Can a Felon Go On Cruise? (2023)

Can a Felon Go On Cruise?Help For Felons Admin2020-02-16T20:16:19+00:00


Can a Felon Go On Cruise? (1)

If you’ve never been on a cruise, you don’t know what you’re missing! And for those of you who have been, you’re probably ready to go see those clear blue waters once again… But, minor snag–if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony offense, booking that next trip to the Bahamas or whatever dream destination you have in mind may or may not be a problem. Don’t worry; we are here to dig into the issue for you, and hopefully answer the question: Can a Felon Go on a Cruise?

Short Answer: Yes, a felon can go on a cruise but not all types of cruises. It depends on the type of cruise and what the destinations, or ports you will be visiting while on the cruise ship. Not all ports and countries will allow US felons on their soil or waterways.

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(Video) Can Felons Travel Abroad?

To begin–we all know that felons have many of their rights severely restricted even after they have completed their mandatory sentence in prison. Sometimes these rights can be restored; sometimes not. But is it a “right” to be able to board a cruise ship?

Not really, but we certainly want to be able to go on vacation, at a minimum, and we also want the ability to travel and see the world, whether by land, air, or sea. After all, millions of travelers pack their bags and go on cruises every year, stopping in one port after another, many of which are in different countries all together.

And therein lies part of the problem… You see, the question is not so much about whether a felon can go on a cruise, but instead what type of cruises can a felon go on!

Everyone loves heading to the Caribbean, for instance. The destination hogs the lion’s share of tourists annually (and for good reason, as you know if you’ve been!). So we can use that as an exampIe. If you want a cruise like that, which goes from port A (say, Miami) to port B, then back to port A, then you’re on a “closed loop” tour…you return from whence you came. That’s the simplest kind, and easier for a felon to take.

If your ship starts in one location, like Miami, but ends in a different port, like Tampa (this is hypothetical; I don’t know of any specific cruises that depart Miami and return to Tampa), then you’re on what is called an “open loop.” These are a little harder in some cases for a felon to get passage on…

Closed Loop Cruises

For an American citizen wishing to go on a closed loop cruise they will need proof of citizenship, such as birth certificate and some type of government issued photo identification such as a driving license.Passports are recommended but not necessary.

Passport Information For Felons Here

(Video) Do cruises check criminal backgrounds?

Open Loop Cruise

Open loop cruise passengers are going to need a passport, in case a passenger misses the boat and has to fly, or if they need to fly for some other emergency reason. And naturally passports are needed if you are visiting a port in a foreign country. You might even need a passport if the vessel itself somehow runs afoul of the law, for whatever reason. You never know! Those sea captains can be a shady lot! LOL

Avoid the Dangers by Knowing the Law

The point is, only open loop trips require passports, so you may want to see our article on Can a Felon Get a Passport? Not all countries allow felons to enter, or to obtain a visa, so you need to ensure you pay close attention to every port of call on your proposed itinerary. IT MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE FOR A FELON TO GET A VISA DEPENDING ON THE COUNTRY. If in doubt, double check with the official government websites of any foreign nations your cruise ship might be paying a call to.You can find visa, passport and other information about every country in the world here.

You can also contact a travel agent, but be advised they may not be experts on every issue; they are one point of information, but should not necessarily your only one. Similarly, you might wish to get in touch with your parole officer if you have one, not only to inform them of any upcoming desired trips, but to ask their advice.

Once you’re certain you can travel, make sure you communicate clearly with the cruise line itself. They can help you navigate any potential issues with any port of call embassies, in case there’s any chance at all of a hang up due to your prior felony conviction. The last thing you or they want is to land in legal hot water on the high seas!

What If You Just Stay on the Boat?

Well, now where is the fun in that? But joking aside, it is an unlikely option that a felon could simply state their intent to never leave the boat when it docks in some foreign country. Whether you intend to stay on board is not the point. It’s always possible you might try to get off, and therefore they must ensure you have the legal ability to do so. Hence, you’ll need to be able to have the required documents on hand if asked (passport and applicable visa). Anytime the ship pulls into dock, you have to be ready to show proof of your eligibility to depart the vessel, if needed.

Sure, if you end up there and cannot provide proof, then they can simply force you to stay on board, but that’s not a position you want to put them in!

(Video) How To Travel Internationally As A Convicted Felon, Live From Israel

Many Countries Outrightly Ban US Felons

Felons are typically banned from taking cruises to certain countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia (ironic, since it was founded as a place to stash unwanted criminals!), and New Zealand. Don’t let it get you down. The world is a very big place and there are hundreds of other options! Again, just make sure to do your research on each specific country’s requirements–well in advance of purchasing a ticket!

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No Refunds

It’s possible the cruise line or travel agent you book with won’t offer a refund, just because you may’ve overlooked a visa/passport requirement and later discovered you aren’t able to make that specific journey. And indeed, if you later realize you made a mistake, but try to board anyhow–if they see you aren’t authorized to get off the boat at one of the points of destination, then they can cancel your trip on the spot…and again, not give a refund!

Felony Expungement – In a number of states it is possible to have your felony conviction either expunged or sealed. Imagine having your record swiped clean! Learn more here.

(Video) Can I Get A Passport With A Felony Arrest Record | Criminal Record

Parole and Cruising Often Don’t Mix

Getting back to that parole officer for a second…if you happen to be on probation or parole, then it is up to the state itself whether you meet the eligibility requirements to travel on a ship bound for an international port. So always check in with your parole officer, to ensure there are no specific conditions which might prevent you from such a vacation abroad! And even if you are able to go, just note that you might have some immigration officers standing by to ask you about your conviction.

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DUI/DWI and Canada

A DWI conviction can prevent you from entering Canada, and the question may arise at the border itself. Don’t get yourself in a bind, where you wind up being deported! Again, just do your research on each country on your planned trip, speak with your parole officer, check out the embassy websites, and talk to the travel agent and cruise line if needed.

Back to Legal Information for Felons

(Video) NEW Carnival Policy DENIES ALL Convicted Felons From EVER Sailing | Breaking Cruise News |10/10/2022

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Can a felon take a Caribbean cruise? ›

Short Answer: Yes, a felon can go on a cruise but not all types of cruises. It depends on the type of cruise and what the destinations, or ports you will be visiting while on the cruise ship. Not all ports and countries will allow US felons on their soil or waterways.

Can a felon go on a cruise to Jamaica? ›

Once you've secured your supervisor's permission, you can rest easy knowing that a felon can go to Jamaica with just a passport for periods shorter than 90 (ninety) days. You will need to stay in contact with the probation officer for the duration of the trip.

Can a felon take a cruise to Mexico? ›

Can you go to Mexico with a felony? Yes, as a felon, you are not automatically denied access to Mexico but there are some exceptions. Mexican authorities will deny your entry if you have committed a serious crime, such as murder, terrorism, or drug trafficking.

Can felons travel to Bahamas? ›

Unless the Bahamas was notified of his crime (unlikely), there should be no issue. The Bahamas immigration form does not ask if you have any convictions and unless the immigration officer has reason to ask, it is not a question you are likley to be asked.

Do cruise ships run background checks on passengers? ›

Much like a hotel or plane, cruise lines in the U.S. are not required by law to do criminal background checks, or block passengers who may be registered sex offenders. Published policies for cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian do not state any restrictions on passengers with a criminal history.

What countries can felons not travel to? ›

As a result, if you have a criminal record, you won't be allowed to enter most countries where you're required to obtain a visa prior.
Here is a list of countries that don't allow convicted felons to enter:
  • Argentina.
  • Australia.
  • Canada.
  • China.
  • Cuba.
  • India.
  • Iran.
  • Israel.

Can a felon go to Mexico? ›

Mexico does allow felons who have crossed seven years on their conviction. This makes it legal to travel to the country.

Can felons go to Puerto Rico? ›

The same way a US felon travels to California, New York or Florida. Puerto Rico is unincorporated US territory, for all intents and purposes as far as US citizens are concerned it's simply a part of the US.

Can a felon go to Aruba? ›

Can a person with a felony record be turned away from entering Aruba by immigration? As per the Immigration law as long as a crime is not committed on Aruba, someone with record is free to enter.

Can felons leave the US? ›

Yes, convicted felons can leave the country. They can get valid passports to travel out of the country. Fortunately, you still have the right to get a passport if you were convicted of a felony. However, you can only get a passport from the US authority to leave the country under certain circumstances.

Can felons travel internationally? ›

International travel with a served sentence

They allow people who committed a crime and served their sentence to travel abroad but still under many conditions. As every traveler also, felons must possess a passport and/or a visa when going abroad.

Can I go to Canada with a felony? ›

Any American that has a felony conviction on their criminal record may not be permitted entry into Canada unless they have received special permission from the Canadian Government.

Can I go to France with a felony? ›

Traveling to Europe with a felony conviction – summary

If a U.S. citizen has a criminal record, they can still travel to Europe. For example, crossing visa-free countries' borders in the European Union, such as France, Greece, Germany, or Poland, will not call for a criminal history check.

What can felons not do? ›

A person may not vote, serve on a jury, obtain commercial driver's licenses, possess a gun or join the U.S. armed forces. Even if a person's right to carry a weapon is restored he/she will be permanently banned from receiving a concealed weapon's permit.

Can you go to Mexico with a criminal record? ›

Immigration authorities may decide to refuse the request to enter the country if the applicant is subject to criminal process or has been convicted of a serious crime as defined by national laws on criminal matters or provisions in international treaties or conventions that the Mexican State is party to, or if the ...

Do they check for warrants when you go on a cruise? ›

When you board a cruise ship, a manifest of passengers is sent to US Customs and Border Protection. This list is routinely checked for outstanding warrants. Any passengers with outstanding warrants are arrested upon their return.

Can you take a cruise with a criminal record? ›

That said, just like a road trip or flight, cruising can be made difficult if you have a criminal record. It's not just about the main destination but also other ports where you stop along the way, and all of these factors need to be considered before booking your trip.

Do they search you before a cruise? ›

Cruise lines use a variety of methods to search for illegal drugs including x-rays, metal detectors, scanners and sniffer dogs. That said, the security team's main priority isn't to look for drugs, as they have other things to be concerned with. Cruise ship security teams are mostly searching for alcohol and weapons.

Do felonies go away after 7 years? ›

People often ask me whether a criminal conviction falls off their record after seven years. The answer is no.

How long does a criminal record last? ›

If the person was 18 years of age or older at the time of the offense (i.e. legally considered to be an adult), then the conviction will be expunged from their record 11 years after the conviction date (not the offense date).

Can felons go to Ireland? ›

Does Ireland allow felons to visit? Yes, people with a felony conviction can still visit Ireland. If the crime you committed resulted in a prison sentence of at least a year, you will have to wait 7 (seven) years after you've served your time. That rule applies to minor crimes.

Can felons go to Australia? ›

You must not have any criminal convictions, for which the sentence or sentences should not equal a total period of 12 months duration or more (whether served or not), at the time of travel to, and entry into, Australia.”

Can a felon travel to England? ›

Those seeking permission to enter the UK will normally be refused if they have previously been convicted of a criminal offence punishable by at least 12 months imprisonment.

Can a felon go to the US Virgin Islands? ›

For Americans entering the U.S. Virgin Islands, it is just the same as traveling from one state to another. Therefore, a passport is not required to enter the U.S. Virgin Islands. This is also true for felons who travel from the U.S. mainland directly to any U.S. territory.

Where can you travel with a criminal record? ›

In general terms, you can travel to most countries around the world, even with a criminal record, provided that you aren't applying to work, become a permanent resident, or staying for 6 months or longer.

Can you go to Dubai with a criminal record? ›

As a tourist, you would be allowed to enter Dubai with a criminal record as long as you have served the entirety of the sentence. Provided the crime was not committed in Dubai, you would be free to enter for holiday purposes.

Can you travel to Costa Rica with a criminal record? ›

According to Article 61.3 of the Immigration law of Costa Rica, you would have an impediment to enter Costa Rica if you have a criminal conviction for a malicious crime (not a wrongful act) in the last 10 years, as long as the offense is both illegal in Canada and Costa Rica.

Can you go to Fiji with a criminal record? ›

Those intending to travel to Fiji with criminal conviction record are required to apply for clearance prior to travelling to Fiji. The application and fees should be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to departure. Criminal Conviction Clearance fee is NON-REFUNDABLE.

Can you go to Thailand with a criminal record? ›

Do they ask about criminal records? No. There is no reference to criminal records on the Thai T.M. 6 Arrival Card (see below) or on the Visa Application Form.

Can felons join the military? ›

The Army, like the rest of the military, wants soldiers who meet "moral character standards." A felony conviction suggests you may not meet the standard. If the military agrees to waive its enlistment standards, felons can join the Army if they meet the other mental and physical requirements.

Can a felon get a passport in Texas? ›

Updated As of Jun 07, 2022.

However, for those who are convicted felons, the process can be complicated. Nevertheless, a convicted felon can still get a passport.

Can other countries see your criminal record? ›

Most foreign officials do not check for criminal records, but they have every right to do so if they choose. Each country can handle criminal records however they want, depending on their laws. INTERPOL tracks international criminal records in their database for all participating countries.

Do you need a passport to go to the Bahamas? ›

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

U.S. citizens are generally required to present a valid U.S. passport when traveling to The Bahamas, as well as proof of anticipated departure from The Bahamas. Those traveling to The Bahamas on a cruise may use another Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant document.

Can you travel to the Bahamas with a DUI? ›

As long as your passport is valid, and no outstanding warrants... your good to go.

Can you go to Dubai with a felony? ›

If you are travelling to Dubai for a holiday, you will most likely be fine. However, there may be some problems if you have a criminal record in the UAE. The UAE isn't like some countries, for example the USA, where you may be illegible for a visa if you have certain criminal convictions.

Can a felon go to Italy? ›

Some countries, like the United States and Canada, are notoriously strict when it comes to granting visas to felons. Fortunately, that is not entirely the case in Europe (and therefore, Italy). A criminal conviction does not represent a reason for denial of your visa or travel permit per se.

Does your criminal record clear after 7 years in Canada? ›

Criminal records stay with you for life. They do not automatically disappear, not after several years and not for minor offences. Except in a few cases, you may apply for a record suspension (pardon) if you want the RCMP to keep your record separate from other criminal records so that the information is not accessible.

Can a convicted felon travel to Dominican Republic? ›

Felons can travel to the Dominican Republic by flying or on a cruise. The only difficulty for them flying would be if they have a felony warrant outstanding against them. They would be prevented from flying then.

Can a felon travel to Thailand? ›

If you have a major felony on your record, very likely the Thai Authorities can use that to deny you entry to the Kingdom or to revoke your lawful status in the Kingdom if you are in non-immigrant status or tourist visa status or visa exemption status, and deport you. But this is important: except for petty offenses.

Can a convicted felon travel to Amsterdam? ›

Traveling to Amsterdam

First, flying to the Netherlands shouldn't be a problem for you as a felon unless your name is on the no-fly list maintained by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of suspected terrorists.

Can a felon get a passport? ›

At a Glance: Having a felony doesn't automatically disqualify you from getting a passport. Only people with specific felonies—such as certain drug convictions—aren't eligible for passports. In addition, those with unpaid child support, federal taxes, or federal loans may not be eligible for a passport.

What rights do felons lose in us? ›

The rights most often curtailed include the right to vote and hold public office, employment rights, domestic rights, and financial and contractual rights. State statutes and local ordinances are the traditional means for abridging the rights of convicted criminals.

How many felonies are there? ›

There are nine classes of felonies: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and I. They are classified by the seriousness of the offense, from most to least serious.

Can I travel to Cancun with a criminal record? ›

In many cases, it is possible to visit Mexico despite having a criminal record. Generally, misdemeanors are not considered grounds for denied entry and will not prevent foreigners from going to Mexico on vacation. Foreigners who require a visa for Mexico must disclose details of their criminal history when applying.

Will my probation officer find out if I go to Mexico? ›

Yes , as long as your PO doesn't care it won't be an issue. You could even without permission but if customs runs your ID/Passport/name on the way back thru your PO will find out.

Can I go on a cruise to Mexico with a DUI? ›

It is possible to travel to Mexico with a DUI, but you could be refused at the border. However, in general, Mexico is only looking for people with serious records at the border. If your DUI did not result in death, property damage or serious injury, it is less likely that you would be denied entry to Mexico.

Can a felon go on a cruise that stops in Canada? ›

Almost all convictions (including DUI, DWI, reckless driving, negligent driving, misdemeanor drug possession, all felonies, shoplifting, theft, etc.) make a person inadmissible to Canada, regardless of how long ago they occurred.

Can you travel to the Bahamas while on probation? ›

A: An attorney can have the judge add a provision to your sentencing order at the time of your plea or conviction that you are allowed to travel to the Bahamas. Otherwise, a motion to modify sentence must be filed with the court unless the probation officer approves your travel plans.

What is considered a closed loop cruise? ›

Most cruises beginning and ending in the same location are considered "closed-loop," meaning they begin and end at the same port in the United States and travel within the Western Hemisphere.

Do you need a passport to go to the Bahamas on a cruise? ›

If you are a US citizen, you can take a “closed-loop cruise” (one that begins and ends at the same port) to The Bahamas without a passport. Instead, you'll need to present another proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate and a government-issued photo ID.

Can you go to Alaska with a felony? ›

No, a convicted felon is a prohibited person by federal law. The state you're in doesn't matter. Where does Alaska fly in Florida?

How does Canada know if you have a felony? ›

The Canadian border has full access to all the criminal record databases in the United States, so anyone who has been convicted of a felony will very likely be flagged at the border.

How long after a felony can you go to Canada? ›

You can be “deemed rehabilitated” if enough time has passed since your conviction, or since all conditions of your sentence have been met. The standard amount of time is 10 years. So if it has been 10 years or more since you committed a crime or completed a sentence for a crime, you may be able to enter Canada.

Can I go to Mexico on felony probation? ›

Any felon still serving time on parole or probation, or anyone with an outstanding warrant will almost certainly be denied entry into Mexico…or exit from the U.S. for that matter.

What can felons not do? ›

A person may not vote, serve on a jury, obtain commercial driver's licenses, possess a gun or join the U.S. armed forces. Even if a person's right to carry a weapon is restored he/she will be permanently banned from receiving a concealed weapon's permit.

Can felons travel internationally? ›

International travel with a served sentence

They allow people who committed a crime and served their sentence to travel abroad but still under many conditions. As every traveler also, felons must possess a passport and/or a visa when going abroad.

Do you get searched on a cruise? ›

Will my bags be searched on a cruise ship? All baggage brought on board the ship will be X-rayed. When you go through security you will set your bags on the x-ray machine like you'd find at an airport. Checked luggage is also X-rayed behind the scenes.

What cruise lines do not require a passport? ›

Cruise lines offering those cruises include Carnival, Princess and Holland America. You won't need a passport for these closed-loop sailings, but you do need to be prepared for multiple days at sea as you cross the Pacific from California to Hawaii.

What countries can you go to on a cruise without a passport? ›

Places to Cruise Without a Passport
  • Alaska.
  • The Bahamas.
  • Cozumel.
  • New England and Canada.
  • The Caribbean.
  • Baja, Mexico.

Can a felon get a passport? ›

At a Glance: Having a felony doesn't automatically disqualify you from getting a passport. Only people with specific felonies—such as certain drug convictions—aren't eligible for passports. In addition, those with unpaid child support, federal taxes, or federal loans may not be eligible for a passport.

How long is the cruise from Florida to Bahamas? ›

A 3 hour one way journey by ferry is required to travel to between Florida and Bahamas islands.

What documents are needed for a cruise? ›

If you're a United States citizen going on a “closed loop” cruise, you'll only need to present: Government issued photo identification. Proof of citizenship (an original or copy of your U.S. birth certificate, a Consular report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Naturalization)


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