Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team
Travel can more often than not broaden the mind. It can give you a new perspective on life. It can help you feel open and ready and willing to begin the next chapter of your life. However, travel can also be expensive. It can cost you a great deal of time and money to book a flight and to arrange where you are going to stay and for how long. If you are working as well it will require you to arrange the best travel times around your work and ensure that you don’t accidentally miss any work days.
The situation can be even worse if you aren’t sure whether you can leave the country or not. If you can’t be certain that you can leave the country of your birth without fear of being denied exit or potentially denied re-entry. This is the sad reality that many convicted felons face in the USA – the worry that you won’t be able to come back to America or even leave the country if you want to.
Questions like can felons leave the country and what issues do felons face when travelling can be a one that can way on anyone. You have done your time; you have paid your debt to society so can you truly be barred from going on holiday? This piece will explain exactly what you can do in relation to travel and answer the question of whether a felon can leave the country or not.
Can Felons Leave the Country?
So, let’s look at the main question in hand – can felons leave the USA if they want to?
The simple answer is yes, generally speaking. There are however some exceptions, and it is worth exploring them all just in case they apply to you or a family member. One thing that must be clear is that if you are deciding on whether or not to go on a trip to speak to your probation officer about it, if you are still on probation from your felony, just to check that everything is fine and above board.
If your trip could potentially connect to your felony, then this may raise some red flags from the probation service, and they could have to have a discussion with your regarding the trip. Regardless of whether or not it does in any way connect to your felony or not, it is advised that you always check with your probation officer before booking a flight or deciding to go on a holiday.
If you aren’t on probation then there should be no difficulty with you using your passport to go on holiday. There are, however, some caveats to this. For example, if you have been convicted of treason, drug trafficking across international borders and or distribution of a controlled substance, then you will be denied a passport as the authorities will suspect that any international travel might be connected to your felony and risk potential reoffending.
Similarly, even if your felony conviction is not connected to any of the above listed crimes then you may still have difficulties with leaving the United States. Your passport application may be revoked by a court if you have been ordered to remain in the country. Similarly, a court may place restrictions on your passport even if it is granted, again if they believe that there may be circumstances relating to your case that might cause issues.
Furthermore, even if you do have a passport that is approved by the court then you may still find it difficult to travel abroad. This is because certain countries, such as Canada, place restrictions on those who can cross their boarders if they have been convicted of certain felonies. For example, if you have been convicted of drunk driving, theft, assault, murder or manslaughter then you will have denied entry into Canada and certain other countries.
This is why you should also check on the legal status of felons travelling to different countries because if you plan to travel to another country and find out that you cannot because of your felony conviction then this could seriously harm both your finances and your relationship with other people. This is, therefore, the reason that you should always make sure to check travel arrangements before you book a holiday.
Why Are There Travel Restrictions Related to Crimes?
Now that we’ve explored some of the potential pit falls that you might find from travelling abroad, lets examine why there are travel restrictions related to certain crimes in certain countries. The reasons are numerous however they boil down to two basic factors – the threat of crime and the threat of diplomatic incidents.
The major reason that those convicted of crimes such as drug trafficking are considered risks if they have active passports is the assumption that they will continue to commit crime either in other countries or that they will be involved in criminal activity both in the US and other nations relating to the supply and distribution of illegal substances.
Both the US and other countries don’t want to potentially spark further international incidents which is why the treat of diplomatic incidents is coupled with the threat of crime – if someone who has been convicted of a felony comes to another country and commits the same crime then both nations will face questions from their people meaning that it is important that those convicted of particularly severe felonies aren’t able to easily travel.
This may unfortunately apply to you and the presumption of potential reoffending is an unfortunate part of the US judicial system.
Why We Must Check Our Status to Help Ourselves
The restrictions on travel for those who have been convicted of felonies can at times but understandable frustrating for those who have served their debt to society and who simply want to get on with their lives.
This is why if you have been convicted of a felony and want to go on holiday you must make sure that you check all travel issues because it will not only help save your stress and frustration but could potentially save you time and money and well and stop you from feeling as if your conviction colors the rest of your life.