Having a criminal record can make a lot of things more challenging, including travel. Most laws will differ depending on the state or country you’re traveling to.
If you’re looking to travel aboard, you may wonder how your criminal record can come into play.
Do countries share criminal records? Read below to find out!
What is a Criminal Record?
A criminal record is the government’s way of keeping track of all arrests and convictions an individual has accrued. They serve different purposes, including helping identify offenders and conducting background checks.
They are stored in computer databases. If you want to see your criminal record, you entitled to a copy under the Freedom of Information Act.
What’s On a Criminal Record?
Criminal records include demographic information as well as the types of crimes you’ve committed. It will also include outstanding arrest warrants and all fingerprint data.
How Do Different Countries Check Criminal Records?
Criminal records cross state and local lines so that all domestic law enforcement can see your criminal record. They also cross international borders. Most foreign officials do not check for criminal records, but they have every right to do so if they choose.
Each country can handle criminal records however they want, depending on their laws. INTERPOL tracks international criminal records in their database for all participating countries. It could be helpful to visit their site before you travel.
In general, you’re more likely to be denied entry with a violent criminal record. When you arrive in a new country, you may be asked questions about your criminal record, and you should answer truthfully.
The U.S. is strict and frequently denies entry to immigrants with criminal records. Canada is also stringent, but they do make exceptions based on the type of crime committed.
If you’re traveling to the E.U., you shouldn’t have any problems unless you’ve spent more than three years in prison or have a history of smuggling or drug offenses resulting in prison time.
But, if you’re ever asked about your criminal record on government forms, you should always answer honestly.
If you’re coming from the U.S. into other countries, you’ll generally be given access, but be wary of possible rejection. All countries have the right to deny access for any reason, including for a criminal record.
For most countries, all information regarding the sharing and collecting of criminal records is found on the immigration website. You should also check with a lawyer to see how this may impact immigration status.
Next time you’re asked, “do countries share criminal records,” you’ll have the correct answer. If you’re traveling abroad with a criminal record, you must be aware of how it could impact you. Not all countries operate the same way, so should always make sure to do thorough research.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
And if you’re interested in other legal topics, make sure to check out the rest of our blog. We have some awesome articles you’re sure to love!