International Travel 2024

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 2023, International Travel 2022, International Travel 2021, International Travel 2020 and International Travel 2019.

In this International Travel 2024 post, the information is identical to the International Travel 2023 post. We added a new post for 2024 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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I am a former registrant from Illinois which does not comply with SORNA. I had a low level offense, and I ended my registration commitment after 10 years on the registry in 2022. Looking to hear from other former IL registrants or from other non SORNA compliant states if once you no longer have to register in your home state are you considered a covered offender?   If I need to give 21 day notice before traveling internationally?

Hi, first let me say thank you to everyone involved with this site and discussion. Its been very informative and it’s nice to know others are having the same struggles.

My question is: I am required to register for an offense that did NOT have anything to do with minors. Is angel watch still going to notify other countries about me? And will I have the same difficulties as a “covered” offender? Thanks.

My husband and I are traveling to Germany this September. He is worried that he will not be able to go due to RSO and restrictions. After research and proper documentation on his passport, I believe we will only have to do 21 day notice to local authorities (that he is registered to) and Germany has zero restrictions. Can anyone confirm that we will be all set and he can relax and look forward to the trip!? Thank you

Help! I received the dreaded letter today revoking my passport. The huge issue, I’m flying to Europe in 15 days!! I already gave my notice and confirmed receipt with the cops. I also immediately made an appointment at the federal building in Westwood for an emergency passport. My question to all, hoping to alloe me to sleep for the next week prior to my appointment, can WE get an expedited passport? I read that the expedite can be as fast as 2 days but does that include us? Any confirmation would help settle my nerves! Thank you all!

There was a discussion regarding a person who went on a close circuit Cruise, did not exit the boat at the foreign countries and returned without an issue but it is likely that person will not be allowed to go on a cruise in this current time.
My question is what makes something international travel.
If it is closed circuit cruise so no passports are required and a person does not leave the boat, so like a stop on a flight from A to B but no leaving the plane then how is it international travel? is it international travel? It is the same idea of flying over another country while enroute to Alaska or a US island. So are you required to register for international travel if you fly over another country? What is the absolute definition of international travel? What about fishermen who go out and then come back are they doing international travel? It it continental cost that as recently been changed, is that the international travel line? Is it like traveling through states and some states you can take 9 days to visit and you are not having to register and some it is 24 hours you have to register? Are there different rules for different countries of what is considered international travel? Is it commerce so if you dont get off the boat and spend any money then is this visiting and traveling to another country? Is there an extended definition that covers everything and I missed it somewhere? I was under the belief that you needed a passport and stay as in sleep or at least be involved in commerce at some level for it to be international travel. I am still confused about the definition and what makes a stop over or a flyover or a sail past time considered or not considered international travel. Is it a clear definition to everyone else? and if I don’t even understand then how can you knowingly not inform something you and not everyone else is sure is international travel? So if you are on a boat trip that does not require a passport and you are not exiting a boat into another country then why would you know to register what makes it Cristal clear you are supposed to register? The cruz itself is amazing and by being cruise you are not anymore a danger to anyone than if you were at a mall or a hotel. Thank you.

I don’t think there’s a definitive answer to this question, but hoping to get some opinions anyway. My conviction is for voyeurism, which is a low level felony in my state since a camera was used. My state does not require registering for this, but SORNA says it should. My victim was under 18 at the time, so I’m sure stupid Satan’s Watch would like to make me persona non grata anywhere in the world.

I’m curious as to what you all might think will happen to me when I resume international travel next year. I know some have had notices sent even though they are no longer required to register. But I think some do not have notices sent after no longer registering?

I won’t have to have a marked passport or submit a 21 day travel notice, but I know Satan’s Watch might match NCIC data to passenger manifests which would ding me anyway I’m sure.

I wouldn’t be opposed testing how it goes as I’m big in the churning hobby (creatively collecting airline miles). The main thing I’d want to be careful with is not getting perma-banned from a country I care about if turned around. Also not flying 14 hours somewhere only to be immediately sent back. So if anyone has thoughts on somewhere to try that wouldn’t be too bad to be turned away from I’m totally down to try.

I know to be completely safe I should transit via the EU then to my final destination, but that would be a real pain for central/south America so I’m really curious how this goes for someone never registered. I’m also open to booking last minute (like a day or two before flight) if that might help stay under the radar.

Happy to hear opinions and speculation in addition to facts and experiences. Trying to develop some hypotheses to test.

Last edited 4 months ago by Sma88

Not sure anyone is interested but as I wrote before, I got the letter revoking my passport, which I have used for years, last week, and I have travel plans next week to the EU. I went to my appointment for a new immediate passport at the federal building in Westwood (Los Angeles). It will be ready for pick up THIS Thursday, 48 hours from application. At least they didn’t ruin my trip! So, to all, if you get this revocation, AND your travel plans are within 2 weeks, you CAN get an immediate new passport, for a mere $225.

This may have been answered in the past, but I’m still confused. I called the police station where I register in Chicago, and the officer I spoke with assured me that in Illinois it is not required or even permitted to give a 21-day advance notice of foreign travel. But, I keep reading that it’s a federal law and you can be stopped at the airport and arrested if you don’t do it. No, in Illinois, the officer insisted, you just register three days in advance of leaving (“change of address”), just as though you were moving to another address in Illinois or another state. Simply specify the first foreign address (not even your entire itinerary). Then, when you return you go in again and register your return to your home here.

I have read Illinois is not a SORNA compliant state. Is this what makes it different? Is it even possible to give a 21-day advance notice if you are registered in Illinois?

My wife and I are going to Germany this summer, and I’m not worried about German customs (supposedly no problem), just US law. I have a passport marked in the back. I was a lucky early victim, before they moved it to the first page.

Here is my story from when I visited my birth country the Philippines. I was officially been off the registry thanks to Janice on March 2023, my crime is a federal offense(CP). I booked my flight for Feb. 6 through EVA Air from LAX and bound for Taiwan as my lay then to Clark International Airport. I have dual citizenship Filipino/US, I did not provide 21 days notice since I am no longer required to register to LE. I used my Filipino passport upon checking in at the airline with no issues. I got to Taiwan with no problem as well, Taoyuan Into Apt is a nice Airport, I was there for about 2 two-hour layovers and went to lounges to refresh and eat something and drink some wine for free due to having a membership to Priority Pass. Then I boarded my last flight heading to Clark Intl Apt, it was a 2-hour flight. It was a fast process, I went to immigration and handed in both passports, and they scanned my Filipino passport, took a photo of me, and then checked my US passport, stamped both passports, and off my way. It was a smooth process and no hassles. I was there for 13 nights and stayed at a hotel. I left the Philippines on Feb. 21, I used my US passport when I checked in to EVA Air, layover again to Taiwan and it was about 5 hours before heading back to LAX. As usual no problems and used the lounges to dine and wine while waiting to board. It was an 11-hour flight. I used the mobile app called MPC when going through US Customs, I handed in my US passport and took my photo, and there was no problem at all, overall it was a smooth process.

Are there notices for people who have to register for adult offenses or is it just for minor offenses? Like would it okay be traveling to South America or even Mexico? [ Adult SA Crime, State Level, in an non SORNA compliant state] Is there anyone here with an adult conviction that has to register that has international travel experience? Would like to talk/know more. or if anyone is planning on to.

Has there been any state level expo facto cases started on the international travel rule? Have any supporting the removal of registry learned things from cases challenging the expo facto of international travel ( and domestic travel for that matter and what cases) in which the next batter up against the continued increase of rules beyond the initial should use or try or avoid? Also isn’t the registry itself preventing people into some countries? Such as it is not your crime, you could pee on a bush and be a level 1 registrant in some states, so it is jsut the registry preventing the entry to some countries is this true?

I just spent most of the free time I’ve had in the past 10 days or so reading every comment posted to this thread since June 2021. Ignoring the effects this had on my sanity and mental health, I like to think I’ve learned a lot about traveling with a prior sex related conviction. It’s obvious though that there are a lot of holes in the data and missing pieces to still be filled in.

I have some, but not a lot, of skill with organizing and analyzing data. I’ve been around this forum for probably 9 months or so now but only commented a few times. My plea and resulting conviction just happened last fall and I’m on probation until end of 2024. Once my probation is over though, I hope to get back to traveling as I did before my arrest.

Even after all of the reading I’ve done here in the past 10 or so days, I’m already having trouble remembering the specifics of some of the travel reports we’ve gotten here that happened a year or two ago. We really need a better way to collect and store trip reports here.

I think I remember some comments I read, maybe as recently as December of 2023, suggesting the same. I think maybe Notorious as well as another one or two had said as much?

I’d be willing to team up with a few of you to collaborate on how to get more data, and how to use it more effectively.

Anyone interested?

Has anyone had success with just a layover in london?

I have an SO conviction adult related. My state does note require a 21 day travel notice, but do I need to contact SORNA email and still let them know? It is a state offense and not federal. I am not quite sure…Is anyone traveling and is an registrant for adult convictions and having any person insight as well.

Look, I get everybody wants to fulfill the Fed 21-day international travel notification requirement regardless of whether your local registering office accepts it or not, such as what happens in Illinois when it’s only 3 days prior to travel. I would advise an abundance of caution when it comes to that if it is less than 21 days.

Reason being is you could fulfill the Feds needs to satisfy the law and notify your registering office 21 days in advance of it by mail, etc, where then the registering office could do nothing but hold it until the required time to process it (hope they do) or do nothing with it and actually toss (reject) it since it’s not in their window of time. You are completely relying on them then to fulfill their end of the process as detailed on the website link below. If they decide that you have notified them too early in their processing cycle, then you could be hosed when you try to board your international flight if they don’t do their part and you didn’t verify the notification downstream.

Traditionally, Judges have laid it upon everybody to know the proper process and procedures when it comes to laws, such as this. I can’t tell you if you have an affirmed defense by trying to satisfy the federal law when the state doesn’t use federal law in guiding their processing on this topic. You cannot appease two masters when it comes to this because if you try to, you could surely drive yourself crazy and spend a lot more time and money on it than what you really want to by mail, etc. I’m not advising you one way or another, but just trying to bring out the reality of trying to satisfy both the state and the Feds if the state is not in step with Feds.

SORNA Travel notification

I am a NY registrant (not on probation). In past years, when I went to report international travel, I just went to the NYPD SO unit (as I was instructed to when I moved here). Last time in 2022, they told me my (14 day) vacation couldn’t be reported 21 days in advance, it was too early, so I went in later and filled out the change of address form (they didn’t have any other process for reporting international travel). I am scheduled to travel to a Schengen country in less than 21 days. When I called NYPD, they told me they do not record international travel less than 10 days. Something felt off about that, so I tried calling the NY State Registry today. On the phone, they were confused and said the US Marshals has a form I can fill out, and that I should talk with them. When I emailed the Registry, they just sent me the US Marshals form and said I should fill it out and submit it to them 21 days in advance. I asked them via email, what if it’s less than 21 days? They said I should submit it ASAP and they’ll forward it on. When I asked the same question on the phone, they said I should submit it because “Better late than never”.

I’m devastated because that’s not exactly reassuring that my situation meets the criteria for the exception to the 21 day rule, and so I might not be able to go. I’m trying to get assurances from NY State, the US Marshals, and DOJ that I’m okay with short notice, either because NY isn’t SORNA compliant (as of the latest info I found in 2022), or because NY didn’t inform me of my obligation (international travel reporting isn’t on my registry requirements paperwork for NY and the NY Registry website also doesn’t mention it). Does this sound right? Or should I just not travel?

I am a current registrant in the US and am about to travel to the Maldives. Does anyone have any experience to share there? I’m a bit worried about immigration because there is not much info out there! I will also have a connecting flight in Abu Dhabi. Should I have any concerns?

Has anyone been to the Maldives?! Would love some feedback!! I haven’t traveled internationally yet and there’s not too much info on this one? I have no clue what to expect at immigration!

When you take a cruise do you have to go through customs and show you passport every time you go ashore for a day-long shore excursion? We are going to be in the Mediterranean, stopping in mostly Schengen countries, so I’m not expecting any issues, but what about a cruise that visits countries where we would normally be turned away. I know Alaska cruises that stop in Canada on the way are a no-no. What about the Caribbean, like the Panama Canal? Please let me know from your personal experience (don’t guess).

Ive posted previously in the 2023 forum about some issues I’ve had visiting Spain (Barcelona) the last few times I’ve visited, including a visit from police at my hotel. Well, earlier this month I returned to Spain for a work trip and once again ran into issues. 

I arrived to Barcelona via Paris on Sunday (2/4). Police were waiting for me as I got off the plane in Barcelona. I was questioned, asked why I was there, where I was staying, etc., then they sent me on my way.  I see a lot of reports on here claiming that if you avoid flying directly into Spain you won’t have issues, and that is just not true. 

Two days later (Tuesday), I awoke to police outside my hotel room. They told me “don’t worry we aren’t arresting you” (why on earth would I be arrested?!). I was once again questioned, asked why I was here, how long I’m staying, etc. they went back to their car and provided me with a piece of paper and told me to show this if I’m stopped by police again. Had no other issues the rest of my trip (trip was only 6 days long). 

I’m at a complete loss as to why this is happening to me. I do not have a stamped passport. My case did not involve a child, I did not serve jail time, & I have not had anything so much as a traffic ticket since 2011 when this occurred. I was given a 10 year registration requirement from my state, but after 5 years I moved to CA and was categorized into a Tier 2 (20 year) (which I’m currently trying to appeal.)

Has anyone experienced this (police visiting hotel, etc.)? I just have a feeling it’s got something to do the police officer submitting my 21 day travel paperwork. He is not the most helpful, I don’t get the best feeling from him but can’t exactly put my finger on it.

im thankful they don’t just send me on a flight back home, but the harassment and stress I feel before I leave, and during my stay, is so debilitating. I just want to understand what the issue is. I hope to travel to Italy soon and don’t want this to happen all over again.

It does seem to me that your police officer is causing you this extra hassle. I haven’t heard of this level of scrutiny except from your reports here. Unfortunately that’s something you have little control of as long as you remain actively on the registry and as long as that individual remains your cop. Too bad…. Of course we can only surmise based on the limited information here.

i want to clarify that when I say don’t lie on the form I really meant don’t make statements that can be proven wrong. I didn’t mean to say not to venture to other places outside your declared itinerary, because those are allowed so long as they’re “spontaneous “. I suppose some hellbent officer could try to get your records of when you booked a hotel stay in an undeclared country, for example, to prove you had planned going there all along and therefore misled on the form, but that’s unlikely. To play it extra extra safe I’d just book everything for that undeclared destination while in the declared country. Of course if you’re not required to file the 21-day travel Notice then these machinations do not apply to you except if you plan to go to a restrictive country and want to avoid the “Angel” folks sending Notices to the other countries.

But my hunch, based on your narrative, is that your cop may be trying to catch you in a lie on the form. Be super careful here.

Hello. I am wondering if anyone here have an adult conviction requiring to register and is travelling? I am curious if anyone has had trouble traveling at all.

ASIA UPDATE

Disclaimer: I am no longer listed on any registry. I no longer have a marked passport. My conviction was 29 years ago and involved a minor (though I still maintain that the incident was so minor that it wasn’t really a crime). I spent 30 days in county jail and 170 days on work release with an ankle monitor.

HONG KONG
We flew directly (on one ticket) from San Francisco to Hong Kong. We had no issues at all. We were treated exactly the same as everyone else. I think I can safely conclude that no notice was sent by Angel Watch. We actually left Hong Kong and re-entered twice, so three times through Hong Kong immigration. Hong Kong was using facial recognition big time. For example, when we boarded our final flight out of Hong Kong yesterday, we were allowed on the plane simply by looking at a camera. They didn’t even look at our boarding pass or passport.

VIETNAM
We applied for eVisas about 10 days before our trip, and they were granted with no issues at all. No problems with Vietnam immigration.

CAMBODIA
We got visas on arrival at the brand-new airport in Siem Reap. No trouble at all.

CHINA
We walked into Shanghai from our cruise ship. Passports were scanned with no issues. Visas were not required because Shanghai had just implemented a 72-hour visa exemption program (to help bolster tourism). This was very good, because the Chinese visa application asks about any criminal record.

KOREA
No visa required. Passport scanned at Korean Immigration with no issues.

TAIWAN
No visa required. Passport scanned at Taiwan immigration with no issues.

PHILIPPINES
No visa required. Passport scanned by Philippine immigration with no issues.

JAPAN
BIG trouble here… apparently because I was honest. We had arrived by cruise ship at non-major city in Japan. The Japanese entry form asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime (of any kind). I figured that if they had access to USA records, there would be no point in lying, so I answered yes. When I got to the immigration agent, she asked me what my crime was. I told her the specific charge, but her English was poor, and she couldn’t understand. So she called for a supervisor. He wanted to interview me, but his English was also poor, so he found someone to translate. They literally had to clean out a storage room, and carry a desk and chairs into it, so they could interview me. In other words, either I was the only passenger out of 2000+ on the ship that had ever committed a crime, or I was the only one that admitted it. The interview started out with the agent telling me, through the translator, that since I had been convicted of a crime, I was not allowed to enter Japan. This remained the decision for over an hour while my wife and I argued about how long ago the conviction was, how minor it was, the differences between jail time and prison time, etc. We finally convinced the agent to research more, and he actually went out and found a copy of the Japanese penal code and brought it into the interview. After looking at it for a while, he put his finger in the book at the page he was looking at, took the book with him, and said he needed to make a call. When the agent returned, about 15 minutes later, he said tell me again what your sentence was. So, I told him my original sentence was 300 days. “Are you sure?” “Because we have ways of investigating to see if this is true!” So, I assured him it was only 300 days. Then he said that there is a provision in the law that lets him permit me into Japan with that sentence from that long ago. With great relief, I was allowed into Japan.
Because the ship would leave Japan to go to Korea, and then come back to Japan, requiring this same immigration process, I asked if I was going to have to go through this again in another city with another agent. Amazingly, he suggested that next time I should mark ‘No’ to the question about being convicted of a crime.

My takeaways from the Japan experience:

(1) Japan must not have instant or automatic access to USA criminal convictions. If they did, surely they would have accessed my records rather than take my word for it. I should mention that the immigration process included fingerprinting as well as a facial recognition scan. The combination of the passport scan, the fingerprints, and the facial scan, did not bring up any USA nor Interpol records, so I’m guessing they only checked against their own records.

(2) I don’t think that they ever realized or cared that my conviction was sexually based. The only thing they were concerned about, in the end was the length of my sentence, and how long ago.

(3) Possibly, had I flown into Japan, the immigration agent would have more experience on the criteria for letting someone in, as opposed to an agent in a smaller city, with less experience.

(4) I think that an Angel Watch notification would be even more difficult to overcome, especially if someone marked ‘No’ to having a conviction.

With the exception of getting into Japan, our entire 42-day land and sea vacation was no different than it would have been for someone who had never been convicted – I didn’t even get sent to Secondary!

Have any current US PFR’s traveled through Abu Dhabi on a connecting flight?

Does anyone know if the 21 day notice is required for all registrants or just IML?