After release from prison and completing their terms of probation, felons are of course allowed to travel freely throughout the U.S. Such is not the case when wanting to travel beyond this country’s borders.
This blog post will cover whether felons are allowed to travel to Jamaica.
- Traveling to a Foreign Country
- Requirements to Enter Jamaica
- Legal Difficulties While in Jamaica
- Encouraging Felons to Travel to Jamaica
Traveling to a Foreign Country
Traveling abroad after a felony conviction is an interesting question, as there is no set standard for restrictions on felons wanting to visit a foreign country.
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.
Canada is heavily invested in protecting its citizens from anyone considered to be an undesirable, namely anyone with a criminal record.
Canada’s laws often come with severe penalties for its citizens in in terms of a prison sentence. This has led them to be very strict with those, especially felons from other countries, particularly the U.S.
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.
Another previous blog post addressed the issue of whether felons could obtain a passport, allowing them to travel outside the U.S.
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.
Requirements to Enter Jamaica
Jamaica has several requirements all U.S. citizens must meet in order to gain entry. First, Jamaican law stipulates that they must have at least six valid months remaining on their passport when entering the country.
Those coming into the country must have a return ticket to the U.S. and demonstrate the means of paying for their stay in Jamaica. They also “should not be of unsound mind”, according to the Jamaican embassy.
They must not have been flagged against entry for health reasons by Jamaican officials. Another restriction from the National Security Minister is to not have a criminal record in another country for an offense which could result in extradition.
If all of these requirements are met, U.S. citizens, whether they are felons or not, are not required to have a visa for entry to Jamaica on business or for vacation.
The length of time for being allowed to remain in the country is up to Jamaican immigration authorities. Those wanting to stay in Jamaica longer than 180 days in a calendar year, or seeking to work or study, will have to obtain permission from an embassy before being allowed in again.
Anyone who wants to stay in the country longer than six months without work or student visas will be required to register as resident aliens.
Legal Difficulties While in Jamaica
Of course it is important for anyone visiting Jamaica 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 legal difficulties in Jamaica will require expert legal assistance.
Encouraging Felons to Travel to Jamaica
Families of felons who visit Jamaica 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 Jamaica, be supportive of their making the trip.
It is important to remind them that as a traveler to a foreign country, even if there are no restrictions, 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 Jamaica will only defeat their efforts to live an honest, productive life and may result in returning to prison.