International Travel 2023

This post is intended as a place for discussions about International Travel ONLY.

For more information and previous discussions on the topic, please see International Travel 2022, International Travel 2021, International Travel 2020 and International Travel 2019.

In this International Travel 2023 post, the information is identical to the International Travel 2022 post. We added a new post for 2023 in order to keep the discussion manageable. Please help us by sticking to the topic of International Travel only.

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From 2020: 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 activation of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) for such travelers, beginning sometime in 2023 – which may or may not take criminal convictions into account. ETIAS Fact Sheet April 2018July 2018

2. Resources

Forms

Publications

Older Posts

 

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US Passport Processing Times Are Finally Getting Shorter (Conde’ Nast Traveler, 9 Nov 2023)
US travelers may finally be free from the bureaucratic scourge of months-long passport wait periods, for the first time in three years. According to the latest estimates, Americans could have their little blue books processed in less than a month.

On November 6, the State Department shortened its passport processing times to 7 to 10 weeks for regular applications and 3 to 5 weeks for expedited service. That’s a significant improvement from earlier this year, when wait times ballooned to as long as 13 weeks for routine service (not including mailing time), thanks to a glut of applications during the popular spring and summer travel seasons.

Nothing mentioned of those in the fine print who need extra processing time…

Posting here too:

Great Florida attorney:

RON KLEINER, ESQ.

1-954-540-0170

Ron got me removed from the Florida Registry. I cannot speak highly enough of Ron – he really knows the law and he fights like Hell for us!!
👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

– David🔱

I am flying from California to Berlin in a few months. I change planes in Copenhagen and have an almost two hour layover. Anyone see a problem with this? I am off the registry and have a 1203.4
release of penalties and disabilities for a felony conviction (with a minor) that is almost 39 years old.Passport is not marked.

Hi all
im heading to Puerto Rico in January. Originally registered in California for possession of cp. now registered in Texas. I will be there for 6 days. Do I need to register with the local authorities and do I need a 21 day notice to travel there. Thanks

The only arrival that’s relevant is your first arrival in a Schengen country which it sounds like in this case Rob is France do you really mean you just walked out of the airport without going through customs and having your passport examined and stamped. All flights after that would be domestic flights to the other countries in Europe and no you would not be required to go through customs upon those arrivals.

I’m especially interested if anybody has arrived for the first time in Schengen in Spain because that has been a source apparently of a little bit of problem lately and I’m thinking of flying non-stop from the US to Spain next summer.

Good morning all from Spain! I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I am hoping someone has recently returned to the US through LAX and can give me some idea of the time delay at secondary. I’d like my sister to not have to wait hours for me when she picks me up. Thank you in advance for your help!

I am on the registry in Texas and planning a 10 day trip to Italy. I am aware of the 21-day advanced notice requirement, however, just curious, what tells us (those on a state registry), that we would not need to notify someone (local law enforcement) in the foreign country we visit? Thanks in advance!

Does anyone have experience getting into England and Ireland after removal from the registry? Would it help if the first stop of my travel is to a Schengen country (German)?

Yours is a very good question. Without triggering a Notice by flying directly from the USA, might we stand a chance of getting into the UK if we fly directly from Europe? (At least for those of us who don’t need to provide the 21-day advance notice of international travel). perhaps worth a shot!

I wish people would stop trying to get into countries we know they can’t get into. Try something new, like going to Albania, Georgia, or even an African country. Or try going to a place outside of Europe with the mark on the front page of the passport. Ireland, UK and Asia are history. So you need to give it up!

I have dual citizenship; US and UK which is my place of birth. Level1 New York State please God done January 2025, after 20 years! I have always been told by top lawyers in London that under no circumstances could I, as a UK passport holder(and receiver of state pension) be denied entry. Mind you, after watching the pro-Hamas demos, I have no desire to visit!

OK, I just bought my flight from LAX to San Fran, then I will wait for the flight I booked for Việt Nam. I have my evisa and airfare to go. I need was convicted in AZ, and was off probation and now I am living in California. I need to get this thing going, I need to make a appointment with the LA detective to fill out the paperwork to go. I have the address where I will be living, I will stay there around 7 months then come back to completely liquidate everything I have left here. BUT when I leave in January I won’t have any address here and I need to make sure the detective knows I won’t have an address here. I will be coming back to the US in 7 or so months as visiting and my round trip ticket will be from VN to US then back to VN. I know I will still be sent to secondary, but it will be great pleasure to tell them I am just here for a visit. 🙂 I have to keep my US citizenship for my Social Security. I will be on a tourist visa so I will have to apply for a new visa each 90 days and go out of the country and come back in, but I will be looking for ways to get something better. I have adopted family there…. kind of and I heard there is a way to fill out paperwork to add me to their family.
I am scared. I saw what this Devil’s Flight can do. I have been there 4 times and I have always been the best model US citizen possible! Coming home in 2018 I couldn’t get my boarding pass because S Korea wouldn’t allow me to catch my connecting flight there. I came back through Taipei, Taiwan. I booked a direct flight this time so I hope there won’t be any problems. I live in a small sailboat and when I leave I will still pay the slip fee, but I will take off the “live aboard” fee so then I won’t have an address here. I hope after a while living in VN I will check on a new passport since I have an out of country address. I hope this all works out. I have many friends and adopted family there and I look forward to living the rest of my life there, hopefully in peace. WISH me luck!! hehe ^_^

So is it safe to have a 1-hour layover in Madrid?

I just looked at general comments about cruises and travel, the link states Norwegian cruise lines reserves the right not to allow passengers listed on registry to travel. Has anyone been on a Norwegian cruise recently??

I booked a trip from Hawaii to Tahiti and now I’m very concerned.

For those who may experience international travel challenges, https://pfr.guide is available. You can research and report problems.

🤷🏻‍♂️ Does anyone here have Global Entry or TSA PreCheck?
If so, what has your experience been with reentering the US and being sent to secondary? 🤔
Also, are you a current registrant?
Or no longer required to register?
Thank you, any and all! 🙂

Leaving in a few days for Germany to enjoy the world famous Christmas Markets. 21 day notice submitted, new marked passport in hand, fiance’ super excited, copies of all -a-rework both printed and digital copies on phone. Looking forward to trying glühvein. Planning to visit Munich and Freiburg. Fiance’ has relatives in Munich. I’ve never been to Europe. Anyone have any advice? Food? Drink? Sites?

Well I had to cancel my cruise from Hawaii to Tahiti, it seems there are fewer cruise lines which allow PFR’s to sail on their ships. This is very frustrating to say the least.

I wish everyone the best with their travel plans!!

Hi all,

My daughter is marrying a young man from Scotland (they both live and work in the U.S. at the moment) and will likely move back to the UK, probably London in the coming year or two.

My questions are:

  1. Has anyone on this site ever successfully applied, got permission, and actually entered the UK as a PFR under special circumstances. i.e. children living in the UK, visiting sick relative, etc?
  2. If so, how did you get permission or what is the permission process look like? Start withthe UK embassy?

I am fully prepared for the responses that say, no way, not going to happen. I have gone back many years on this topic on this travel thread and it looks pretty hopeless, the UK seem pretty adamant about keeping all PFRs out, but I wanted to ask to see if anyone had even attempted this.

Many thanks in advance.

DR in NY

Info about Spain:
There was a post in August about a person trying to enter Spain from the US with a stamp and the advanced notice from Angel Watch. This is my response. Although it has some things that aren’t generic, some of you may find the information useful if you ever wish to try and live in Spain:

The issue as notapas4u has not mentioned in this post is civil commitment. I spoke directly to with an ACSOL affiliated lawyer about this. Any civil commitment (especially paired with a SO – Sex Offense conviction which was more than likely to have deemed notapas4u an SVP – Sexually Violent Predator) will be subject to heightened scrutiny in the US Marshalls office. This lawyer involved with ACSOL shared this with me. Moreover, they stated that simply because 2 registrants have been denied entry because of unknown circumstances we can’t just rule out Spain as a place to travel to or as a port of entry to the Schengen Area. Clearly there are things omitted from the original story and the US Marshalls would have definitely made Spain aware of an SVP attempting to entry the country. Fair or not, thats what I spoke about directly with the lawyer. The other instance is a person who was denied entry due to lack of itinerary and return flights if I am not mistaken. We need to use a little common sense here. If any country, including the Schengen area, will be notified of the arrival of a PFR why not have the PFR ensure that all i’s are dotted a T’s are crossed? In this case the traveler would be playing with fire. If you follow the rules and your case isn’t something that causes you to be potentially deemed an SVP than you will more than likely be fine entering Spain or any Schengen country. Especially if you have expunged your record in which case you can legally say– per Spanish Law, you do not have any convictions (antecedentes penales). So in this case ETIAS wouldn’t inherently be so detrimental. Obviously when you try and go possibly carrying copies of the court orders might help. You would need to make sure the law in other Schengen countries applies as well. Although I would hedge my bets that your port of entry country’s laws will dictate here.

FWIW, I am looking at applying for a Digital Nomad Visa for living in Spain which I will eventually (hopefully) convert to residency and eventually citizenship. I am fortunate enough to live in California and can not only get my offense (Felony stalking reduced to a misdemeanor and misdemeanor 647.6 child annoyance) expunged, but also sealed. Clearly this won’t eliminate the record from the FBI database, but it shows the record being cleaned up. When viewed under Spanish Law, this equates to the offense never having occurred. I actually spoke with 2 Criminal Lawyers in Spain and 3 Immigration Lawyers in Spain and that is their consensus. Although I am thinking to use my Honduran Passport to apply for the visa since it wont have the stamp (trying to minimize risk). I will still notify angel watch but travel with the Honduran Passport. After speaking directly with Spanish Lawyers I am relieved and hopeful the visa will come through. Will I risk denial into Spain flying directly into Madrid? Yes. Will refusal be less likely due to having a Visa? Absolutely.

This isn’t an apples to apples comparison to notapas4u, but there is more to this story that we should unpack. Moreover the CNP (Spanish National Police) stated to notapas4u that exclusion using only the stamp isn’t something they regularly practice. This should be an important note for every PFR, when you are asked to jump through bureaucratic hoops you need to make sure you jump through all. You will face heightened scrutiny. Have your documents in order, have your itinerary in order, have your return in order. And, unfortunately, if you are labeled an SVP at some point, I would deduce that there will be issues getting into any country due to the warning that Angel Watch may send. Who knows what they say, but you can probably hedge your bets its not flattering.

Are travel notifications being sent to other countries about former RSOs? I was recently denied boarding en-route to South Africa.

I have NOT been a RSO since 2013 and have traveled throughout Africa extensively. This year, South Africa added a new requirement to pre-register prior to boarding flights.

I received my boarding passes from Houston to Doha and Doha to Durban. Upon landing in Doha, an airline employee was waiting for me to let me know they received an email from South African immigration not to let me board the flight to Durban. Therefore, I stayed in Doha for a few days and booked a return ticket home.

I have not been able to get an answer as to why I denied entry from the airline or South African government yet. All my requests have gone silent.

MDfromCa mentioned the possibility of encountering problems when traveling to Europe if you don’t have a clear itinerary. I’d appreciate some clarification on this.

I had planned to fly into ROME from the USA, stay a few days, then from there fly to Athens and on to some Greek islands for several weeks. Then possibly fly into Turkey and stay a couple of weeks before heading back to the USA. Question is, how should I package all this travel to avoid suspicion.

To reduce the potential for Notices to be sent to each of the countries that I plan to visit I was thinking of creating several itineraries… one for flying directly into ROME (entry point into Europe) and then book the other flights separately.

so, in my case, I was thinking of perhaps book a round trip into Rome directly from the USA, with a return flight date of like 6 weeks after my arrival date. Then, separately book the other flights within Europe to the places I mentioned above. I would have to return to ROME from Greece (or Turkey ) to catch the outbound flight to the USA.

Any insights/suggestions would be greatly welcomed and appreciated.

JFK Secondary Experience

Yesterday I returned from overseas through JFK airport. The initial interaction resulted in me being taken to secondary, as expected. The officer was polite and within a few minutes the secondary officer handed me my passport and all appeared to be good.

Then I asked why this continues to happen despite my having submitted all the proper forms, etc. He asked if I was aware what was on the last page of my passport, and I said I was. When I asked again why I still had to go through secondary every time even though my paperwork was always in order, he announced loudly so the whole room could hear, “Because you’re a registered sex offender.”

Shocked, I asked him why he felt it necessary to announce this to the whole room after I’d already acknowledged that I was aware? He had no answer other than to tell me I was done and to leave. When I asked how to file a complaint the officer at the main desk told me to leave.

After leaving the room I asked another officer who had been in there when it happened how to file a complaint, and he said “I suggest someone in your situation not to do that.”

In baggage claim I asked yet another officer how to file a complaint, and she asked what happened. She was shocked that the previous officer had announced this out loud and told me to file online. She also did explain to me why going to secondary is always required – Officers at the primary interaction point don’t have the option to click on admit for anyone meeting certain requirements (felony conviction, sex offender registry, etc.) Even if they wanted to, their screens don’t permit it and a senior office in secondary must click on the button after checking the status more completely.

Seems to me that with the billions spent on software and computer systems over the years this could be automated so that the primary officers wouldn’t have a problem admitting us, but they simply don’t want to. They would rather anyone with previous history have this done manually.

Not sure if it’s worth my time to file a complaint of not.

some folks on this forum have mentioned the Freedom of Information Act allows a path for current and former registrants to ask federal agencies if any alerts were sent to other countries.

can anyone please provide advice to do this? I really appreciate any help

I am not sure how to ask this. When I registered last time I told the officer I was leaving the country one day to live my retirement in Việt Nam. I told her I was getting some healthcare things taken care of and then I was going to go. Now, I have my visa email saying I have permission to enter the country and I plane tickets bought, I am supposed to leave on the 13th of January 2024. About 30 days. The officer I talked to is out of the station and won’t be back until Dec 26. There is a message on her phone number saying if I need to register I can to the Southeast Station Tuesday or Wednesday and not appointment is needed. I don’t need to register, I need to fill out the exit form so I can go. Should I go there Tuesday and ask about it?? I think I will go maybe Friday and ask someone about filling out the form. Oh, this is in California.
I have the address for the place I plan to stay, and I have my tickets. I don’t have a return date and I bought a one way ticket. I think I need to try and go there Friday. I am worried now about getting the form filled out and sent before the 21 days. 🙁