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Can I Travel Abroad with a Felony Record?

Posted By Ryan Albaugh || 18-May-2020

If you’re a U.S. citizen who was convicted of a felony in the past, you may be wondering if you can travel abroad with a felony on your record. This is a very good question and one that should be answered before you book your big trip.

For starters, let’s discuss U.S. passports. Generally, if someone has a felony conviction on their record, they should not have any trouble obtaining a U.S. passport. Why? Because passports are merely identifying documents that state what country you are a citizen of; they don’t contain criminal record information.

However, not everyone qualifies for a U.S. passport. There are some exceptions where someone cannot obtain a passport. For example, anyone who owes $2,500 or more in child support will be denied a U.S. passport. You may also be denied a U.S. passport for any of these reasons:

  • You were convicted of drug trafficking and you crossed an international border when committing the crime;
  • You’re currently subject to a federal arrest;
  • You’re subject to felony subpoena;
  • A court order, probation, or parole has forbidden you from leaving the country; or
  • You are on a supervised release program for a drug crime;

If you have satisfactorily completed your sentence and you were not convicted of drug trafficking, there is a very strong possibility that your U.S. passport application will be approved.

Will the Country Let You In?

While you may not have any trouble obtaining a U.S. passport, the real issue may come down to the country you’re traveling to. You see, not all countries let criminals in. Canada, for example, won’t let people with DUI records in their country, even misdemeanor DUIs. So, while the United States may not bar you from leaving the country with a felony conviction, certain countries may stop you at the gates and send you straight back home.

If you want to travel abroad with a felony record, our advice is to contact your destination country and make sure they won’t bar you from entering. To learn more, we recommend reading “Travel Restrictions for Convicted Felons.”