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Can I Travel Abroad with a Felony?

Posted on Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 at 1:09 pm    

When you’re facing criminal charges, you’ll probably hear your defense attorney, the prosecutor, and the judge say, “Don’t go too far” or something to that effect. In other words, they’re implying that you should probably stay in the area and avoid traveling out of state, let alone out of the country. If you’re placed on probation, community supervision, or parole for any reason during a criminal case, the court may even order you to stay in a certain area – this is common.

But what if your criminal case is complete? What if you have served your sentence and are no longer under the court’s close supervision? If you were convicted of a felony, can you travel abroad, to a foreign country? Or, does a felony conviction bar you from international travel?

Applying for a U.S. Passport

Suppose you’re a convicted felon who’s completed their sentence. You want to travel out of the country, so in that case, your first step is to apply for a U.S. passport. Will you be denied a U.S. passport? You should not have any issues obtaining a U.S. passport with a felony on your record because a passport simply proves your citizenship to the United States. However, you could be denied a U.S. passport under the following circumstances:

  • You owe $2,500 or more in back child support;
  • You’ve been convicted of drug trafficking;
  • You’ve been charged with a felony;
  • You’ve been charged with a federal crime;
  • A court order has forbidden you from traveling abroad;
  • As a condition of probation or parole, you’ve been barred from traveling outside the U.S.;
  • You’re currently under a supervised release program for a felony, or possession or distribution of a controlled substance on the state or federal level.

If you’re a convicted felon and none of the above exceptions apply, you should not have any problem obtaining a U.S. passport. As long as you’ve completed your sentence and no court has barred you from traveling abroad, you should be able to travel overseas. However, some countries do not let convicted felons in.

Canada, for example, frowns heavily on DUIs, even misdemeanor DUIs, and it will block foreigners from entering with DUIs on their record. If you plan to travel overseas with a felony on your record, make sure the country you plan to visit will let you in.