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Can a Felon Travel to Russia?

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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 Russia.

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


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 from the federal government 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 Russia?

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

Russia is a popular tourist destination for a number of reasons.

Russia, formerly the Russian Federation, is in the northern part of Eurasia and is the largest country in the world in area, covering over six million square miles.

There are a wide variety of historical and cultural sites along with major geographical features ranging from majestic mountains to wide plains and plateaus, and a number of major rivers.

The Russian Orthodox Church has many beautiful, ancient cathedrals throughout the nation.  Russia is home to many famous literary figures.

Some felons’ families may have come from Russia.

Traveling to Russia

The only restriction for them flying to Russia 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 Russia.

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 Russia.

Requirements to Enter Russia

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

First, the law in Russia states that they must have at least six valid months remaining on their passport when entering the country.

In order to travel to Russia, a visa is required, which must be obtained before leaving the U.S.  To get a visa, tourists must first have an invitation, or visa support letter from an online provider catering to tourists.  They provide a Reservation confirmation and a Tourist voucher.

These documents, along with the visa application, must be submitted by the applicant or a travel agency to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for processing.

On the visa application, visitors must list all areas in Russia they intend to visit.

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.

Additionally, travel insurance for Russia.  This is insurance for health and medical coverage good for the duration of the trip.

For felons especially, their conduct while in Russia 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, good legal counsel will be necessary.

Laws in Russia are quite strict.  Anyone who commits a felony while in Russia will be tried as a Russian citizen with sentencing to a prison for foreigners.

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

Encouraging a Felon to Travel to Russia

Families of felons who visit Russia can be helpful to those felons by encouraging them to travel outside the country for a sense of peace and relaxation.

A trip to Russia can also be a great opportunity to re-connect with their family.

Once the decision has been made to travel to Russia, 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 Russia 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 Russia?  Have you or someone you know traveled to Russia with a felony?  What was that like and were they successful?   Please tell us in the comments below.

3 thoughts on “Can a Felon Travel to Russia?”

  1. So I was recently released from federal prison. I’m an American. My wife is Russian. I’m hoping to visit after my probation period is terminated. I have many questions. If you can help me understand what I need to be accepted to enter the country to visit.

  2. I really hope this is correct. I was in Russia for eight days about 7 years ago and it was life-changing. I thought with my lying to federal agent conviction that I would never get to step foot again in this life upon the sacred soil of Holy Rus.


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