can felons leave the country

When felons face conviction, their freedom is limited. During their confinement, felons must dwell in cramped confines. Felons are not given enough opportunities to walk or exercise. This creates a desire for liberty. When felons commit significant crimes, long-term incarceration robs them of their freedom.
Let’s take a look at the question “Can felons leave the country?”

When It Comes to Traveling, What Constitutes a Felony?

Felonies that prevent you from traveling include significant offenses like:

  • Human smuggling
  • Murder
  • Murder by manslaughter (unintentional killing)
  • Sexual assault/rape
  • Kidnapping
  • Pornography involving children
  • Drug production and distribution
  • Assault
  • Animal tyranny
  • Cybercrime
  • Evasion of taxes
  • Minor offenses that may go unnoticed when traveling internationally include:
  • Petty thievery
  • Intoxication in public
  • Dangerous driving
  • Shoplifting
  • Trespassing
  • Unruly behavior
  • Vandalism
  • Exposed indecently
  • Marijuana Possession (personal use)

Keep in mind that each country has its own definition of what constitutes a “severe crime” and what constitutes a “less serious offense”. As a result, a small misdemeanor in one country may be considered a felony in another, and you may be denied entrance. Furthermore, keep in mind that time is a crucial aspect in determining if your criminal record hinders your travel.

Some countries consider the crime to be non-existent (or you’ve been rehabilitated) if enough time has passed (10 or 15 years) since the crime was committed – and you haven’t been convicted of other offenses in the meanwhile. Certain countries, on the other hand, don’t care how much time has gone; you won’t be allowed to enter with a criminal record in any event.

Is it Possible for Convicted Felons to Leave the Country?

Whether or not convicted felons can leave the country is determined by numerous factors, including:

  • Whether or whether the convict has served their time.
  • The type of offense committed on their criminal record.
  • The limits on travel imposed by the country in question.

Travel Restrictions During Probation

Convicted felons are frequently sentenced to prison time. They must finish their sentence before they can travel. In other circumstances, instead of prison time, felons are sentenced to probation and fines. There will be restrictions on a felon’s movement while they are still on probation. These restrictions are established by the terms of their probation, which are decided by the nature of the offense.

For example, felons on probation must report to a probation officer on a regular basis to ensure that they are following the terms of their sentence. If the criminal was overseas or in another state at the time of the encounter, this would be impossible. If the felon wants to travel, they must first obtain permission from their probation supervisor. Again, whether or not this is granted is determined by the nature of the offense committed. Travel limitations are lifted once the probation period is completed.

Travel Restrictions After Serving Your Sentence

Most felons are free to travel once they have served their sentence, which may be probation, jail, or parole, as determined by the court. However, they must first obtain a legal passport. Most felons can obtain a US passport without difficulty, however, this is dependent on the individual’s conviction and current financial situation. According to federal law, the State Department cannot grant a passport if any of the following conditions are met:

  • The individual was convicted of a felony narcotics offense including the international border crossing.
  • The offender committed a felony in which he conspired against the United States government.
  • The individual owes more than $2,500 in back child support or government loans.
  • The offender is wanted on active warrants.

Traveling gets easy for the convict once he obtains a legitimate passport. However, while they will have no trouble moving throughout the United States, they may have difficulty entering other countries. Their passport is a type of international identification that allows them to return to the United States at any time, but it does not ensure entry into another country. Few countries have laws against convicted felons.

Please keep in mind that, depending on where you plan to go, certain countries require US citizens to travel visas in addition to their passports before entering. While many US felons can obtain a passport, obtaining a visa can be more difficult. When applying for a visa, you must be truthful about any previous convictions. Anyone caught lying might face a lifelong travel ban.

List of Countries You Can’t travel If You Have a Criminal Record

The following countries do not allow convicted felons to enter:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • China
  • Cuba
  • India
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Kenya
  • Macau
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • South Africa (SA)
  • Taiwan
  • The British Isles
  • The United States

Countries That Convicted Felons Can Travel To

If you are a convicted felon, you can travel to the following countries:

  • Brazil
  • Cambodia
  • Chile
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • HK
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Nepal
  • Peru
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Tanzania
  • Dominican Republic
  • The Philippine Islands
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Emirates of Arabia

Remember that while the countries listed above do not need you to submit your criminal record, they still have active laws prohibiting felons from entering the country. This implies that, while you are not required to produce proof of your criminal background, you will be denied admission if it is detected.

Countries That Do Not Allow Felons?

The answer to the question “Are felons allowed to leave the country?” is primarily determined by the country into which the felon wishes to enter. The immigration regulations of the country in question must be examined in the country to determine whether or not it imposes limitations on felons. Most countries base admission acceptance or denial on the crime in question, with some acts, such as severe crimes, imposing the most restrictions.

We look at the admission requirements for some of the countries that many US residents aspire to visit below.

The British Isles

If a US felon’s conviction is judged finished, he or she may enter the UK. Spent convictions are those that occurred more than ten years ago and had a prison sentence of six to thirty months. In circumstances when the prison sentence is longer than 30 months, the conviction cannot be expunged. This means that felons who committed more serious crimes and consequently received longer and harsher sentences may have difficulty entering the country.

European Union (EU)

The European Union encompasses the vast majority of European countries (EU). There is free movement between all EU countries, which means that if an offender enters one, he or she will have access to all of them. The EU is fairly forgiving in admitting someone with a prior felony record into the country. Most felons will be admitted as long as their prison term is less than three years. The only exemption is if the offense involved human or drug trafficking, in which case the maximum prison sentence is two years.


Canada has stringent admission procedures and is one of the few countries that prohibit practically all felons from entering. Indeed, no felon may cross the border without special permission, and people will be halted even if they have an old felony arrest on their record. They are especially harsh on people who have been arrested or convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), regardless of whether they were charged with a misdemeanor or felony violation.

If you want to enter Canada, you must first apply for rehabilitation. This is true even if the crime and conviction occurred more than ten years ago. In Canada, a felony is never automatically dismissed after a specified period of time has passed. The convict must not be participating in any present criminal conduct to be considered rehabilitated. However, it is entirely up to the police to determine whether or not the felon is safe. Travel is not permitted if this condition is not met.


A visa will only be issued to persons who do not have any convictions that resulted in prison sentences of more than 12 months, according to Australian law. This means that felons serving longer terms will have a more difficult time obtaining a visa and consequently entering the country. They will also not admit anyone who has been convicted of two or more offenses with total sentences of more than 12 months, or anyone with a suspended jail term of this length.

Specific Reasons for Passport and Visa Refusal for felons

  • Criminals with a criminal background may need to conduct further investigation before booking flights.
  • Active criminal charges prevent felons from making plans to travel throughout the world.
  • Felons who have served their sentence in jail and completed their parole are entitled to apply for a passport.
  • Passports are canceled for felons involved in drug offenses or offenses involving the sale of narcotics at the state level.
  • Passports are held in police possession throughout incarceration, and felons are not permitted to travel overseas.
  • Felons with crimes connected to other issues are entitled to travel on non-drug-related matters.
  • Passports are denied due to outstanding arrest warrants.
  • Felons are not permitted to transport hazardous chemicals that endanger the lives of other passengers.
  • Felons in debt cannot leave the country.
  • Before a felon can travel, he or she must be debt-free.
  • Felons who provide financial assistance to children are not permitted to travel to another country.
  • Felons are not permitted to enter other countries as illegal immigrants. This results in the passport being revoked.
  • Due to medical issues, a mentally ill offender is denied a passport or visa to travel.
  • Senior felons are not issued passports or visas to leave the country.
  • Juvenile felons are not eligible for a passport or visa to leave the country.
  • If a felon does not live in his or her home state or country, he or she is not eligible for a passport.
  • Involvement in crimes such as rape and murder diminishes the likelihood of permanently leaving the country.
  • When a felon’s passport application is denied once, the felon does not receive a passport on reapplication, despite the fact that the denial history is kept in mind.

Can I Travel Now That I’ve Been Acquitted?

Simply a few countries may allow you to enter if you have only been accused of a crime but have not been formally tried or convicted. However, this varies per country; you should verify with a local embassy/consulate before departing.

What if a convicted felon needs to travel for an emergency?

If there is an emergency, you can still travel even if you have a criminal record. Some countries, such as Canada and the United States, provide waivers that allow you to travel. However, these waivers, which are only granted in times of emergency and for humanitarian reasons, are difficult to get. Furthermore, even if you are granted permission, you are only permitted to visit the country once.

Considerations When Traveling With a Criminal Record

When traveling with a criminal record, you should keep the following points in mind to make your trip more manageable:

  • Plan ahead of time. Before you leave, you should travel the immigration laws of your target country. Understand what constitutes a major crime and what crimes may be overlooked.
  • Be truthful. If you must disclose your past, be entirely honest, even if you believe your crime was small. You could face significant consequences if you lie on your visa application or at the border.
  • Please be patient. When traveling with a criminal record, you should expect to wait longer in border patrol. Even if you have a waiver enabling you to enter, border patrol personnel will thoroughly evaluate everything before choosing whether or not to let you in. In this instance, you must be patient and wait for your case to be processed.


The regulations for felons leaving the country vary depending on whether their sentence has been fulfilled or not. When that happens, the vast majority of convicted felons will be eligible to apply for a passport that will allow them to leave the country. People with drug trafficking charges or crimes that represent a security danger to the United States, as well as those with outstanding debts of $2,500 or more, are exempt.

Felons confront obstacles at every step of their journey to travel outside of their home countries. Before they can travel to another country, felons must obtain legal permission from the court. All countries have stringent entry barriers and do not make it easy for felons to enter. Illegal immigration results in life imprisonment.

However, being able to leave the United States does not ensure admittance into the country in the issue. Before traveling, always examine the country’s immigration regulations, and never mislead on visa applications. This could result in a permanent ban from entering the travel.

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