Many felons recall wanting to travel before their felony conviction, when life was different and simpler.
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 Israel.
- Travel Restrictions
- Why Israel?
- Traveling to Israel
- Requirements to Enter Israel
- Encouraging a Felon to Travel to Israel
After their 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 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 a federal crime.
Why would felons want to visit Israel? 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 Israel is no exception.
There are many compelling reasons to visit Israel.
Israel is in Asia at the center of the Middle East and borders seven nations: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen, Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon.
Jerusalem is the capital and the holy city of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam religions.
The Dead Sea, Jordan River, and Galilee are major attractions. The number of museums and cultural centers per area is greater in Israel than anywhere else in the world.
There are beautiful, sandy beaches along its Mediterranean coast. The climate of Israel is warm and dry. The Negev Desert lies very close to major cities in Israel.
There are religious celebrations and festivals year-round.
Many felons’ families may have come from Israel.
Traveling to Israel
The only restriction for them flying to Israel 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 Israel.
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. Regardless of the type of cruise, having a passport is important for felons in case the ship docks at a foreign port on the route to India.
Requirements to Enter Israel
Israel has requirements all U.S. citizens, regardless of whether they are felons or not, must meet in order to gain entry.
First, the law in Israel states that they must have at least six valid months remaining on their passport when entering the country.
While no visa is required for travel to Israel for stays of 90 days or less, tourists arriving in Israel are given a visa good for 90 days upon entry to the country. For those staying in Israel longer than 90 days, a tourist visa is required, which must be applied for before the trip.
It is recommended for felons to limit their visit to a maximum of 90 days so that no background check will be required.
All travelers who want to enter Israel are subject to immigration and security screening and physical searches. Any U.S. citizen of Arab, Middle Eastern, or Muslim origin may face additional questioning by immigration and border authorities.
For felons especially, their conduct while in Israel 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, 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 Israel
Families of felons who visit India can be helpful to those felons by encouraging them to travel outside the country for a sense of peace and relaxation.
A trip to Israel can also be a great opportunity to re-connect with their family.
Once the decision has been made to travel to Israel, 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.
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 Israel 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 Israel? Have you or someone you know traveled to Israel with a felony? What was that like and were they successful? Please tell us in the comments below.