Can a Criminal Conviction Restrict My Travel?
A criminal conviction can have widespread consequences. You probably realize the big ones like incarceration, probation, and fines. However, these are hardly the only penalties. Having a misdemeanor or felony conviction can impact your ability to rent an apartment, become licensed in certain professions, and travel abroad. Many other countries have limitations on who can visit, seek residency, or become a citizen. You may have to deal with restricted international travel due to a criminal record.
If you have a criminal record and you want to travel internationally or emigrate, contact us at Silver Law Firm. Call us today at (510) 995-0000.
Traveling Overseas With a Criminal Record
Your ability to travel internationally can be greatly restricted due to one or more criminal convictions. Depending on the offense, your passport may have been revoked. If you cannot obtain a passport, you cannot travel outside of the country. You must wait until your right to obtain a passport is reinstated and reapply for one. Even with a passport in hand, you will face other travel restrictions.
With a criminal record, you may not be approved for programs available through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other countries, such as TSA pre-check or Global Entry. Whenever you travel through an airport, you will have to go through the full security measures and you may be selected for additional screening.
Most other nations do not have access to the U.S. criminal database, which means they cannot quickly pull up your criminal background. Depending on their visa requirements, you may be able to fly there for a brief visit for work or vacation. However, if you must apply for a visa to work, study, or live in the other nation, then that country will discover your previous conviction and you may have to fight to overcome objections.
Canada’s Travel Restrictions
Law enforcement agents at the U.S.-Canada border, whether you are driving or flying into the country, can deny you entry for any type of conviction, including infractions and misdemeanor offenses like driving under the influence (DUI), petty theft, and disorderly conduct. This is known as being “criminally inadmissible.”
You may wonder “how will border patrol know?” Canada and the U.S. share criminal conviction information. When you arrive at the border with a passport, law enforcement agents can conduct a background check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC). If a conviction for a crime or even an arrest comes up, you can be denied entry.
Overcoming Canada’s Travel Restrictions
There are multiple ways to overcome being labeled criminally inadmissible and gain entry into Canada. If you have one non-serious offense on your record and you completed your punishment more than 10 years ago, you will be deemed rehabilitated. You will be able to enter Canada for work or fun without filling out any special paperwork. However, if your conviction was for a serious offense, you have more than one conviction, or it has been less than 10 years, then you must apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation.
If you completed your criminal sentences less than five years ago and you need to go to Canada, you must apply for a TRP. The Canadian government will review the number of offenses on your record, the nature of those offenses, the dates of conviction, and whether you have completed your punishments to determine if you should be granted a TRP. Your need to enter the country must be greater than the safety risk you pose to the Canadian public. Considering this standard, you are less likely to be approved if you were recently convicted of a violent crime, a weapons, or sex offense. However, evidence of your rehabilitation and clean record since your last conviction may overcome government concern. If you were convicted of a single non-violent crime, then you have a strong case for a TRP. Speak with an experienced attorney before applying for a TRP. A lawyer can help you apply and increase your chances of approval.
If you completed the terms of your most recent sentence between five and 10 years ago, you may apply for Criminal Rehabilitation. This is a more in-depth process than applying for a TRP, but it completely overcomes your criminal admissibility for the rest of your life. As long as you are not been convicted of another offense, you will be able to enter Canada for work or vacation the same as individuals without criminal records.
Let Our Attorneys Help You
If you have a criminal record and you are interested in travelling to Canada or another foreign country, contact us at Silver Law Firm. We will review your record and then advise you on your options. Call us today at (510) 995-0000.