When travelling to Europe, few restrictions are placed on ex-offenders. Pre-trip preparation is the hardest part of any international travel. A passport is required for all visitors to enter Europe. In addition to a passport, a travel visa is required by citizens of some countries for entry. When the required paperwork is processed, an ex-offender's entry into Europe could be denied.
Obtaining A Passport
You need a valid passport to enter Europe. Unless your sentencing guidelines stipulate you cannot leave the country, ex-offenders successfully apply for and are issued passports in their home country. A passport verifies the citizenship of an individual. Limited circumstances exist where a person would be denied a passport. Being found guilty of crimes against your country, terrorist activity or being convicted of a financial crime like tax evasion are common reasons for passport denial.
Another requirement for citizens of some countries to enter Europe is a travel visa. Submitting a visa application is asking the government of that country for permission to visit. Countries have strong relationships with other countries. This allows citizens of those friendly countries to travel without the added hassle of applying for a visa. Visitors from other countries fill out paperwork stating where they are staying, how long and what is their purpose for visiting.
Having your visa approved or denied as an ex-offender is truly hit or miss. Visa applications for some countries do not ask about prior convictions while other countries need to know everything about your past. This is an effort on the part of the government of that country to keep activity they deem undesirable out and keep their citizens safe. Applying for a European visa, called a Schengen Visa, requires you have your fingerprints taken.
When processing your travel visa, Europe wants to make sure that you have reason to leave the country after your trip. They check to make sure you have ties back to your country of origin. They make sure you are not up to wrong doing in their country. Fingerprints are taken for the visa application. Unless there is cause for concern on your application, your name and prints are only ran through the terrorist database.
Limited restrictions exist that bar entry for ex-offenders into Europe. For piece of mind, research travel requirements of the country before embarking on your trip. Having a valid passport in your possession is a requirement. For citizens of countries that do not require a visa, entry into Europe is easier. The less paperwork you require, the less attention your travels bring you. If on probation, receive permission from your probation officer before taking your trip.