How to travel with a criminal record

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Having a criminal record does not necessarily mean you will not be allowed to travel, but convictions may be grounds for refusal to grant a visa, entry or passport application.

Unless otherwise specified, a criminal record does not prohibit you from travelling domestically, but can create problems when travelling internationally.

Obtain a passport. A criminal record should not affect your passport application, unless you are currently have outstanding arrest warrants, have a court order restricting your travel or bail conditions which specify that you stay in a certain area. Even in these situations, it may be possible to get a passport or have international travel approved by a court.

Each country has different rules and policies about allowing entry to travellers with criminal records. When planning a trip, it is important to check with the embassy or consulate of the country you wish to visit. You are not obligated to give your name or any contact information when enquiring with the country's embassy.

Some countries, such as the United States, require travellers with criminal records to get a waiver, which is a matter of a fee and an application. In the U.S., this good for five years, but validation varies by country. Other countries have no restrictions to criminal records, while some deny entry to only those convicted of specific crimes, such as murder, or anything having to do with guns or drugs.