Want to get away? What about going abroad? How about a trip to warm and sunny Jamaica?
Can a felon travel to Jamaica? Let’s take a look and see.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the following:
- Travel Restrictions
- Getting a Passport
- Is a Visa Required?
- Entering Jamaica
- Steps to Take
So, can you travel after your release from prison? Your probation officer will be the first to tell you that you can’t.
You have to finish all parts of your sentence, including probation, reporting to your probation officer, most likely monthly online, before you can even consider traveling.
That means any type of travel, not just out of the country. While you are on probation, you can’t leave the district where you reside without your probation officer’s permission. The probation officer wants to keep a close eye on you at all times. So of course, if you can’t travel locally, you can’t consider leaving the country on a trip.
Of course, travel outside the U.S. is out of the question until the conditions of probation have been satisfied entirely. After that, a trip beyond the U.S. border is possible.
Getting a Passport
For that overseas trip to Jamaica, you must start by having a passport. It’s the law.
You might think that getting a passport is difficult, but that isn’t necessarily so.
A passport is not permission to leave the country. It’s a form of identification, something like a driver’s license is in the U.S., but a passport allows you to travel internationally. It identifies you as a citizen of the U.S.
But can you get a passport? Yes, you can.
There are some restrictions placed on felons who want to get a passport. First, you must have completed all parts of your sentence, including probation.
A critical factor that can prevent you from getting a passport is having a felony drug trafficking conviction. The government doesn’t want to grant a passport to anyone who has been involved in possibly smuggling drugs into or out of the country. Basically, the federal government doesn’t want to give anyone who could be a flight from having a passport which would help facilitate their running.
Not only felony drug offenses but also many misdemeanor drug convictions could keep you from qualifying for a passport.
Also, having an outstanding warrant will keep you from qualifying.
In addition to these, there are several other circumstances that will likely disqualify you. If you have outstanding child support or other form of financial debt to the government, you will not be granted a passport.
To apply for a passport, you must begin by completing Form DS-11, which is the application for a U.S. passport.
After this you must present proof of your citizenship. For most people, it would be your birth certificate that shows your full name, city, and state of birth along with your parents’ names.
Is a Visa Required?
Ok, if you have made it this far you can legally leave the country to travel abroad. That’s all well and good, but you might have to have a visa.
While a passport is a form of ID issued by the U.S. that allows you to leave the country, a visa is a document that allows you to enter a particular country. A visa comes from the country you want to visit.
Each country sets its own standards for who is allowed to cross their border. For most countries, a visa may be required, depending on the purpose of the trip and the intended length of stay.
Some countries require a visa, some don’t, and some require one depending on how long you stay.
You can most get a visa application from the embassy or website of the country you want to visit.
As a note, a visa application usually doesn’t have questions about a criminal record. So, this part might not be so difficult either.
Let’s take a look at Jamaica to see what their visa requirements are. Jamaica has several expectations that all U.S. citizens must meet in order to gain entry.
First, the law in Jamaica states that U.S. citizens entering the country 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 financial means of paying for their stay while in Jamaica.
They also “should not be of unsound mind,” according to the Jamaican embassy. They must not have any health issues that would be flagged by Jamaican officials.
Another restriction according to the National Security Minister of Jamaica is to have no criminal record in another country for an offense that could result in extradition.
Typically, this means not having a serious felony that has not been resolved legally and for which there may be an outstanding warrant. If you have already served your sentence, this shouldn’t pose a problem.
If you meet all of these requirements, you don’t have to have a visa to enter Jamaica on business or for vacation whether you are a felon or not as long as you don’t stay more than 90 days on a visit.
Typically, anyone who wants to stay in Jamaica longer than 180 days in a calendar year, or who seeks to work or study, will have to obtain permission from the Jamaican embassy before being allowed in again.
Anyone who wants to stay in the country longer than six months without a work or student visa will be required to register as a resident alien.
So for the purposes of taking a trip to Jamaica you should be all right to enter and stay for a reasonable amount of time.
Steps to Take
After all of that, if you have a passport and since you don’t need a visa, you are free to go to Jamaica. That trip might be on. You will be able to bask in the sun and enjoy the sand and sun in Jamaica.
However, it is important to watch your step if you travel abroad to Jamaica. Just being in a foreign country will draw attention to yourself.
You will want to be on guard and make sure that you obey all laws while you are there. As a U.S. citizen, you will stand out as different from the general population in Jamaica.
Be prepared to be observed as you travel about. Be ready at the first sign of trouble to contact an attorney for legal assistance. You don’t want to enter the Jamaican legal system. After all, you had more than enough difficulties here.
Don’t become a statistic in Jamaica. Travel safely and be able to return to the U.S. after your trip. You will be glad you did. Being able to travel to Jamaica is another step in your road to living an honest life.
You have made mistakes, but you don’t have to be defined by them. You are defined by how you recover from those mistakes.
So what do you think about this blog post about how a felon can travel to Jamaica? Have you or someone you know wanted to travel to Jamaica with a felony? What was that like and what happened? Please tell us in the comments below.