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Can Convicted Felons Travel Outside of the U.S.?


While you were awaiting trial, the judge probably ordered you against going out of state and especially leaving the country. That was then, so now that your sentence is complete, you’re probably wondering how your criminal history could affect your plans if you want to leave the country for business or leisure.

Life may be a lot more difficult for you now that there’s a felony conviction on your record, but will this impact your ability to get a passport, board a plane or ship, or enter a foreign country? Let’s discuss these issues below.

Can Felons Get U.S. Passports?

Only under certain circumstances will a convicted felon be denied a U.S. passport. Generally speaking, however, felons can obtain passports because these are used as identification documents and don’t contain information about someone’s criminal background.

That said, felons may be denied U.S. passports under the following circumstances:

  • Convicted of drug trafficking and crossed an international border as part of the offense
  • Subject to a felony-related subpoena
  • Subject to federal arrest
  • Owes more than $2,500 in child support (applies to anyone, not just felons)
  • Specifically forbidden to leave the U.S. by probation, parole, or a court order
  • Imprisoned or subject to a supervised release program related to felony drug possession or distribution

As long as none of the criteria above describe your situation, you’ll probably have no issue getting a U.S. passport because of your criminal history.

You May Be Denied Entry to a Foreign Country

Some countries don’t admit those convicted of felonies in the U.S. or may decide not to let someone pass customs if they have a certain criminal history. Countries such as Australia, China, Japan, and Fiji ask about criminal history during their visa application processes, so having a felony conviction on your record might get you denied entry into these nations.


If you’re facing felony charges, you probably have greater concerns right now than where you’ll be able to travel in the future. Still, these are valid concerns if you have relatives who live overseas and want to make sure you can still visit them or if you have a business that requires international travel.

If you need legal representation to support your defense, you can turn to The Alband Law Firm and our legal advocates for help. Our team has tried more than 1,000 jury cases in Tarrant County, helping many achieve favorable outcomes in serious legal situations.

For more information about our services, please request a consultation by calling (817) 997-4366 or by contacting us online.