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Travelling with a criminal history

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Travelling with a criminal history

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Traveling with a criminal history

There are not very much information on traveling with a criminal history, for reasons unknown. However for many countries the information can be found on the relevant country's immigration agency website, or by searching relevant laws. Many countries does not welcome criminals for obvious reason, however the amount of criminal history it takes to be refused entry into a country (or how long since your last convictions) varies from country to country. For some countries, particularly North America, even a minor criminal conviction 50 years ago can cause you to be refused entry, while others would require a conviction for a violent or serious crime to be refused entry. This page also lists ways (if known) to beat an entry bar due to criminal history.

In general it is very difficult if not impossible to travel to any country if you have a violent or repeated criminal conviction in the past, or if the conviction is very recent. In fact it is likely your own country may prohibit you from leaving your country if you have serious criminal histories, however in general they are not concerned about petty offenses. If you are on probation or parole you must follow the travel policies set by your probation officer to the letter, leaving the country (or even your county) without permission will result in a violation. Generally offenses committed in the destination country counts more than offenses committed outside of their country.

If you are asked about your criminal convictions, you must (and generally should) answer truthfully. Any false statements could result in a lengthy or permanent bar to that country, particularly the USA or Canada. Other countries like the UK and its former colonies have a concept of "spent" convictions that does not have to be declared once the condition for "spent convictions" are met, and that's about the only time one can get away with not answering truthfully.


The United States of America is generally very strict with criminal records, no matter how minor or how long ago it has been. They do not have any concept of "spent" or "pardoned" convictions, meaning you must truthfully answer any questions about criminal convictions even if your convictions have been spent or pardoned in your country.