When a person has a criminal record, it makes international travel very difficult for the individual. And because most countries try to protect their citizens from outside criminal activities, they have stringent laws about who can and who cannot enter their countries.
Hence, if a person has a criminal record, they will not be allowed to enter most countries where they must obtain a visa beforehand. This article will give the complete list of countries you cannot visit with a criminal record in 2023.
Complete list of countries you cannot visit with a criminal record in 2023
Here is a complete list of countries that you cannot visit with a criminal record in 2023:
- South Africa
- New Zealand
- ·United Kingdom
- United States
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Countries that a convicted felon can visit
A convicted felon can visit the following countries :
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- Dominican Republic
- United Arab Emirates
Please remember that the countries listed above will not ask you to show your criminal history beforehand but still have active laws which do not allow felons to enter the country. This means that while you do not have to show proof of your criminal history, you will be refused entry if your history is found.
Is it possible to visit Europe with a criminal record?
A person with visa-free access to Europe’s Schengen Zone can enter even with a criminal record. But if you do not have visa-free access, you may be asked to show your criminal history during the visa application process. But yet, you can usually visit any nation in Europe if you have a criminal history and
- You were not arrested for crimes related to drug smuggling or human trafficking, and
- Your conviction does not go beyond three years.
However, once ETIAS is launched by November 2023, going to countries in Europe with a criminal history will become more complex. Because ETIAS will run background checks for every person who wants to visit the Schengen Area, and without receiving an entry authorization, you will not be allowed to visit member countries.
Can a person with a criminal record be allowed to enter Canada?
Anyone with a criminal conviction is usually not allowed to enter Canada. But, they may gain entry if they apply for rehabilitation, and if they are granted this waiver, they can enter Canada despite their criminal history. But, waivers are not granted in severe crimes like human trafficking.
Can a person with a criminal record visit the US?
An individual with a criminal record is not allowed to visit the US. And thus, you may be eligible for special entry permission. Although sometimes there are exceptions, like, if you have been convicted of only one crime with a sentence of not more than one year, this is considered a “sentencing exception.”
What is seen as a Felony When It Comes to Travelling?
Felonies that can stop you from traveling are serious crimes such as:
- Rape/sexual assault
- Manslaughter (unintentional killing)
- Animal cruelty
- Child pornography
- Tax evasion
- Human trafficking
- Manufacturing and selling drugs
- Other serious crimes
But there are minor misdemeanors that might be overlooked when you want to make an international trip, and they include:
- Public intoxication
- Reckless driving
- Possession of Marijuana (Personal use)
- Petty theft
- Disorderly conduct
- Indecent exposure
Can someone Travel If the person was acquitted?
In this case, a few countries may be allowed someone to enter if they were only accused of a crime but not legally convicted or prosecuted. However, this differs from country to country, so check with a local consulate or embassy before leaving the country.
What if, in the case of an emergency, a person with a criminal record must travel?
An individual with a criminal record can travel in an emergency. Some countries like the US and Canada can issue waivers allowing you to travel. But these waivers are only issued in emergencies and for humanitarian reasons and are challenging to obtain. And also, if you do get this permission, you are allowed to visit the country only once.
There are things to keep in mind when traveling with a criminal record, and these include
1. Check out things before traveling
Before you travel, you should check with the country you are visiting to see their immigration laws. That will help you to know what is a serious crime and what crimes may be overlooked, thus allowing you to know if you can visit the country.
2. Be honest
If you must disclose your record, please be fully honest, even if you think your crime is minor. You may face severe consequences if you lie during your visa application or at the border.
3. Be patient
If you travel with a criminal record, just be prepared to wait longer at the border patrol. Even when you have a waiver allowing you to enter, border patrol officers will review everything carefully before deciding whether to let you enter. In this case, you must be patient and wait while they process your case.
It would be good if you remembered that each country regulates the definition of “serious ” and “less serious” crimes.
And as a result, what is considered a minor misdemeanor in one country can be considered a felony in another, and you might still be denied entry.
In addition, it is also important to remember that time is essential in deciding whether your criminal record affects your travel.
Because some countries consider the crime non-existent if enough time, like 10 or 15 years, has passed since you committed the crime, and you have not been convicted of other offenses till then.
But on the other hand, certain countries do not care how much time has passed; you will not be allowed to visit with a criminal history.
Hence, it is always essential you check with an embassy or consulate of the country you want to visit and see their immigration laws in case you have a criminal record of understanding the entry requirements.