After release from prison and completing their terms of probation, felons are allowed to travel freely throughout the U.S. This is not the case when wanting to travel to another country.
This blog post will cover whether felons are allowed to travel to Cancun.
- Restrictions on Foreign Travel
- Why Cancun?
- Entering Mexico
- Encouraging Felons to Travel to Cancun
Restrictions on Foreign Travel
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.
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.
For those felons who already have a passport but who fall under these guidelines, they can have their passport revoked or restricted.
Any felon who applies for and receives a passport with any of these restrictions but who lies about them on the application, can also lose their passport.
Other than that felons may legally leave the U.S.
Guidelines for entering another country are the subject of the visa required by each foreign country.
Cancun is a small, barrier island in southeastern Mexico. It has beautiful, sandy beaches, warm water, and balmy weather.
Cancun is considered to be one of the most affordable vacations in the Western Hemisphere with thousands traveling there annually.
Felons are people too and may want to visit a wonderful travel spot with their family. In fact, during earlier, more peaceful times, they may have gone to Cancun with their family.
Current regulations state that in order to enter Mexico, a passport is required.
Many felons have served that typical long prison sentence. For those who were free prior to 2004 and recall entering Mexico legally without a passport, their memory serves them correctly.
The events of 9/11 signaled a major change in relationships between the U.S. and other countries.
In an effort to strengthen border security and facilitate entry to this country for U.S. citizens and legitimate foreign visitors, the U.S. instituted the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.
With this, all citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda are required to present a passport or other acceptable document to verify their identity and nationality to enter or leave the U.S. from within the Western Hemisphere.
All American citizens are required to have a valid U.S. passport when flying to Mexico in order to have the appropriate document upon returning to U.S. soil.
The U.S. State Department requires U.S. citizens to show a passport when returning to the U.S. by air.
For those driving into Mexico, a valid passport is necessary for entry even though documents may not be checked by border personnel upon entry.
It is still essential to have that passport because there are frequently immigration checkpoints set up at intervals along the roads in Mexico to maintain vehicle and document inspections.
At these areas, valid travel documents and an entry permit is required, which can be obtained at immigration checkpoints along the road.
When traveling to Mexico on a closed loop cruise, technically a passport is not required. A closed loop cruise is one which originates from and terminates in the same American port city.
However, if a cruise stops in a foreign port either as part of the itinerary or because of an emergency, officials in that foreign port typically ask to see passengers’ passports. It would become a potential legal issue for felons not to have a passport with them.
If felons have a valid passport in their possession upon entering Mexico, their criminal record will not be an issue. Border officials in Mexico do not have access to U.S. criminal databases.
Those who do not have such a document can be detained, often resulting in missed flights or other return arrangements.
This is especially troublesome for felons who can expect legal problems if they are held for such a reason.
Being able to enter Mexico may not be problematic, but once detained, the issue of felons’ criminal history can play a factor in their being held, which may necessitate legal counsel.
Of course it is important for anyone visiting Cancun to stay out of trouble and avoid legal problems. This is especially true for felons.
Already having a conviction record, further legal difficulties could easily result in being required to leave the country, have their passport revoked, and face additional legal consequences upon returning to the U.S. Getting into any type of legal difficulties in Cancun will require expert legal assistance.
Supporting Felons Traveling to Cancun
Families of felons who visit Cancun can be helpful to those felons by encouraging them to travel outside the country for a sense of peace and relaxation.
Once the decision has been made to travel to Cancun, 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 more scrutiny.
Remind them of their commitment to live an honest life and how legal difficulties while in Cancun will only defeat their efforts to live that life and may result in their returning to prison.
So what do you think about this blog post about whether felons can travel to Cancun? Have you or someone you know traveled to Cancun after a felony conviction? What was that experience like? Please tell us in the comments below.