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Can I Travel Outside the U.S. with a Criminal Record?

traveling bag and passport

Many Americans decide to travel outside the United States, whether it’s for business or pleasure. After all, travel abroad is very popular and a lot of people jump at the chance to visit another country. If you’re interested in traveling abroad but you have a criminal background, you may be wondering if you can obtain a U.S. passport or if you’re allowed the leave the country with a criminal record.

Most convicted criminals, even felons, have no issues obtaining a U.S. passport, but anyone can be denied one if they owe $2,500 or more in child support. The reasons why convicted criminals don’t usually have issues obtaining passports is because they don’t provide information about people’s criminal backgrounds. Instead, they’re simply identification documents. However, if there is a warrant for your arrest, or if you’re on probation or parole, leaving the country could have serious consequences.

It’s not wise to leave the country when there’s an active warrant for your arrest or when you’re on probation or parole as this is viewed by the courts as “trying to flee” the country. If you’re awaiting trial, again, you want to stick around. Usually, it’s safe to obtain a U.S. passport and travel abroad once you have completed your sentence and all terms of your probation or parole. Until then, you want to stay put.

Traveling Abroad as a U.S. Citizen

Let’s say that you have paid all of your fines and satisfactorily completed your sentence. In this case, the government should have no problem letting you travel abroad. But while the U.S. should let you travel freely, you may still run into issues gaining entry into certain countries. Canada for example, frowns heavily upon DUIs.

If you have had a DUI conviction in the past 10 years, Canada’s border agents will probably not let you in. Even if you have a misdemeanor DUI without any aggravating factors, Canada may still bar you from entering. In light of the above, before you travel overseas or book a flight, you’ll want to check and make sure the country you wish to travel to will let you in.

If travel is important to you and you’re concerned that your pending charges could affect your ability to leave the U.S., contact Masella Law Firm, P.A. for legal representation.

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