Can You Travel Internationally With A Criminal Record?

April 17, 2024

When most people think about the impact having a criminal record may have on their lives, they often think about difficulty obtaining employment, renting a home, maintaining professional licensing, and securing child custody. However, have you ever considered how a criminal record may impact your ability to travel internationally? Having a criminal record can indeed impact your ability to travel outside of the United States. Here, we will explore some of the nuances associated with traveling with a criminal record.

Getting A Passport

Before traveling internationally, you must obtain a valid passport from the federal government. Generally speaking, having a criminal charge will not bar you from getting your passport. However, certain offenses will disqualify you from obtaining your passport, including:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Human trafficking
  • Financial fraud
  • Outstanding child support 
  • Outstanding loans

Additionally, if you are currently under parole or on probation, you will likely be prohibited from getting a passport.

What Countries Are You Prohibited From Traveling To?

Every country has its own set of laws and regulations regarding whether they permit felons to enter their land. These laws are typically dependent on the severity of the offense and diplomatic agreements. Some countries that have stringent traveling policies regarding felonies include:

  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Japan
  • China
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom

Certificate Of Good Conduct

In some cases, countries may ask you to provide a Certificate of Good Conduct before allowing you to enter their country. A Certificate of Good Conduct is an official document that asserts the previously convicted individual’s rehabilitation efforts and good behavior since the conviction. While obtaining a Certificate of Good Conduct does not guarantee entry, it does help bolster your odds, particularly in countries with stricter entry requirements.

Will Expungement Help?

Expungement is the process by which your criminal record is wiped. However, this process does not necessarily mean that your criminal record is completely sealed, as public officials and criminal justice personnel will still be able to access your full criminal record. Nonetheless, getting an expungement will likely ease your life in a number of ways. It is important to note that there are a handful of crimes that are ineligible for expungement as they are very serious offenses. Some of these crimes include:

  • Murder
  • Terrorism
  • Manslaughter
  • Rape
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Arson
  • Child pornography

Be Honest

When you are traveling internationally, it is crucial that you remain honest. Failing to disclose your criminal record can result in a number of serious and significant consequences, such as deportation or travel bans. Therefore, it is important to learn about the disclosure requirements of the countries you are visiting and be honest and upfront about your criminal history.

Legal Assistance

As you can see, having a criminal record can greatly impede your ability to travel internationally. If you believe you have been wrongly accused of a crime or are interested in having your criminal record expunged, it would be worthwhile to consult with a Riverside criminal attorney who can help guide you through the complexities of the legal system.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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