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 Finland.
- Travel Restrictions
- Why Finland?
- Traveling to Finland
- Requirements to Enter Finland
- Encouraging a Felon to Travel to Finland
Upon release, felons must complete the terms of their sentence, including probation.
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.
They must obtain a passport, 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.
Why would felons want to visit Finland? 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 Finland is no exception.
Finland is a popular destination for tourists from the U.S. for a number of reasons.
Finland is one of the five Nordic countries and the northern most nation in the European Union.
Finland is bordered by Sweden, Norway, and Russia. The land is wide open as Finland is a very sparsely-populated country.
The weather is warmer than most people think with mild winters and summers. There are mountains to climb. Finland has the most lakes of any country in the world and the most cell phones per capita.
The business language there is English, and the nation is virtually crime free. That makes it a great place for felons to visit, allowing them to avoid crime and temptations.
Finland is also the country of origin of many felons’ families.
Traveling to Finland
The only restriction for them flying would be if they have a felony warrant outstanding against them.
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 also a popular means of travel to Finland.
There are 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, although the requirements for a closed loop cruise are less restrictive than for open loop cruises.
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. Since they are traveling to a foreign country, a passport is recommended for either type of cruise for felons, since they are traveling to a foreign country.
Requirements to Enter Finland
Finland is a member of the Schengen Agreement enacted in 1985.
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.
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.
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 Finland 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 in Finland states that they must have at least six valid months remaining on their passport when entering the country.
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 the country 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 Finland 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.
Encouraging a Felon to Travel to Finland
Families of felons who visit Finland 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 Finland, 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 Finland 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 Finland? Have you or someone you know traveled to Finland with a felony? What was that like, and were they successful? Please tell us in the comments below.