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 Spain.
- Travel Restrictions
- Why Spain?
- Traveling to Spain
- Requirements to Enter Spain
- Encouraging a Felon to Travel to Spain
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 Spain? 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 Spain is no exception.
Spain is a popular destination for tourists from the U.S. for a number of reasons.
This nation is part of Europe with a beautiful Mediterranean coast with rugged mountains close by. In fact, Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe after Switzerland.
Spain is home to delicious food and the longest-running restaurant in the world. There are Egyptian temples, Roman ruins, and old palaces. Bullfights are extremely popular.
Traveling to Spain
Flying to Spain shouldn’t pose a problem for felons.
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 a popular means of travel to Spain.
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.
Requirements to Enter Spain
Spain is a member of what is called 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.
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 Spain 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 Spain states that they must have at least six valid months remaining on their passport when entering the country.
Those U.S. citizens who stay in the country less than 90 days need to have only a passport, since Spain 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 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 Spain 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 Spain
Families of felons who visit Spain 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 Spain, 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 Spain 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 Spain? 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.