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Can a Felon Travel to Africa?

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Many felons recall the desire to travel back when life was different and simpler, before their felony conviction.

They may have dreamed of traveling abroad before their conviction, and for some this may have been a reality.

This blog post will address the question of whether a felon can travel to Africa.

  • Travel Restrictions
  • Why Africa?
  • Traveling to Africa
  • Requirements to Enter Africa
  • Encouraging a Felon to Travel to Africa


Travel Restrictions

Upon release, felons must complete the terms of their sentence, including probation.

During the probation period, felons are restricted from leaving the district in which they reside without permission from their probation officer.

Of course, travel outside the U.S. is out of the question until the conditions of probation have been satisfied entirely.

Once this is accomplished, travel beyond the U.S. border is possible.

They must obtain a passport allowing international travel.  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 anyone 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 a federal crime.

Why Africa?

Why would felons want to visit Africa?  Well, for the same reasons anyone wants to travel there.

Felons may have served time in prison, but they have the same interests as any other U.S. citizen.

Traveling to Africa is no exception.  The continent of Africa is located south of Europe and Asia.  While Africa is in all four hemispheres, most of it is in the eastern hemisphere.

Africa is the second largest in area, covering over 11.6 million miles, which is 20 percent of the world’s land total.

There are 54 different countries and several territories in Africa, which is the second most populated continent.  Many of these countries are extremely poor.

Africa is the home of the safari, allowing visitors to view many of the many types of wildlife close up.  The most wildlife in the world are on this continent.

The climate is hot with warm temperatures throughout.  There are massive mountains, large lakes, long rivers, juggles, plains, and deserts.

Africa is home to the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx.

The continent is a vast mixture of many cultures and a wide variety of foods and cuisine.

Some felons’ families may have come from Africa.

Traveling to Africa

The only restriction for felons flying to Africa would be if they have a felony warrant outstanding against them.

The other possible issue would be if their name is on what is called the no-fly list maintained by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for those suspected of being terrorists.

There are about 3500 names on this list at any time.  So, felons are probably OK for flying.

Going on a cruise is also a popular means of travel to Africa.

There are two types of cruises, closed loop and open loop.  A closed loop cruise is one that starts and ends in the same U.S. port while an open loop cruise has different starting and final port city locations.

Felons may sail on either type of cruise, although the requirements for a closed loop cruise are less restrictive than for open loop cruises.

U.S. citizens going on a closed loop cruise can depart and enter the U.S. with only proof of citizenship.  This proof consists of an original or copy of a birth certificate and a government issued photo ID.

Open loop cruises require a passport, regardless of the starting or destination port.  Regardless of the type of cruise, having a passport is important for felons in case the ship docks at a foreign port on the route to Africa.

Requirements to Enter Africa

Most African nations require visitors from the U.S. to have a visa prior to entry.  All African countries except South Africa, Senegal, Rwanda, Malawi, Namibia, Lesotho, and Botswana require a visa.

Mainly, African governments want to know who you are, where you want to go, and what you want to do there.

Typically, visas can be obtained upon arrival in each African country, but obtaining one before departure would be best.  Questions about criminal history are not asked.

If you’re in a hurry to get your visa or want someone to walk you through the process, I recommend you use this website to help.

In addition to the application, a copy of your flight booking and itinerary, a passport, two or three passport photos, and application fee must be entered.

Africa has several requirements all U.S. citizens, regardless of whether they are felons or not, must meet in order to gain entry.

First, the laws in all African nations states that they must have a passport valid for at least six months after their departure when entering that country.

For felons especially, their conduct while in Africa is critical.  Of course they will want to stay out of legal difficulties.

This would obviously result in significant problems for felons who may find it extremely difficult to gain their release.  For those felons ending up in jail, legal counsel will be necessary.

It is best to strictly obey all laws and be able to leave the country as planned.

Encouraging a Felon to Travel to Africa

Families of felons who want to visit Africa can be helpful to those felons by encouraging them to travel outside the country for a sense of peace and relaxation.  A trip to Africa can also be a great opportunity to re-connect with their family.

Once the decision has been made to travel to Africa, 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.

For this reason and others, they must obey the laws and not draw the attention of the legal authorities to themselves.

Remind them of their commitment to live an honest life and how legal difficulties while in Africa will only defeat these efforts and may result in returning to prison.

Approximately 69% of those released from prison return within the first two years.  Don’t let them be one of those statistics.

So what do you think about this blog post about how a felon can travel to Africa?  Have you or someone you know traveled to Africa with a felony?  What was that like and were they successful?   Please tell us in the comments below.

11 thoughts on “Can a Felon Travel to Africa?”

  1. Please let it be known it may depend on your offense. Violent offenses usually cause red flags and you may be denied entry. This post makes it seem like every country in Africa will allow you in. It is not true.

    I was able to travel to Tanzania for 2 months with no issues.

    Kenya does turn away violent offenders.

  2. I want to see different parts of Africa before I find one to settle in I am thinking of Ghana thank you for this Information

  3. The love of my life lives in Durban S. Africa, and i am determined to make it out there to be with her. I am a felon, i am not proud of it but it was accidental so i’m not that ashamed of it either.

    this article on obtaining a passport and a visa was very helpful

    If this information is correct, then i am very happy to read it and i appreciate someone taking their time to type it all up

  4. This post came up while I was researching if I could possibly get a visa to enter Tanzania. I have had no parole or warrants in twenty six years. Your post has given me hope to realize my dream of seeing the Serengeti. Thank you so much and keep up the wonderful work. I did not know such a site as yours existed. I am now a follower and fan. God bless you!


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