Can You Travel Outside the U.S. With a Felony?

There are a lot of reasons why people travel outside the United States. They travel for vacation, to visit family, for work, for school, and sometimes for religious reasons. If you’re like most people, you have every intention of having a U.S. passport and traveling overseas at some point.

Perhaps you wish to travel abroad for a honeymoon, to meet a client for your job, to volunteer your time while on a church mission, or to visit relatives. Whatever your reasons for leaving U.S. soil, if you have a felony conviction on your record you may be wondering if you can travel outside the U.S. as a felon and with good reason. In this article, we discuss whether you can travel outside the States with a felony on your record.

Obtaining a U.S. Passport

The first step to traveling outside the U.S. is to obtain a U.S. passport, but can you obtain a passport if you have been convicted of a felony? As a general rule, felons should have no trouble obtaining a U.S. passport assuming they have successfully completed their probation or parole. Why? Because passports are merely identifying documents, they do not contain information about people’s criminal records.

However, if there is an active warrant for your arrest, if you have been convicted of drug trafficking, if you owe more than $2,500 in child support, or if you are on probation or parole and as a condition, a judge says you cannot leave the country, then you should not even consider leaving the country because if you do, you’ll face serious repercussions. In fact, if you owe more than $2,500 in child support, you will not be able to obtain a U.S. passport until your arrears are resolved.

“The U.S. Secretary of State can ask for passport application denial if you are deemed a serious threat to national security or U.S. foreign policy, here or abroad,” according to Travel Insurance Review.

Traveling Abroad with a Felony

Since a U.S. passport is merely an identification document, you should not have any problems obtaining one if you have completed your probation or parole. The real issue may be whether the country you’re flying to will let you in with a felony on your record. Canada, for example, is really strict about DWI convictions, even misdemeanor DWIs.

“Thinking about traveling to Canada? You’d better reconsider if you have been convicted of DWI or DUI (Driving While Impaired or Driving Under the Influence) within the last ten years,” according to Tripadvisor. So, our advice is that before you book those expensive non-refundable plane tickets, contact the country you wish to travel to first and make sure it will allow you in with a felony.

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