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I am planning on traveling to Australia so I applied for an ETA. The site said I wouldn't be eligible if I had a conviction with a sentence of 12 months. I was arrested in college for a DUI but was charged with reckless driving. Is this a criminal conviction? I applied and was informed that the application cannot be assessed online, thinking there would be another screen to give the details but there wasn't. Does anyone have any clues as to what to do next?

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    The answer will depend on where (state or province or country) the reckless driving violation occurred, because different jurisdictions prescribe different ranges of punishment, and may further depend on what sentence was actually imposed. I haven't seen the ETA application, but could imagine that the amount of time that has passed since conviction, as well as your age at conviction, might also affect the answer. – David Sep 10 at 1:55
  • Also, the Australians will compare your record (supposedly a misdemeanor reckless driving) against their own laws, and if their laws say that the offence is serious enough, you will be refused entry. – Matthew Barclay Sep 10 at 2:08
  • Can you clarify the specific wording: was your ETA denied, or was the result that your ETA cannot be assessed online? – jpatokal Sep 10 at 2:10
  • Sorry, I reread the email. And my ETA can not be assessed online. I looked at my paperwork from when I was charged and I only had a month of jail time, which was suspended. The exact wording from the ETA application is "If you have a criminal conviction and have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more, you should not be applying for an ETA." If I only had a month of "jail time" I should be fine to say no right? – Michaela Sep 10 at 2:17
  • One month is less than 12, so...yes. – Michael Hampton Sep 10 at 3:25
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Per the Australian embassy to the US, if you have criminal convictions, you will need to apply for a Subclass 600 Visitor visa:

If you have had any criminal convictions in any country, you should obtain police checks and other relevant character documents then apply for a Visitor visa (subclass 600), rather than an ETA to be assessed against the character requirements.

(Note that while this is the US site, the same advice applies to all nationalities.)

Per the character requirements, it is unlikely that a reckless driving misdemeanour in college (how long ago?) would constitute a "substantial criminal record" that would prevent you from visiting, but you'll need a bunch of documentation to prove you've kept your nose clean since then.

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