If you are convicted of a felony crime in Arizona, your permanent criminal record can impact many aspects of your life and future. This can include the ability to get a US passport and travel outside of the country, depending on the nature of your conviction and the status of your criminal case. For the most part, having a felony on your record will not bar you from getting a US passport. However, there are some exceptions.
Felony Convictions and International Travel
Being convicted of a felony can impact several of your constitutional rights, including the right to vote in public elections and bear arms. Having a felony on your record could also get in the way of future employment opportunities and housing. These are standard consequences of felony convictions in Arizona. Whether or not a convicted felon can obtain a US passport and travel internationally, however, changes from case to case.
Factors that can impact a felon’s ability to get a US passport include:
- Type of felony: while most convicted felons are able to get US passports, certain types of felonies will lead to passport denials. These include serious drug offenses, such as international drug trafficking or the distribution of drugs. Treason is also a felony crime that could bar you from getting a passport or leaving the country.
- Status of the case: it is not possible to obtain a US passport if the criminal case against you is still underway. If a warrant is out for your arrest, charges are pending, you are currently awaiting trial, you are on probation or parole, or you are otherwise prohibited from traveling internationally, you will be denied a passport by the US government.
- Desired travel destination: even if you are able to obtain a US passport, this does not guarantee you the right to travel abroad freely. Many countries do not allow convicted felons to cross their borders, either for public safety or political reasons. You must do your research to find out if the country where you wish to travel welcomes people who have been convicted of felonies.
Although these are not felony crimes, having unpaid child support over $5,000 or unpaid federal taxes or loans can also get in the way of obtaining a US passport. If you had a valid passport prior to your criminal case, it may be confiscated by the courts to prevent you from fleeing the country to avoid felony charges. If this happens, you will not be able to apply for a new US passport until the completion of the criminal process and any related probation or parole terms.
For more information, read this guide here.
Felony Convictions and International Moves
If you only wish to exit the country for a vacation or a short visit overseas, a valid US passport will typically be enough to allow your entry. However, if you wish to move to a different country or stay for a longer period of time, you will need to obtain a visa. Unlike the process for obtaining a US passport, getting a visa requires a criminal background check.
With a felony conviction on your record, you could be barred from acquiring a visa in your desired country. There may also be restrictions in place on misdemeanor crimes, such as driving under the influence. One solution may be having your criminal record expunged. This means your felony conviction will be erased from the record. Expungement could restore your eligibility for a US passport and allow you to get a visa in another country.
For more information about record expungement or getting a passport as a convicted felon in Arizona contact a criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of John Phebus online for a free consultation.