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General News

International Travel 2020

In this International Travel 2020 post, the information is identical to the International Travel 2019 post. We added a new post for 2020 in order to keep the discussion manageable. Please help us by sticking to the topic of International Travel only.

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From 2019: We have updated our main International Travel section. It features:

  1. List of Schengen Nations (allowing entry to registrants);
  2. Resources (including a CA DOJ Travel Notification Form); and
  3. User Submitted Travel Reports.

This post is linked from the Main Menu at the top of the site.

1. The 26 Schengen Nations (which allow registrants to visit)

As an agreement, Schengen was signed among the five out of ten countries of the European Union members back then, on the 14th June 1985. Under the Schengen agreement, travelling from one Schengen country to another is done without any passport and immigration controls or any other formalities previously required.

Austria
Belgium
Czech republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Italy
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland

Note: US Citizens are visa exempt when visiting the Schengen area for up to 90 days in a 180 day period (List of Countries, Section B or map).  The European Commission is proposing creating a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) for such travelers, beginning in 2021 – which may or may not take criminal convictions into account. ETIAS Fact Sheet April 2018July 2018

2. Resources

Forms

Publications

Older Posts

 

Join the discussion

  1. David

    @ SJ: But did you provide the required 21-day advance notice of international travel? No need to answer. (If you had done so, I doubt you would have been admitted to Mexico. Mexico would have received a “green notice” in advance of your arrival and you would have been refused entry.)

    • Finally Retired

      @ SJ – i wonder if they even need to get that 21-day notice of international travel to be able to send out the notifications to destination countries. it would seem from the recent “Angel” Watch privacy impact assessment document that they have a separate system, likely automated, of cross checking international flight manifestos for convicted sex offenders.

      According to the privacy impact doc, once there’s a match for an individual with a sex conviction they then do manual checks against gov databases and the public registries of conviction details to establish whether a notice should be sent out to destination countries,

      Therefore the 21-day notice may not even be necessary for them to know if a person with a sex conviction is flying out and whether a notice should be sent to destination countries (as I used to think).

      Which begs the question-why even have a law to require this 21-day notice of international travel? They don’t need these notices to know if a “sex offender” is booked to fly internationally… they have their own independent methods of finding this out.

      Seems to me anyways..

      Here’s the privacy doc –

      https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/privacy-pia-ice057-angelwatch-august2020.pdf

      • S J

        I think you guys think to much. Lol Is anyone here in IT. If said computers are not integrated into NCIC like Canada is with usa it is hard to get info on people unless your on a national registry that woukd be attached to your fbi (passport #). You have to realize there are millions of people and hundreds of countrys who all code there info differently.
        Seriously even states have hard time knowing what you have done in other states quickly with NCIC. I truly believe they flag your passport number. Either it is or its not. Besides Canada that is directly in our NCIC database.

        • Just_5150

          Being a retired programmer, I have some idea about how information is shared across agencies and the difficulties involved.

          My old passport was confiscated at the airport, but it is still valid for a few more years. I have never received a letter saying it is revoked. When I applied for it’s replacement, they sent a new one with a new number (and the notice).

          So now I have a choice in which passport # to use on paperwork. I keep forgetting to use the new one. The one that is flagged everywhere. “Sorry sir. I keep updating my information, but for some reason, those computers insist on using my old number”

          I have a trip to Africa next month. I always wonder if I will make it. Hopefully, I will be able to stay this time.

      • M C

        @Finally Retired, I thought it had already been well established on here that the 21 day notice wasn’t required to have travel notices sent to foreign countries and that they just pull the info off the plane manifests anyway. I suspect the main reason to have the requirement is that it is simpler to identify those individuals who they want to green notice and it decreases situations where someone on a manifest that should be given a green notice is not identified it not identified quickly enough to send a notice to the receiving country. Think of it this way. If you give a 21 day notice they can notify the receiving country before you even travel and/or cross check the manifest and notify. If you don’t give any notice of travel, they will still search through the manifest but may miss some people who are registrants and fail to notify when they would otherwise want to do so. It’s like self identifying as a sex offender planning to travel versus them finding you in a manifest as a traveler. Doing both likely captures nearly everyone who is a registrant trying to travel. There may also be registrants not reported properly in NCIC or in the national registry when they cross reference but who are giving 21 day notice. They also may want this rule simply because it’s another rule, another way to screw up and another way to punish you again for being out of compliance because you traveled without giving notice.

  2. S J

    @ M C
    I was unassigned. I never traveled internationally. I went through great lengths not to be on public websites at my own risk. (As i travel domestically for work) I figured besides opening up my mouth about my status the only other way I would get caught is by going in front of a judge. Keeping my mouth shut was easy and not landing in front of a judge after probation was done, was even easier!
    My girlfriend wants to go to ireland. Looking into how that will go for me. I am pumped i didn’t get hit up going into secondary coming back!

  3. Finally Retired

    @ MC, David, S J, JohnDoeUtah

    Actually my response addressed David’s suggestion that if “S J“ Had made the 21-day notification of international travel before going to Mexico that perhaps the Watch Center would’ve then have sent a green notice to Mexico and he wouldn’t have been able to enter Mexico. But As we know, the Watch Center doesn’t need the notice to know we’re traveling abroad and issue their notices if they so desire – they scan all the Internacional travel manifests for sex offenders as a matter of course.

    With regard to the marked passport issue…. As I mentioned in a previous post, my charge in Florida while on vacation was for an offense that is not covered in my home state of residence for registration purposes. Also, for federal tier purposes, it is a tier 1 that ended after 10 years with my clean record (actually one lawyer told me it’s not even a tier one, because lewd exhibition doesn’t fall in a federal tier. I’m skeptical of this though because a minor witnessed it.).

    I am, however, still listed in Florida since I was initially registered there after my conviction before heading back Maryland. Dubiously. Florida doesn’t remove registrants even after they leave the state. The address they list for me is an old address where I lived when I was sentenced. I have never updated My information because it is not a legal requirement per state nor federal law. Because I appear in Florida’s registry I’m also on the National, albeit with no updates in 24 years as I said … A sort of “revenge listing.”

    (Does the actual Florida SOR statute define a covered SO as someone who lives, works, studies or at least visits Florida? Is there legal authority per Florida law to keep one on after leaving? If they justify the registry as a public safety measure to protect Floridians, then what public safety purpose would it serve to list out of state people without any updates, who don’t have an ongoing connection to the state? But this is a detour…).

    Coming back to the issue of the marked passport …the IML says that the SO passport marking applies to “registers sex offenders.” IOW, you have to be a current registrant. Once you’re off the registry, this marking therefore doesn’t apply -and even secondary is no longer an issue upon returning from international travels since you’re not actively on a registry. And we have read reports from former registrants that that in fact is the case -there’s no secondary after removal.

    The question that I have is whether I am an actual “registrant” as far as SORNA and IML go, for the purpose of the passport marking. IOW, would I be considered a “registrant” just because Florida has not removed me from their registry.

    SORNA itself only requires registration on the basis of living, working, or studying in a jurisdiction. The SORNA guidance says that individuals are to register in the state of conviction initially even if they don’t have a connection to the state of conviction and will serve their sentence outside the state. But the guidance also makes clear that there’s no federal obligation to update registration details after a SO leaves the state of original conviction nor for states to keep them on their registries thereafter…

    And in fact… in the Nichols case involving a former registrant who left Kansas for the Philippines, Kansas tried to assert jurisdiction by claiming that the state remained “involved” per SORNA because they still listed Nichols on the Kansas Registry. But The Supreme Court seemed to mock that claim, saying that SORNA makes clear that “involved” means that the offender lives, works, or studies in a state.

    The Court wrote –

    “The Government resists this straightforward reading of the statutory text, arguing instead that once an offender registers in a jurisdiction, “that jurisdiction necessarily remains ‘involved pursuant to subsection (a),’ because the offender continues to appear on its registry as a current resident.” Brief for United States 24. But §16913(a) lists only three possibilities for an “involved” jurisdiction: “where the offender resides, where the offender is an employee, and where the offender is a student.” Notably absent is “where the offender appears on a registry.” We decline the Government’s invitation to add an extra clause to the text of §16913(a). As we long ago remarked in another context, “[w]hat the government asks is not a construction of a statute, but, in effect, an enlargement of it by the court, so that what was omitted, presumably by inadvertence, may be included within its scope. To supply omissions transcends the judicial function.” Iselin v. United States, 270 U. S. 245, 251 (1926). Just so here.”

    Thus, in light of these, would someone in my shoes who’s not registered anywhere but still appears on the registry of original jurisdiction out of vengeance, without updates in so many years, still be legally considered a “registrant” for SORNA IML purposes – even after the SORNA term of registration is over per one’s federal tier?

    I do wonder..

    • TS

      @Finally Ret’d

      The dreaded marking applies to those who are covered because of an offense involving a minor, not carte blanche across the board to every person who has to register (as it appears you wrote above) because the marking text specifically calls out a minor. If they used carte blanche blanket covering to everyone who is forced to register, then they’d be incorrectly labeling people forced to register and thus subject to a defamation, libel, slander, or false light claim.

      • Finally Retired

        @ TS

        Actually the passport marking doesn’t apply just on the basis of a sex conviction involving a minor.

        *** Please everyone let’s be sure of the things we write here..

        Section 8 of IML covers the “UNIQUE PASSPORT IDENTIFIERS FOR COVERED SEX OFFENDERS.” While the title suggests the identifiers apply to “covered sex offenders” as defined in the definition section of IML (and would be “offense based”), Section 8 has it’s own definition of “covered sex offender”, which is: “(1) the term `covered sex offender’ means an individual who–(A) is a sex offender, as defined in section 4(f) of the International Megan’s Law to Prevent Child Exploitation and Other Sexual Crimes Through Advanced Notification of Traveling Sex Offenders; and (B) is currently required to register under the sex offender registration program of any jurisdiction;”

        In other words, the “branded passport” would apply to registrants currently required to register under the sex offender registration program of any jurisdiction who have a conviction against a minor.

        Therefore again I ask – am I currently required to register as a sex offender under the SOR program of Florida? To me the answer is clear -NO, because they have no jurisdiction over me in Maryland. Neithe Florida Law nor SORNA itself requires me to update the Florida registry nor am I subject to its numerous reporting requirements…

        My specific question is: am I a FLORIDA registrant for IML purposes, though I have no connection to that state nor required by any law to give updates.

        I think you all can guess my answer to that question..

        • M C

          @Finally Retired, while it may or may not have legal standing if challenged if you have registered at any time in Florida my understanding is the way it is being applied is that you have to register in their jurisdiction. You may not be required to update it in Florida but your still on it and that’s how they look at it. I do believe your legal interpretation of why it shouldn’t count may be used to successfilly challenge it if they mark your passport though.

        • TS

          @Finally retired

          I never said a conviction involving a minor was the only criteria but it is one of two criteria needing to be met for.the endorsement.

          More info here:

          https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/passports/passports-and-international-megans-law.html

          You can also find the answer to your question there through an email to the proper people.

          So, please, be sure what you write here because how you wrote it above implies it applies to everybody when it doesn’t. A covered person does not necessarily mean they’re going to receive the endorsement.

    • David

      @ Finally Retired: I too was convicted in Florida and moved to another State 20 years ago. To answer your questions: yes, Florida has an “eternal” SOR – they continue to list people after they have moved out-of-state and even continues to list people AFTER they have died. (It’s important that the public be notified of potential sex offending zombies buried in their neighborhoods.🙄) BUT… after 20 years, you can apply to have yourself removed from Florida’s SOR. ( I don’t know the details. You’d probably need to contact a Florida attorney.) Yes, Florida’s “eternal” SOR has been – and continues to be – challenged in the Courts. Again, I don’t have the details, but I believe a big case is currently making its way through the system. You may find more information at: https://www.floridaactioncommittee.org.
      Good luck! 👍

      • Finally Retired

        Yes, Thank you – I hired a Florida SO lawyer earlier this year. We’ll file the petition for removal just as soon as the Florida courts physically reopen; my lawyer strongly suggested that we wait until we’re able to make an in-person appearance before a judge. He has a better than 50/50 track record on these petitions.. Fingers crossed 🤞 for sure.

        @ M C I agree with you -they’re likely to see my name on the Florida registry and automatically order the endorsement on my passport. But … SCOTUS in the Nichols case basically said (and unanimously) that if the individual doesn’t live, work, or study in the state where he’s listed that the mere appearance of a person on a registry carries *zero* weight as far as SORNA is concerned. Right there in black and white, by the US Supreme Court.

        At least I won’t have to provide the 21-day travel notice since I’m long past my tier’s time of registration.

        Even if I succeed in my removal petition, I’ll still follow all this because much of it is so over the top.

        Thanks again all who commented! And TS – I may have misunderstood your earlier comment. No sweat.

        • M C

          @Finally Retired, you should probably follow this if you are not in a registry anywhere anyway because there’s always a good possibility some jurisdiction at the very least proposed some sort of retroactive application for your situation at some point.

        • TS

          @Finally Ret’d

          No worries. Best of luck with the filing you are attempting.

        • David

          @ Finally Retired: A disturbing note for your awareness: I believe the proposed new federal SORNA rules* (which are discussed on this website) might – if finalized – retroactively place you back on an SOR (a federal SOR). The proposed rules change* would require those convicted of some offenses to register four times per year for life.

          *This is a huge, overreaching, draconian expansion of Federal registration requirements. 😡

  4. CB

    Regarding travel overseas: We all know that changes are coming to Europe in 2022 with the ‘visa light’ and we don’t know how that will impact us. If there are other destinations that are more attractive to me – let’s say somewhere in Africa or Republic of Georgia, and therefore harder to get to, will I be able to travel there from the US? I have noticed that all flights to those more distant places require plane changes in Europe or other countries that could be problematic.
    How does it work when you aren’t exiting the airport and therefore customs, but are changing planes in a country that may not be as friendly? My point is that if EU countries become a problem, does that effectively shut off the rest of the world? I’m in the process of making very tentative plans for about a year from now when I can travel, but will still be on the registry. Thanks for any input or ideas.

    • Lake County

      The rule of thumb is to never have a landing in a country that you’re excluded from. Many here have said to never have a landing in Canada or UK. The manifest is always looked at for all arrivals and departures. Even if you don’t intend to leave the plane.

    • Mike G

      @CB

      I can share my personal experience from the past 3 years, which is therefore anecdotal, but maybe a little helpful.
      I have had no issues flying into or changing planes in any Schengen European country. The ones I recall changing planes in are Munich, Zurich, Frankfurt, Lisbon, Paris, Athens, Amsterdam and Rome. Non-Schengen countries where I have changed planes with no issue include Moscow and Istanbul.
      I also changed planes in London (Heathrow) with no trouble, though I don’t recommend it. First, I was on my way home, so I hoped if there was a problem they would have just made sure I caught my flight home. Second, I flew in on British Airways and flew out on British Airways so I never left the transfer area, and there was no passport scan. Had I needed to change terminals, I suspect things may have been less pleasant.
      Outside of Europe, I changed planes in Taipei with no issues, and I also changed planes in Toronto with no issues, which surprised the heck out of me after what I’ve heard about Canada. They scanned my passport, and still let me right through into the airport lobby where I could have walked out the door and caught a taxi downtown, with my 5 hour layover, but I didn’t press my luck. I still think they let my out by mistake, because my customs slip had a big X through it and my wife’s did not.
      I hope that the new Europe visa doesn’t screw things up. Some believe they will only deny the visa based on crimes committed in the EU, and I hope they are right.

  5. Finally Retired

    @ M C – that’s an unhappy thought, but you’re absolutely right. 😔

  6. NorReb

    I am not a world traveler, but in 2015 I made my first trip to Việt Nam. I’ve become friends with many Vietnamese because of my help with their English over the years. I flew on Asiana Air and changed planes in South Korea. I made it through 2015, 2016, 2017, and the trip over in 2018. When I was at the airport in Hà Nội at check in I was told I couldn’t board, I wasn’t allowed in Korea. I asked why and they couldn’t tell me. I went back and found another hostel to stay for a couple nights and went to the US Embassy there. They took my passport and since it was July 4th so they were closed, but told me to come back the next day. I started thinking about it and I really didn’t feel safe going back to my own embassy so I booked a flight in East China Airlines going to Taipei, Taiwan. Actually the airport was easier to get to the connecting flight. In Korea you had to rescan your passport and go through immigration. In Taiwan you just went through a scanner. I got back to LAX and went through the usual second interview then out of the airport.
    I am finally getting ready to retire. I have been planning on this for a while, I have some friends I’ve help with English for a long time and they started calling me father. They are all married now and have families, I am hoping to go and live with them. One of my sons has apartments behind his shop and I plan on living in one of the apartments. ANYWAY, I applied for my new passport last May and finally got notice that is has been approved. That is what I have been waiting for. Last November I made a trip to Washington DC to talk to a representative at the Vietnamese Embassy. I took several emails from friends I’ve helped, and also from my sons and explained what I did over 20 years ago. The representative was impressed with the emails and especially the ones from my sons, that said they would welcome me, help me, and take care of me when I am old. He told me to send my passport when I receive it and he will get the tourist stamp on it and send it back. He suggested to go in with a tourist visa then talk to a lawyer there to get a work or business visa. He even said that I have his phone number and if I have problems at the airport to call him and he will help me get through immigration. I plan to retire there, in a recent conversation he mentioned the National Committee was planning on voting and passing a retirement visa.
    My question I need to know is, what do I have to do to exit the US legally so I don’t fear coming back to visit and have problems when I get here.
    I also would like to know, what I have read is the registration is only within the US borders. IF you no longer have an address within the US you are no longer required to register. I need to stay a US citizen for the Social Security, but I will have no ties or address here in the US. I will have my Vietnamese address, so with that I will apply for a new US passport living there. I live in California now, I was convicted in Arizona, but I sent the email when I left AZ and have been registering each year in CA. Now that I will be receiving my passport I need to really start finding out answers on how to do this. Of course, I can’t do anything until the US is off the ban list for travel. Any help, suggestions would be appreciated, I am just someone that is trying to live the rest of my life in peace.

    • A.D.A.T.

      @ NorReb

      I commend you for your effort, persistence, and patience. As far as I have read in different articles and blogs ( for what they are worth ) , leaving the U.S. for another living destination is fairly simple. In California you tell them you will be moving outside the U.S. . They will verify your new residence ( I don’t know what that procedure is ) and then they will remove you from the state registry. If you return, you must notify them if staying longer than the prescribed period. Basically it seems like it is the same as moving within the U.S. .
      Of course the real question is, why would you ever return.
      We all must face the reality that we are, for the vast majority of us, unwanted citizens. You have been fortunate to find a welcoming place that you can live out your life as a valued person, instead of being thought of as a piece of garbage.
      I wish you all the peace that you have been robbed of the last 20 yrs. also, if you need a roommate…………….😎🙏🏼

  7. Finally Retired

    @David – I’m way past my registration period for my tier 1 offense per federal SORNA. I was sentenced in ‘96 and with My clean record my federal sorna period of registration ended in 2006.

    SORNA Tier 1 says registration is for 10 years with a clean record and 15 otherwise, tolled from date of sentencing. These are automatic timeouts.. no need to petition for this.

    Maryland, my home state, doesn’t consider my offense to be a covered offense as far as the state registry is concerned.

    Not even Mr Barr’s revisions can change that.

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