If you were previously convicted of a felony in Florida or another state and you want to travel abroad, you may be wondering if you can leave the United States as a convicted felon – a reasonable question indeed.
If a U.S. citizen with a felony record wishes to travel outside the United States, they won’t usually have any problem, however, if they have an outstanding warrant for a serious felony, they can face serious repercussions if they attempt to leave the U.S. because it looks like they’re trying to flee the country to avoid prosecution.
Can a Felon Get a Passport in the U.S.?
What about U.S. passports for felons? Can a convicted felon get a passport? Generally, yes, you can still get a passport as a felon. This is because passports are used as identification documents; they do not contain people’s criminal background information.
However, a convicted felon can be denied a U.S. passport if he or she:
- Was convicted of drug trafficking and they crossed an international boarder when they committed the crime;
- Is subject to a felony-related subpoena;
- Is subject to federal arrest;
- Owes more than $2,500 in child support (this applies to everyone, not just convicts);
- Is forbidden by probation, parole, or a court order to leave the U.S.; or
- Is imprisoned or under a supervised release program for felony drug charges relating to distributing a controlled substance.
International Travel As a Convicted Felon
Even if you have no problem obtaining a U.S. passport, that doesn’t mean the country you would like to visit will let you in.
Our advice is to do your research before you book a flight. You can contact the U.S. State Department to find out if the country you’d like to visit will issue you a visa as a convicted felon. Canada, for example, is one country that won’t let foreign travelers visit with a DUI on their record, even a misdemeanor DUI.
Can I Travel Outside the U.S. if My Criminal Record is Expunged?
This is a question that comes up frequently. If someone’s record was expunged or sealed, it would not prevent their criminal record from being seen by a government agency. While an expungement keeps employers and the general public from seeing a criminal record, the record still shows up when the individual is traveling outside the United States.