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Traveling Overseas with a Felony


If you were convicted of a felony, you’re probably well-aware that there is a definite stigma attached to being a felon. A felony conviction can affect gun rights, the right to vote, housing, educational, and employment opportunities for years to come. So, what about travel? If you’re a convicted felon, will it bar you from traveling overseas?

For starters, we want to make it clear that having a felony record does not bar someone from obtaining a U.S. passport. Why? Because U.S. passports are merely identification documents that show proof of citizenship; they do not provide information about someone’s criminal history. Even with a felony on your record, you should not have any trouble getting a U.S. passport, unless:

  • You owe $2,500 or more in child support. Anyone who owes $2,500 or more in child support will be denied a U.S. passport, felon or not.
  • You are a convicted drug trafficker who crosses an international border while committing the drug crime.
  • You are currently subject to a federal arrest or a subpoena for a felony.
  • You are on probation or parole and you have been ordered not to leave the United States.
  • You are currently on a supervised release program for a felony drug crime on the state or federal level.

The bottom line is that convicted felons should have no problem obtaining a U.S. passport unless there is a court order stating otherwise. However, just because you can obtain a passport, it doesn’t mean that every country will let you in. Canada for example is very strict about who it will allow into the country.

Travelers will be barred from entering Canada if they have an OVI (DUI) on their record, even if it’s for a misdemeanor! So, our advice is to check with the country you intend to travel to before you pay for your airfare, and make sure they don’t have any rules against letting convicted felons into their country.