Mexico, our southern neighbor with beautiful beaches and amazing food is one of the popular holiday destinations for people from the U.S. You might have heard stories from your friends and co-workers about how they had an awesome time in Mexico.
You might have traveled to or planned to travel to Mexico before your felony conviction. Now that you have a criminal record, you might be wondering how this affects your travel plans.
There are a lot of restrictions that apply to felons especially when it comes to traveling to international destinations.
Can a felon travel to Mexico?
Yes. Felons can travel to Mexico. You need a valid passport and other necessary travel documents to enter Mexico.
However, it is advisable that you visit the Mexican consulate in the U.S. before you travel to understand the rules you need to follow while entering and staying in Mexico.
Compared to many other countries, the rules in Mexico are less strict. This however does not mean that they will blindly allow anyone to enter their country. It just means that they are way more considerate when it comes to allowing people with criminal records especially for short duration stays.
Canada, for example, our northern neighbor often denies entry to people with felony convictions or DUI without prior permission from the Canadian consulate in the U.S. However, the same rules do not apply to every other country.
It is a popular misconception that if you have a passport then it makes you eligible to travel to any country. However, that is not the case. You need a visa and travel permit that involves a verification process depending on the country you are traveling to.
Many governments also share criminal databases with ally nations that make it easy for them to track parole violations and absconders. So it is always advisable to follow the travel guidelines if you have a felony record.
Traveling by Road or a Cruise to Mexico
Even if your documents are not checked by the border personnel, it is necessary to carry all your travel documents including your valid passport. There are immigration checkpoints at regular intervals on the roads in Mexico where you might be asked to present your documents to get an entry permit.
You do not need a passport while traveling on a closed-loop cruise. A closed-loop cruise is one that originates and terminates at an American port without any other territory. In case your cruise has a halt at a Mexican port then authorities might ask you for a valid passport.
In such cases, you will need travel documents and an entry permit if your itinerary includes sightseeing inside Mexico.
Can you travel to Mexico with DUI?
Countries consider people with drunk driving cases as a potential risk to their citizens and Mexico is no exception.
People with minor driving offenses will probably be able to get in but those with felony DUI will have a hard time getting in and will likely be denied entry.
People with DUI have had varied experiences while traveling to Mexico since there are no concrete rules that state who should be permitted and who should not. So it depends largely on the immigration officer handling the case.
Can you travel to Mexico if you are on Parole and Probation?
People out of prison on parole or probation will definitely not be allowed to travel outside the U.S. Being on parole or probation restricts one’s movement and requires the person to check in with an officer periodically.
Probation is usually coupled with counseling sessions that you can’t miss.
People who have a warrant issued against them are also not allowed to travel out of the U.S.
Things to remember while traveling to a foreign country
- Always get necessary permissions from the respective consulates before your departure from the U.S. You certainly don’t want to be turned away from the immigration checkpoint and lose the money you have spent on hotel and other bookings.
- Never get into any trouble in another country especially if you have a felony record at home. Such cases can get escalated very fast and might result in a permanent travel ban to that country.
- Always follow local laws and ask before you do anything you are not sure about. You unknowingly might be breaking a law that can land you in trouble and result in your arrest.