Before that conviction, felons were accustomed to traveling as they wanted. Many journeyed throughout the country as well as into other nations. Of course that included the U.S. neighbor to the south, Mexico.
After their release from prison, felons’ travel is restricted outside the jurisdiction in which they live while on probation. Once they have completed their terms of probation, felons are of course allowed to travel freely throughout the U.S.
This is not true when wanting to travel beyond this country’s borders.
This blog post will cover whether felons are allowed to travel to Mexico.
- Requiring a Passport to Travel to Mexico
- Travel into Mexico
- Being Detained in Mexico
- Supporting Felons Traveling to Mexico
Requiring a Passport to Travel to Mexico
Current regulations state that in order to enter Mexico, a passport is required.
Many felons have served that typical long prison sentence. For those who were free prior to 2004 and recall entering Mexico legally without a passport, their memory serves them correctly.
The events of 9/11 signaled a major change in relationships between the U.S. and other countries.
In an effort to strengthen border security and facilitate entry to this country for U.S. citizens and legitimate foreign visitors, the U.S. instituted the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.
With this, all citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda are required to present a passport or other acceptable document to verify their identity and nationality to enter or leave the U.S. from within the Western Hemisphere.
Another blog post discussed how 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 any felon 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 itself a federal crime.
Travel into Mexico
All American citizens are required to have a valid U.S. passport when flying to Mexico in order to have the appropriate document upon returning to U.S. soil.
The U.S. State Department requires U.S. citizens to show a passport when returning to the U.S. by air.
For those driving into Mexico, a valid passport is necessary for entry even though documents may not be checked by border personnel upon entry.
It is still essential to have that passport because there are frequently immigration checkpoints set up at intervals along the roads in Mexico to maintain vehicle and document inspections.
At these areas, valid travel documents and an entry permit is required, which can be obtained at immigration checkpoints along the road.
When traveling to Mexico on a closed loop cruise, technically a passport is not required. A closed loop cruise is one which originates from and terminates in the same American port city.
However, if a cruise stops in a foreign port either as part of the itinerary or because of an emergency, officials in that foreign port typically ask to see passengers’ passports. It would become a potential legal issue for felons not to have a passport with them.
If felons have a valid passport in their possession upon entering Mexico, their criminal record will not be an issue. Border officials in Mexico do not have access to U.S. criminal databases.
Being Detained in Mexico
Those who do not have such a document can be detained, often resulting in missed flights or other return arrangements.
This is especially troublesome for felons who can expect legal problems if they are held for such a reason.
Being able to enter Mexico may not be problematic, but once detained, the issue of felons’ criminal history can play a factor in their being held, which may necessitate legal counsel.
Of course it is important for anyone visiting Mexico to stay out of trouble and avoid legal problems. This is especially true for felons.
Already having a conviction record, further legal difficulties could easily result in being required to leave the country, have their passport revoked, and face additional legal consequences upon returning to the U.S. Getting into legal difficulties in Mexico will require expert legal assistance.
Supporting Felons Traveling to Mexico
Families of felons who visit Mexico can be helpful to those felons by encouraging them to travel outside the country for a sense of peace and relaxation.
Once the decision has been made to travel to Mexico, 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 more scrutiny.
Remind them of their commitment to live an honest life and how legal difficulties while in Mexico will only defeat their efforts to live that life and may result in their returning to prison.
So what do you think about this blog post about whether felons can travel to Mexico? Have you or someone you know traveled to Mexico after a felony conviction? What was that experience like? Please tell us in the comments below.