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Can I Travel Abroad as a Convicted Felon?

Serving Families Throughout Jacksonville

Suppose you were previously convicted of a felony in Florida or another state and want to travel abroad. In that case, you may wonder if you can leave the United States as a convicted felon – a reasonable question.

If a U.S. citizen with a felony record wishes to travel outside the United States, they won’t usually have any problem. However, suppose they have an outstanding warrant for a serious felony. In that case, they can face severe 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 border 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 controlled substance distribution.

International Travel As a Convicted Felon

Even if you have no problem obtaining a U.S. passport, that doesn’t mean the country you want 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 were 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 travels outside the United States.