Can You Travel Abroad With a Felony Conviction

When you intend to travel to another country, you must fulfill entry requirements implemented by their governments to secure the movement of unauthorized persons through a border. Have you ever wondered about people convicted of a felony and planning a foreign trip?

Some countries firmly forbid entry to people with convictions, and others don't check the criminal record of every traveler. Still, if a felony is discovered, the traveler may issue serious problems. Finally, governments of many countries allow entry provided the felon has served his sentence.

Read the article to learn more about traveling with a criminal history. Check what destination you are likely to visit with a conviction on file.

Countries that don't allow people convicted of a felony to enter the country

Below you can find examples of destinations where you cannot travel with felony conviction.

  • The United Kingdom
  • United StatesArgentina
  • Australia
  • Taiwan
  • Canada
  • China
  • Cuba
  • India
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa

International travel with a served sentence

The entry rules may vary from country to country. Some countries regulate the entry of visitors with a criminal history. They allow people who committed a crime and served their sentence to travel abroad but still under many conditions.

As every traveler also, felons must possess a passport and/or a visa when going abroad. To apply for it and get approved, they must provide complete criminal history and all necessary documents and information that the officials require. Please remeber that, with some kind of felonies, you may issue problems and be denied to get a travel permit. These are some examples:

  • a crime that plotted against the country he comes from
  • felony drug connected with crossing international borders
  • The offender has active warrants that the court has imposed

International travel during a sentence to probation

Many convicts are given suspended sentences. It means that the sentence imposed on the person is not executed, and after the expiration of the probationary period, it is considered served. In such cases, the felon may not be allowed to travel abroad. His mobility is limited and depends on the crime's nature. The convicted person must report to the probation officer at specific intervals. Sometimes, a felon may ask permission to leave the country, but receiving an acceptance depends on the crime committed.

Countries that don't ask to provide a criminal record

When traveling to selected countries, you will not be required to provide evidence of your criminal history. These countries also have active laws prohibiting criminals from staying in the country. Entering such a country with a sentence may be possible, but please remeber that if a felony is discovered, you may be in trouble.

  • Brazil
  • Cambodia
  • Chile
  • Ethiopia
  • Egypt
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Hong Kong
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Nepal
  • Peru
  • South Korea
  • Singapore 
  • Tanzania
  • The Dominican Republic
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • The Philippines 
  • Tunisia

May I travel to European countries with a felony convicted?

European countries pay much attention to the security of their inhabitants. Verification of incoming foreigners is detailed, and its most important aim is to guarantee safety in respect. However, every incoming person must take into account two aspects of crossing European borders.

First, if you have visa-free access to Europe's Schengen Zone, your criminal record will not be checked every time you move abroad. On the other hand, if you must apply for a visa to any of the European countries, the official will control your criminal past, and you may be denied entry when applying for the visa.

The second aspect of traveling with a crime committed is that European countries differentiate felony convictions from minor offenses and those treated as major crimes. Major crimes like murder, sex or human trafficking, terrorism-related felonies, sexual exploitation of children, murder, or rape will probably disallow you from arriving at any European destination. Traveling may be allowed in case of less serious offenses, but it is important not to cover up your criminal past.

Felonies considered serious in terms of traveling

When traveling abroad, the type of crime committed can be crucial. A serious crime will prevent you from entering the country, and a minor crime may give you the possibility to obtain a travel permit. Here is the most common division between types of felonies.

Serious crimes that will make international travel impossible:

  • Human trafficking
  • Assault 
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Cybercrime
  • Fiscal avoidance 
  • Murder
  • Unintentional causing of death (manslaughter)
  • Rape/sexual assault
  • Kidnapping 
  • Child pornography 
  • Production or sale of narcotics

Minor offenses which usually allow entering the foreign country:

  • Inconsiderate driving 
  • Shoplifting 
  • Small theft 
  • Trespassing on property 
  • Unruly behavior 
  • Vandalism 
  • Disruption of order
  • Indecent exposure 
  • Possession of marijuana (for personal use)


If you are sentenced to a felony, you may face serious problems traveling to another country. With serious crimes on your record, you will most likely not be able to leave the country at all. Remember that the time that has passed since the crime and the country you are going to are crucial because some destinations allow entry of people who have served a sentence or committed an act considered a minor crime in that country.

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