Can a Felon Travel to Punta Cana?

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Remember the day when life was more carefree, before that felony conviction?

Felons may be able to recall having taken a trip to the beach, any beach.  That was an awesome experience!

Now that their incarceration has ended, they may once again give thought to a trip to the beach. In the past, that vacation could have been to Punta Cana.

What about now?

This blog post will cover the issue of whether felons can travel to Punta Cana.

  • Travel Restrictions
  • Why Punta Cana?
  • Traveling to Punta Cana
  • Entering Punta Cana
  • Supporting a Felon Traveling to Punta Cana

Travel Restrictions

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 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 Punta Cana?

Why would felons want to visit Punta Cana?  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 Punta Cana is no exception.

Punta Cana is a popular destination for tourists from the U.S. for a number of reasons.

Punta Cana is in the Dominican Republic, forming the eastern edge of this country.  Actually, Punta Cana is a small village near the airport in the Dominican Republic.

Punta Cana is a land with beautiful beaches, year-round sunshine, and is famous for its snorkeling.

National parks are located in this region with great hiking, jungle-like terrain, and many species of birds and plants.  There are untouched mangrove forests and old cave drawings.

Traveling to Punta Cana

Felons can travel to Punta Cana by flying or on a cruise.

The main difficulty for them flying would be if they have a felony warrant outstanding against them.  They would be prevented from flying then.

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 Punta Cana.

There are basically 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.

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.

Entering Punta Cana

Current regulations state that in order to enter Punta Cana, a passport is required with at least six valid months remaining on it.

They must provide evidence that they have a round trip ticket in order to leave Punta Cana and must purchase a tourist card upon their arrival.

Those U.S. citizens who stay in the country less than 60 days need to have only a passport.  No visa is required.

Any stay by a U.S. citizen of more than 60 days will require a visa, which must be obtained prior to departing from the U.S.

If you’re in a hurry to get your visa or want someone to walk you through the process, we recommend you use this website to help.

Felons would do best if they plan their stay in the Dominican Republic to be limited to less than 60 days in order to not have to be subjected to having their criminal record checked.

For felons especially, their conduct while in Punta Cana 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.

Supporting a Felon Traveling to Punta Cana

Families of felons who visit Punta Cana 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 Punta Cana, 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 the Dominican Republic 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 Punta Cana?  Have you or someone you know traveled to Punta Cana with a felony?  What was that like and were they successful?   Please tell us in the comments below.

About the author

After earning his MBA from Benedictine University, Ron was looking for a new challenge and stumbled on the idea of helping the formerly incarcerated.

Using what he learned, Ron developed this website as a free resource and has worked with his team​ to continue answering questions for those in need.

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