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Can a Felon Travel to Australia?

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Many felons can recall having 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 Australia.

  • Travel Restrictions
  • Why Australia?
  • Requirements to Enter Australia
  • Encouraging a Felon to Visit Australia


Travel Restrictions

Upon release, felons must complete the terms of their sentence, which typically involves being on probation, reporting to their probation officer in person or checking in online monthly.

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

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.

There is the question of obtaining a passport, which is a form of identification from the federal government allowing international travel.  Felons are able to obtain a passport with a few exceptions.

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 itself a federal crime.

Traveling to another country with a passport is very possible.

Why Australia?

Why would felons want to visit Australia?  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 Australia is no exception. 

Australia is a popular destination for tourists from the U.S. for a number of reasons.

It is one of the most remote countries in the world.  It is a great place to get away to, offering many backpacking and hiking opportunities.

Australia is also home to the Great Barrier Reef, which is among the most famous reefs in the world.  The marine life is awesome, and the diving is great.

Requirements to Enter Australia

Australian laws indicate that all visitors to their country, regardless of whether they are felons or not, must obtain a visa to travel there for recreation or to visit family and friends.

Tourists from the U.S. may obtain an Electronic Travel Visa (ETA), which is merely an electronic form of a visa linked to their passport, allowing them to enter Australia for business or pleasure.

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.

Another requirement for all potential visitors is to pass a character test.  This requirement is designed to protect the safety and welfare of the Australian community.

According to Australian law, the character requirement is a set of conditions used to determine if applicants are of good character.

Among these requirements are the following:

  • Applicants must not have a substantial criminal record. This means that those who have been sentenced to prison for a period of at least 12 months on one charge or a combination of charges resulting in a total of more than 12 months, including sentences served concurrently.   Prison time also includes detention and court-ordered residential drug rehabilitation.
  • Those acquitted of an offense by reason of unsoundness of mind do not pass the test.
  • Applicants found by a court not to be fit to plead to an offense but have been found to have committed it.
  • Applicants sentenced to death or life imprisonment.
  • Persons judged to be a significant risk to engage in criminal activity while in Australia.
  • Felons convicted of a sex offense involving a child are prohibited.

Wow!  That leaves all felons out, right?

Not so quick.

Australian laws also state that the decision of whether felons pass the character test is made by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.  Their guidelines indicate that the decision is made after consideration of all the circumstances of a case.

The laws also state that it is felons’ responsibility to show they are of good character.

This is where felons have an opportunity to prove they are deserving of a chance to visit Australia.

So, it is actually in the best interest for felons wanting to travel to Australia to have their record expunged before applying for an Australian visa to give themselves the best chance possible in being successful in being approved for that visa.

Working hard, getting a job, and additional education can all help in getting that felony off their record.

Going through a re-entry program can also make a difference.

Felons can make their case for being of good character and present the evidence to the Australian Department of Immigration.

It is important for felons to not give up on traveling to a country such as Australia following incarceration.  Thinking back on their restrictive time in prison can prompt many felons to want to travel.

They may have dreamed of the day when this would once again be possible.  It is very important to not give up on those dreams.

Such dreams are an essential part of the rehabilitation process, the desire to live an honest life and to do the things that others without a felony conviction can do.

Travel outside of the U.S. is certainly an important part of this.

Encouraging Felons to visit Australia

For families of felons who wish to travel to Australia, it is important to encourage them to pursue this.

Don’t let them allow their mistakes from the past stop them from enjoying life again.

Help them reach their goal to travel to Australia.  Assist them in the process of applying for a visa.

Part of the visa application is to sign the Australian Values Statement in which they agree to respect Australian values and obey the laws of Australia.

Encourage them to honor the commitment they are making, something that is probably very different from the way they have lived in the past.

So what do you think about this blog post about whether felons can travel to Australia?  Have you or someone you know traveled to Australia after a felony conviction?  What was that experience like?   Please tell us in the comments below.

8 thoughts on “Can a Felon Travel to Australia?”

  1. It does not explain the process of getting the visa for a felon or how much time after a felon is completely free. Like how many years after supervised release is complete. Also when a felon would be considered rehabilitated. If someone’s convocation is over 10 years and all his court obligations are completed by over 5 years can he a

  2. I have a felony from 25 yrs ago and sence then i got my ged and 2 deplomas for locksmith and one for welding and I’ve been with my wife for 21 yrs and I’ve turned my life around and i would love to live in Australia and any advice anyone can give me to help me out would be appreciated and tbank you

  3. As soon as I graduate with my bachelors I would love to move to Australia. I currently have a felony on my record and this blog gave me a lot of hope / insight.

  4. Can someone email me about this post? I have a felony on my record, but none of the things that would prohibit me from getting a tourist visa apply to my felony. And I have a flight already scheduled in 30 days to Sydney.

  5. It has been my life’s dream to go to Austrailia. I have a felony conviction on my record now and I regret it so bad because it was a ridiculous mistake I made while inebriated on alcohol. I don’t belong in this country, I Love AUSTRALIA and I will do whatever it takes to get there, even of its only for a day. I am currently on probation and enrolled in college going after an Assciates Degree in Communication. I am turning my life around and this blog has given me some hope and more motivation. Thank you.


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