Remember the day when life was more carefree, before that felony conviction?
Felons may be able to recall having taken a trip to a beautiful tropical location. If so, that was an awesome experience!
Now that their incarceration has ended, they may once again give thought to a trip to the tropics. In the past, that vacation could have been to Belize.
What about now?
This blog post will cover the issue of whether felons can travel to Belize.
- Travel Restrictions
- Why Belize?
- Traveling to Belize
- Entering the Country
- Supporting a Felon Traveling to Belize
Traveling outside the U.S. to another country after a felony conviction is an interesting question. There is no set standard for restrictions on felons wanting to visit a foreign country. It depends on the country they want to visit.
For example, when wanting to travel to Canada, the Canadian laws state that anyone with a criminal conviction of any type, felony or misdemeanor, cannot travel freely across the border.
To attempt to do so will result in being turned back at the border.
This doesn’t mean that all countries are as restrictive as Canada. Each country is different in their restrictions placed on felons desiring to enter their country.
A passport is required for travel outside the U.S. Felons are able to get a passport with certain exceptions.
Those convicted of a drug related felony who crossed the U.S. border in committing the crime, are subject to federal arrest, or are restricted from leaving the country as part of their sentence or probation cannot obtain a passport.
Felons who have an outstanding warrant, are considered a flight risk, or are viewed as a danger to themselves or others in any country to which they may be traveling also cannot get a passport.
Other than that felons may legally leave the U.S.
Why would felons want to visit Belize? Well, for the same reasons anyone wants to travel there.
Felons may have served time in prison, but they have the same interests as any other U.S. citizen. Traveling to Belize is no exception.
Belize is a popular destination for tourists from the U.S. for a number of reasons.
Belize is a small country between Mexico and Guatemala. It is a Central American nation that is the center of the Mayan civilization. The nation contains green rain forests, the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, tropical weather, wonderful beaches, and snorkeling.
Belize is the only Central American country with English as the official language.
Traveling to Belize
Felons can travel to Belize by driving, flying, or on a cruise.
When driving to Belize from Mexico or Guatemala, a temporary importation permit must be obtained at the point of entry. This vehicle permit is good for 30 days.
The only difficulty for them flying would be if they have a felony warrant outstanding against them. They would be prevented from flying then.
The other possible issue would be if their name is on what is called the no-fly list maintained by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for those suspected of being terrorists. There are about 3500 names on this list at any time.
So, felons are probably OK for flying.
Going on a cruise is a popular means of travel to Belize.
There are basically two types of cruises, closed loop and open loop. A closed loop cruise is one that starts and ends in the same U.S. port while an open loop cruise has different starting and final port city locations.
Felons may sail on either type of cruise.
U.S. citizens going on a closed loop cruise can depart and enter the U.S. with only proof of citizenship. This proof consists of an original or copy of a birth certificate and a government issued photo ID.
Open loop cruises require a passport, regardless of the starting or destination port.
Entering the Country
Current regulations state that in order to enter Belize, a passport is required with at least three valid months remaining on it.
They must provide evidence that they have enough money to cover their stay and a round trip ticket in order to leave Belize.
Those U.S. citizens who stay in the country less than 30 days need to have only a passport. No visa is required.
Any stay by a U.S. citizen of more than 30 days will require an application to the Immigration Department.
Felons would do best if they plan their stay in the country to be limited to less than 30 days in order to not have to be subjected to having their criminal record checked.
For felons especially, their conduct while in Belize is critical. Of course they will want to stay out of legal difficulties.
This would obviously result in significant problems for felons who may find it extremely difficult to gain their release. For those felons ending up in jail, good legal counsel will be necessary.
It is best to strictly obey all laws and be able to leave the country as planned.
Supporting a Felon Traveling to Belize
Families of felons who visit Belize can be helpful to those felons by encouraging them to travel outside the country for a sense of peace and relaxation.
Traveling is a great way for felons to re-connect with their families again.
Once the decision has been made to travel to Belize, be supportive of their making the trip.
It is important to remind them that as a traveler to a foreign country, just being there as an American will bring them under scrutiny. Add to that their felon status, and staying out of trouble becomes even more important.
For this reason and others, they must obey the laws and not draw the attention of the legal authorities to themselves.
Remind them of their commitment to live an honest life and how legal difficulties while in Belize will only defeat these efforts and may result in returning to prison.
Approximately 69% of those released from prison return within the first two years. Don’t let them be one of those statistics.
So what do you think about this blog post about how a felon can travel to Belize? Have you or someone you know traveled to Belize with a felony? What was that like and were they successful? Please tell us in the comments below.