One major issue regarding international travel, is a person’s eligibility. If you are unfortunate enough to have been convicted of a felony, the rules could change. As you know, some states strip you of the right to vote after being convicted of a criminal offence. Any ex-convict will tell you that it is difficult, sometimes impossible, to get a job, their criminal conviction hanging over their head like a permanent dark cloud. So how does it affect your chances of successfully applying for a passport?

The type of felony conviction influences your chances of receiving a passport, as does your current status regarding the felony. If you are still on probation, or on parole, then you will most likely not be allowed leave the country without prior approval. Still though, it is a possibility, debunking the myth that once convicted of a serious crime, you will never been allowed leave the United States.

However, this is usually not the case if your felony involved trafficking narcotics across international waters. Here, your State Department will take a dim view of your actions, heightening the chances they will deny you a passport. In this instance, you could apply, citing an emergency case, but, given the severity of your offence, it is unlikely that this request will be granted.

Nonetheless, a person should apply, even if they feel they are not eligible. According to the U.S Constitution, a passport can be denied to an applicant if they have been convicted of taking arms against the United States Government, or plotting its overthrow. In short, an act of treason guarantees that you will not be allowed to travel abroad.

Another issue that could see a person’s application being refused is if they owe large sums of money to a financial institution. This makes sense, it would be foolish to allow an individual who is in severe debt to leave the country. There is no way of knowing if they have any intention of paying back the money, or if they even have the means to.

If someone’s activities abroad are deemed to be detrimental to the security of the United States, they will be refused a passport. Also, if they have committed crimes in a foreign country, and incurred expenses whilst they were a prisoner, they will also be refused.

While you may be granted the documentation to travel in spite of your conviction, getting into another country can prove problematic. Certain countries, (such as England) are extremely strict about convicted criminals entering their country. It is advisable to do thorough research about the nation you intend on visiting. The last thing you would want is to be turned away at the airport after a long transatlantic flight.

Remember, a passport is a certification of identity, a means of enabling its holder to travel and enjoy the cultures of other countries. It is not a document that guarantees the good character of a person. The application form does not even ask about the criminal history of the applicant. If you have made a mistake, and committed a felony, it is not a certainty that you must remain in the United States. Everyone should definitely apply and experience the enjoyment a foreign culture can bring.