Do you wish to go on a trip, visit a family member or move after having served your sentence? Are you wondering if your criminal record will have an impact on your travel plans? Perhaps you want to know if you can travel to the United Kingdom (UK) while on probation?
This blog post will explain all the circumstances that apply in your case. We’ll explain if a U.S. citizen under probation can still travel to the UK, and explore the conditions for entry to the UK for U.S. citizens with criminal convictions in their past.
Can you travel to the UK with a felony?
The UK immigration rules differ from the rules surrounding U.S. felons traveling to Europe.
A good example is the recommendation to acquire a visa on the NCESC website. It isn’t mandatory. The UK government has created an online tool on their Gov.UK website, which will prove useful when determining if you need one to travel.
You can access the online tool through the official UK government website. Select your nationality along with the reason for coming to the UK, and the website will tell you whether you need to apply for a visa or not.
You may enter the UK without a conducted background check and your criminal records won’t be inspected. Still, while such inspections at airports are sporadic, you may be asked if you’ve ever had a felony conviction. In such a case, speak truthfully and explain your criminal history. The more forthcoming and honest you are, the higher the chances of being allowed into the UK.
Frequent questions asked by the border officials include:
- Will you leave, not making the UK your new home?
- When will you leave the UK?
- Do you have sufficient funds to support yourself throughout your whole stay?
- Do you have funds to pay departure fees upon the end of the trip?
Felons under supervision can still travel outside of the U.S., albeit with clear permission from a judge. You’re all set if you acquire a court order which clearly states that you’re free to depart the United States of America and fly to the UK. What you need to do is appear in front of the court and explain the reasons for your travel.
You would have an easier time getting permission for international travel if you were found guilty of a minor crime or misdemeanor, including, for instance:
- disorderly conduct
- petty theft
- public intoxication.
While on probation, a felon will still need to remain in contact with their probation officer. They need to be ready to provide updates and stick to the trip plan they’ve agreed upon with their supervisor.
If you need to depart for the UK for emergency purposes, you may get permission to leave. There is a precedent for such a case. The standard procedure in the U.S. is to issue a special waiver to the felon should they have to travel because of:
- an emergency
- or humanitarian reasons.
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Traveling to the UK with a felony – denial of entry conditions
There are, however, exceptional circumstances that will disable you from entering the UK. They include various offenses, crimes, and certain lengths of prison sentences. If any of those apply to you, you will be denied entry to the UK. The list of felonies that will prohibit access to the UK looks as follows:
- subject to a deportation order;
- the felon served less than 1 (one) year in jail unless 5 (five) years have passed from the end of the said sentence);
- the person spent 1 (one) to 4 (four) years in prison unless a period of 10 (ten) years has passed since the end of the sentence;
- involvement in human trafficking;
- drug-related crimes;
- convicted of: murder/manslaughter/rape/kidnapping/child pornography/assualt/animal cruelty/cybercrime/tax evasion.
Travelers may not be granted permission to enter the UK in light of their character or associations. If it is believed you present a threat to national security, the authorities will deny your entry.
Passport Photo Online – quality visa photos
If you’re looking to apply for a visa to visit the UK with a criminal record, Passport Photo Online is the perfect fit for you. It’s an app available on a website, as well as smartphones with iOS and Android systems. The application will become your personal photo booth, offering quality visa photos and available 24/7.
You can upload as many visa photos as you like and pick the one that will look best on your visa card. For a fee of $6.95, Passport Photo Online will turn the photo you uploaded into a perfectly valid one. Moreover, you can use a free passport photo template and then print the visa photo for less than $1.
Last but not least, you either get a perfectly acceptable visa photo or receive a 200% refund should the picture get rejected.
Can you travel to the UK with a felony – summary
The bottom line is this: you can go to the UK with a felony conviction. It is advisable that you apply for a visa if you have a criminal record, but it is ultimately up to you and not mandatory.
UK immigration laws do not include running a criminal history background check on the traveler upon arrival, but this topic may still come up upon checkup. If it does, the best solution is to be honest and cooperative.
You can also go to the UK if you’re under supervision, but you’ll require a court order or a special waiver in case of emergency travel. You’ll also need to stay in contact with a probation officer.
Can you go to the UK with a felony: FAQ
Below you’ll find the most common queries on traveling to the UK with a felony.
Can you travel to the UK with a criminal record?
You can travel to the UK with a criminal record, provided at least 5 (five) years have passed since a less-than-a-year prison sentence or 10 (ten) if the time you spent in jail stood between 1 (one) and 4 (four) years. If you weren’t involved in major crimes, like human trafficking or drug-related offenses, you will be allowed entry.
If you’re on probation, you can visit the UK if you’ve managed to acquire a court order allowing international travel. You can acquire a special waiver for an emergency trip to the UK.
Graduated from the University of Warsaw, Michał, is a biometric photography expert with an undying thirst for adventure and a writer at Passport-Photo.Online. A self-proclaimed book and movie critic as well, he’s always eager to visit to the most underrated or less popular travel destinations.