Being charged with any type of crime can have a lasting impact on your life. However, when it comes to being convicted of a felony, the consequences can be even more extensive and far-reaching.
The effects can linger long after you have fulfilled the court-imposed penalties. Beyond just a prison sentence and/or probation, a felony conviction can have severe implications on your fundamental rights, such as the ability to vote or even travel freely.
In certain situations, individuals may face obstacles in obtaining a passport if they have a felony conviction on their record.
Can a Person Obtain a Passport With a Felony Conviction?
Despite being a serious offense, an individual with a felony is ultimately eligible for bail. This means that individuals with felony convictions are still able to travel locally and internationally, both within and outside the United States. As a passport holder, you can travel to any other country.
There are certain circumstances under which individuals with felony convictions may still be eligible to obtain or renew a passport, even if they have been imprisoned or convicted. These include:
- Completion of the sentence
- Legal release or acquittal of the convicted or accused individual
- Absence of outstanding charges, arrest warrants, or debts owed by the accused
- Forfeiture of a $5,000 court bond by the felon
- Proven false felony charges against the accused
In such cases, individuals with felony charges can still obtain or renew a passport, allowing them to travel internationally as per the defined conditions.
What Type of Convictions Disqualify You From Getting a Passport?
The felony criminal classification encompasses a diverse range of offenses, each with its own set of potential penalties upon conviction. While not all felony convictions automatically disqualify individuals from obtaining a passport, there are specific offenses that can significantly hinder or even render the process of obtaining a passport extremely challenging.
For instance, felony drug convictions at both federal and state levels that involve activities crossing international borders may lead to passport disqualification. Additionally, individuals with felony convictions related to financial fraud or human trafficking will also face disqualification from obtaining a passport.
Other felony convictions that may disqualify you from obtaining a passport include:
- Animal cruelty
- Child pornography
- Sexual Assault
Additional Factors That Could Prevent Your Getting a Passport
There are additional factors beyond felony convictions that can hinder an individual from obtaining a passport. For instance, individuals with outstanding federal taxes or federal loans may face restrictions on their passport availability. Similarly, delinquent child and/or spousal support obligations can lead to passport revocation or hinder individuals from applying for one altogether.
Countries That Prohibit Entry of Individuals with Felony Convictions
Having a passport alone may not always guarantee entry into other countries, especially for individuals with a felony conviction on their record. Many countries consider felonies to be serious crimes and, as a result, have specific regulations for dealing with felons. These rules can also impact a felon’s ability to obtain a passport or visa.
For example, a UK traveler trying to visit Australia may be ineligible to apply for a visa due to a minor criminal offense being treated as a regular offense in Australia.
Most countries do not approve visa applications for felons, and there exists an extensive list of countries that prohibit entry for individuals with a felony conviction. In accordance with the latest international immigration policies defined by governments, the following countries may refuse entry to individuals with felony charges:
- United Kingdom
- United States
- Saudi Arabia
- Gulf Countries
- New Zealand
- South Africa
Traveling outside one’s home country can be an enriching and fulfilling experience for many individuals. However, individuals with felony convictions may encounter limitations on their ability to travel internationally.
This not only applies to the restrictions imposed by the country of origin or residence, such as the United States or another relevant nation, but also to the potential barriers and limitations imposed by the foreign government at the destination. In some cases, individuals with felony charges may find themselves facing restrictions that could affect their travel plans and opportunities to explore the world beyond their immediate surroundings.