of your sentence.

If your offense is recent, and if you require immediate access into Canada, retaining the help of an immigration attorney can help secure a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), which would allow you to legally travel to Canada. 

Seeking professional guidance

Navigating the complexities of getting a pilot license with a DUI can be challenging. At KLM Immigration, we specialize in providing expert legal guidance to pilots dealing with DUI-related offenses on their record. With our help, we will ensure that you can continue pursuing your career in aviation without unnecessary hurdles.

Can you get a private pilot’s certificate with one or even two DUI?

Now that you know it’s possible to obtain a pilot’s license, and have the ability to fly to Canada with a single DUI conviction, how about getting a private pilot license with one or two DUIs? The answer is still yes, and you may apply for both the TRP (temporary resident permit) or for Criminal Rehabilitation with the help of a Canadian immigration attorney.

While having a DUI on your record may be a setback to retaining your pilot’s license and your ability to fly to and from Canada, by seeking the help of experienced attorneys from immigration law, it doesn’t have to be the end of your career dreams. Contact KLM Immigration today!

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