Travel may have been something you enjoyed back when life was different and simpler, before your felony conviction.
You may have dreamed of traveling abroad, and you may have been able to do so. For a warm, sunny getaway, how about Aruba?
Let’s address the question of whether or not a felon can travel to Aruba.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the following:
- Travel Restrictions
- Why Aruba?
- Getting a Passport
- Is a Visa Required?
- Entering Aruba
- Traveling to Aruba
- Steps to Take
Travel after your release from prison? Not likely. Your probation officer will deny that until you’ve finished probation.
Even local travel is out of the question. On probation, you can’t leave your district without your probation officer’s consent.
The probation office wants to keep a close check on you at all times.
After your probation is over, you might be able to go beyond the U.S. border.
But before you pack those bags, let’s see exactly what’s involved in taking such a trip.
Why would you want to visit Aruba in the first place? The same reasons apply to you as to anyone who wants to travel there. You have the same interests as any other U.S. citizen.
There are many compelling reasons to visit Aruba.
Aruba is in the Southern Caribbean Sea, 15 miles from Venezuela in South America in what are called the Lesser Antilles. You can see Venezuela from Aruba during the day.
The Virgin Islands and St. Martin are also part of the Lesser Antilles to help you visualize where it is.
The official languages of Aruba are Dutch and the local language of Papiamento. Most citizens also speak English and Spanish.
The beaches in Aruba are the cleanest white sand in the Caribbean. Scuba diving is great with beautiful coral reefs surrounding the island.
There is rough terrain, including caves, trails, rock formations, and a natural pool to explore. The citizens are friendly and love to celebrate.
Getting a Passport
Of course, you need to start the process by getting a passport if you want to travel overseas. It’s the law.
A passport doesn’t have to be difficult to obtain.
A passport isn’t permission to leave the country. It’s an identification like a driver’s license is. A passport identifies you as a U.S. citizen and allows you to travel internationally.
Yes, you can get a passport. There are some restrictions placed on felons who want a passport. One issue that could interfere with getting a passport is having a felony drug trafficking conviction on your record.
Smuggling drugs into or out of the country isn’t a great incentive for the federal government to give you a passport because you could use it to escape from the country.
A misdemeanor drug conviction could prevent you from qualifying for a passport. An outstanding warrant could also be a hindrance. Other things that could be an issue in getting a passport are outstanding child support or other forms of financial debt to the government. The courts wouldn’t like it if you were granted permission to leave the country if you had such debts to pay.
You must present proof of your citizenship like your birth certificate that shows your full name, city and state of birth along with your parents’ names as part of the steps to getting a passport.
After completing Form DS-11 to apply for a passport, it can take several weeks to process it.
This is because the government is probably searching a national database to make sure you aren’t in the group that has any of the previously mentioned criminal and other legal factors.
If you are successful, you will have a passport to travel abroad.
Is a Visa Required?
You might need a visa in addition to a passport.
A passport allows you to leave the country. However, a visa is a document that permits you to enter a particular country, and you get it from the country you want to visit.
Each country sets its standards for who can cross their border. For many countries, depending on why you want to visit and how long you want to stay a visa may be required. Some countries require a visa and some don’t. Some require one depending on how long you stay.
Typically, you can get a visa application from the embassy or website of the country you plan to visit. It’s important to note that an application for a visa usually doesn’t have any questions about your criminal record. Most countries simply don’t ask.
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.
So, this part may be relatively simple. Let’s look at their entry requirements.
Requirements to Enter Aruba
Aruba posts several entry requirements for all U.S. citizens, regardless of whether or not you have a felony conviction.
First, the law in Aruba states that you must have a passport, valid at least as long as your stay.
If you stay more than 30 days, you must have a visa, which you must obtain prior to departing from the U.S. It would be in your best interest to remain in the country less than 30 days in order not to be required to get a visa.
While this may be relatively simple if you arrive in Aruba without a visa, it would be in your best interest not to call attention to yourself by needing to apply for a visa while you are there.
So make certain you have a visa before going to Aruba.
Traveling to Aruba
Now to get to Aruba.
You have taken care of the passport and visa requirements, so let’s look briefly at the travel options to get there. You would have to either fly or go on a cruise.
First, flying to Aruba shouldn’t pose 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.
Unless your name is on this list of a few thousand names you’re probably OK to fly. You could also take a cruise, which is a popular means of traveling to a place like Aruba. As long as you have a valid passport, you should be all right to travel on a cruise ship.
While you may have a valid passport, if you incurred an outstanding felony warrant since you got your passport, the trip will be off.
You can’t leave the country with outstanding charges. That would be considered fleeing the country and would cause you a lot of problems.
Of course there must be no restrictions on U.S. citizens in traveling in general, meaning the travel policy for the country you intend to visit must not restrict travel into the country from the U.S.
Steps to Take
If you got through all of that, you can relax on your trip to Aruba with a chance to enjoy the white sand beaches and the coral reefs. You can explore the caves and take it easy.
However, be careful if you travel to Aruba. Just going to a foreign country will draw attention to yourself. Be on guard and obey all laws while you are there. As a U.S. citizen, you will stand out as different from the general population. Be prepared to be observed as you travel about.
If there is any trouble, contact an attorney for assistance. You don’t want to get involved with the legal system in Aruba. You have had more than enough difficulties here.
Travel safely and return to the U.S. You’ll be glad you did. Being able to travel to Aruba is another step along the road to living an honest life.
You’ve made mistakes, but you don’t have to be defined by them. You are defined by how you recover from those mistakes.
So what do you think about this blog post about how a felon can travel to Aruba? Have you or someone you know wanted to travel to Aruba with a felony? What was that like and what happened? Please tell us in the comments below.