If you’re like a lot of U.S. citizens, at some point you’ll want or need to travel outside the United States. Perhaps you’ll want to go to Italy for your honeymoon or you’ll want to go to South America for a mission trip for your church.
Perhaps you’ll need to travel to Canada for work, or perhaps you’ll want to fly to Jamaica for your brother’s “destination wedding.” Whatever your reason for traveling outside the States, if you have a felony conviction on your record, you may be wondering if it could bar you from traveling abroad.
“Aspiring travelers with criminal histories may have to do a little extra homework before booking flights to go abroad since certain criminal histories sometimes restrict travel plans. In most cases, people who have spent time in prison and completed parole are eligible to apply for passports and can still leave the United States – they just might have to jump through a few extra hoops,” according to USA Today.
Can Felons Travel Outside the U.S.?
Assuming you are a U.S. citizen, you should not have any trouble obtaining a U.S. passport or traveling outside the U.S. with a felony conviction on your record. However, if you happen to owe $2,500 or more in back child support, your U.S. passport will be denied, but it won’t be denied for a felony conviction on your record.
On the other hand, if there is an active warrant for your arrest or if you are on probation, community supervision, or parole, leaving the U.S. may come with serious repercussions.
If you’re on probation or community supervision, a judge may have ordered you to stay within a certain area until you satisfactorily complete your term. If you were to leave the U.S., it could look like you were trying to flee the country to avoid your punishment and as you can imagine, this wouldn’t end well.
Now, let’s say you are cleared to leave the United States. You satisfactorily paid your fines and completed your probation or parole and now you’re free to leave the States. You may be able to leave the U.S., but that doesn’t mean all countries will accept you.
Canada, for example, is one country that is very strict about DWI and it may not let you in, even if you had one misdemeanor DWI on your record. So, it’s very important to research the country’s rules that you’re intending to travel to before you book a flight.
If you’re facing criminal charges and concerned they will bar you from traveling outside the United States, contact Alband, Lane & Balderama for assistance.