Many felons can recall having the desire to travel back when life was different and simpler, before their felony conviction.
They may have dreamed of traveling abroad before their conviction, and for some this may have been a reality.
This blog post will address the question of whether a felon can travel to Europe.
- Travel Restrictions
- Why Europe?
- Requirements to Enter Europe
- Encouraging a Felon to Travel to Europe
Upon release, felons must complete the terms of their sentence, which typically involves being on probation, reporting to their probation officer in person or checking in online monthly.
During the probation period, felons are restricted from leaving the district in which they reside without permission from their probation officer.
Of course, travel outside the U.S. is out of the question until the conditions of probation have been satisfied entirely.
Once this is accomplished, travel beyond the U.S. border is possible.
There is the question of obtaining a passport, which is a form of identification from the federal government allowing international travel. Felons are able to obtain a passport.
Being convicted of drug trafficking or a crime of treason against the U.S. may prevent felons from being able to obtain a passport, as well as for anyone owing at least a certain amount of child support.
Having current legal charges pending can also prevent having a passport. This is because leaving the country will be interpreted as an unlawful attempt to avoid prosecution, which is itself a federal crime.
Traveling to another country with a passport is very possible.
Why would felons want to visit Europe? 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 Europe is no exception.
Europe is a popular destination for thousands of tourists from the U.S. each year for a number of reasons.
There is a wide variety of architecture, landscapes, historical landmarks, and climates. It is home to Impressionist art, the Catholic Church, and classical music.
There are many scenic areas with mountains, beautiful countryside, and coastal areas. There is an extensive railway system connecting almost all countries to each other, making travel between countries easy.
There is a wide variety of delicious foods for all tastes among the European nations. Many felons’ families originated in one of the European nations.
Requirements to Enter Europe
Europe is the smallest of the continents and has 27 countries in the European Union, which is an association of European nations that have joined together to promote peace and prosperity.
Of those countries in the European Union all but a few are considered to be in the Schengen area.
The area of Europe considered to be a part of the Schengen territory consists of 26 nations, which combine to operate with one external border as part of the agreement.
When entering the Schengen area, travelers must present their passport to obtain an entry stamp. At that time, immigration officials will decide if travelers are qualified to enter the area.
Those tourists who are U.S. citizens and who have been within the Schengen area for less than three months may enter without a visa.
If allowed entry, all U.S. tourists, including felons, may travel freely from one Schengen area country to another without having to show their passport.
They do not have to present their passport to be stamped again until they leave the Schengen area.
All U.S. citizens may enter the Schengen area for a period of up to 90 days for personal or business reasons without a visa and travel into any of the 26 countries that participate in the Schengen Agreement.
The law states that they must have at least six valid months remaining on their passport when entering a country.
Those U.S. citizens who stay in the country less than 90 days need to have only a passport, since most of Europe participates in the Schengen Agreement.
Any stay by a U.S. citizen of more than 90 days will require a visa, which must be obtained prior to departing form the U.S.
Felons would do best if they plan their stay in Europe to be limited to less than 90 days in order to not have to be subjected to having their criminal record checked.
For felons especially, their conduct while in Europe 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 Europe as planned.
Encouraging a Felon to Travel to Europe
Families of felons who visit Europe 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 Europe, 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 Europe 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 Europe? Have you or someone you know been through this experience? What was that like and were they successful? Please tell us in the comments below.