37 Comments

  1. tom

    I wonder if anyone has info or experience regarding New York rso rules. SORNA says everyone has to notify the feds about international travel. New York has opted OUT of SORNA. Would that mean that a NY rso is NOT required to notify the feds ?

    • Tom

      So you may be referring to the issue of NY opting out in 2011 (which is old) that had to do with registering young (juvenile) offenders. This is not new. The SORNA regulation is clear – if you travel without the required notification – you are in fact in violation of SORNA (and probably in violation of your own SOR rules). I am not a lawyer – just someone who has spent years educating myself on these issues. I would consult a lawyer before ever considering not complying with any provisions in SORNA. In the interim, I recommend you comply with SORNA for every international trip if you are required to register on any SOR anywhere in the US. It is not worth the risk of a violation.

  2. Tony

    After getting off probation I have traveled a few times internationally. But I haven’t tried to travel since IML has gotten passed. I have been to French Polynesia/ Tahiti, Fiji, and the Bahamas. Each time I make sure to call the American consulate in the country and ask them of SOR are allowed into the country. Sometimes I get an immediate answer and sometimes it takes a few days. But they’re generally nice about it. I would just recommend that if you do plan a trip and you’re not totally sure if you’re going to get in to buy some travel insurance so you’re not out all your money.

    • Tom

      So here is my latest travel (April 2018) update since IML passed ( I travelled on my old passport which does not yet carry the new designation and does not yet expire until the end of this year). Just returned from the Netherlands and France. Flew into and out of Schipol Amsterdam after confirming with the NL consulate in DC that there are no restrictions (I am on the SOR registry in VA and no longer on probation). Had no problems whatsoever into Amsterdam, travelled over to France via Belgium (by rail) and back and travelled back to US without incident. I, of course, registered my trip with the DOJ SMART System per SORNA, and as a result, was stopped upon my return to the US (as I have been on every international trip I have taken). All three CBP officers, and all three interviewers were polite and professional (all asking almost the same questions), I am always up front and honest and tell them the reason I am stopped (They always ask if they know why I am being stopped – I get the black X on the auto processing system form) is because of my felony conviction from 15 years ago and the SOR. The process delays me about 15-20 minutes, and this time around they only did a very cursory inspection of my carryon, and did not even inspect my luggage (which they have done in the past). Overall this was the least invasive and least time it took for me to process back through the US system. A significant improvement over my earlier travel delays back into the US. So maybe things are actually getting a little better. The final CBP officer actually noticed that I have my TSA Precheck Clearance and asked me if I had tried to get my Global Entry Clearance, which he thought might get me through easier and quicker on future trips. I explained to him that unfortunately I tried that process, and because of the conviction, they declined me. I even submitted a re-review request based on the TSA clearance, but the Global Entry Program for some odd reason has an even higher and more strict threshold than TSA (which makes no sense whatsoever). I think he actually felt bad about that and agreed it made no sense. Maybe that’s why he decided to not go through my luggage. But overall it was a good travel experience overall both abroad and even returning to the US (this time).

      • Chuckie P

        Thanks for the tips on European travel. The UK however, does not allow SOR’s, so it is useless to begin there.
        I had similar experiences when coming back to Virginia. Professional and courteous (almost bored) CBP officers. A brief 15 minutes max delay returning to the US. Quick checks.
        Haiti’s consulate said I would have no problem traveling there, welcomed me to Haiti. However, Cusoms folks at the Haiti airport had other direction; flew me back to the US on the next plane. Much money lost.

    • Chuckie P

      Sorry, but travel insurance generally covers illnesses, death in the family, etc. but not rejection from a country. My experience is that travel insurance does not protect SOR’s from a canceled vacation.

  3. Terry

    When I was young I wanted to leave home so bad and when I did I couldn’t wait to come back. Stay in the USA and don’t worry about travel there is plenty here to see and do without the hassle. I am an RSO and off paper for @ 4 years and travel all over the US with no issues at all….just know the rules.

    • Tod

      You make a good point, however there are states in this country where you are not allowed to go to a mall, or a park, or many other places. Some require you to register as soon as you get into the State some don’t care, so it may be a pain in the ass to travel outside the country, but if you plan accordingly and do your research , There are dozens of countries around the world that we can visit, Explore and appreciate other cultures. As long as people stop living and not pursuing their dreams, they win. May have to tweak the dream a little bit, but there’s no way in hell being on the stupid registry is going to stop me from doing many or most of the things that I’ve always wanted to do

    • Anonymous

      It would be easier to teach astrophysics to my cat than understand and navigate the labyrinth of separate and overlapping SO laws across this once great nation. You can carefully read the state law and run afoul of some podunk Sheriff’s punitive interpretation of that law or some little towns residency restriction. But according to the strict liability nature of these laws you still get tossed in jail and put through Hell all over again. The European system is far more effective and respects individual liberty and privacy while protecting victims and keeping recidivism low.

  4. How long do you think it will take for the whole world to hear about dangerous predators traveling and it have little effect ! And I’m not just talking about the U.S. Now, the U.S. has and is helping shape and change other Countries and the World to follow their example of laws ! And it is HAPPENING, BIG TIME ! If you like to gamble, go ahead it’s your right ! Now the new IML stamp will, Target, Label, and Brand ex- offenders ! As a serious threat, to undo the impression is very difficult, especially pertaining to laws and Countries protecting its own !

    • Tod

      Trish, The US is doing everything it can to make the world know about SO’s, but there are many parts of this world that could care less about what the US does, especially with current administration. Schegen countries (most of) do not completely or agree at all with this process. It is everyone’s right to take a ‘gamble’ but there are still many places where there really isn’t that much of a gamble, at least for now. Let’s say you don’t want to take that gamble, there are several countries you can travel to that DON’T need a passport that are US territories – Puerto Rico, US VIrgin Islands, Guam and the Marshall Islands – it may not be the places you ‘want’ to go to, but an SO CAN travel internationally and not worry about being denied entry – as far as I know, you don’t need a PP to get in. The stamp makes it worse, yes, but it is at the back of the PP (as of today, no one has seen one PP with it on there), and I am hopeful that the lawsuits that have been filed will delay or stop it completely – all I know, RIGHT now, I DON’T have a stamp on mine and will continue to plan, live and travel to the many countries around the world where I AM welcome and not worry or care about those that I am not – I can’t control what they do, only what I do and think. I am and suggest everyone gets involved, donates, follows the cases, get educated and help as they can. Don’t get me wrong, this all sucks terribly, but like I said, I worry about what I CAN do, not what I can’t, and there are still options.

    • Tom

      So here are some of my latest travel experiences as a registrant. 2015 travel (cruise) to Italy, Greece, Turkey, France and Spain with no problems whatsoever. 2016 Travel to Brazil with Visa requirements suspended during olympics. I was stopped at passport control, placed under house arrest, detained at the airport in a locked room for 12 hours with an airport guard, then placed on the next Delta Flight back to US. All SORs are prohibited from travelling to Brazil which I found out later (Brazil Ministerial Order 876/2014). Dec 2016 a Virginia SOR was allowed entry to UK/London LHR for a wedding for a week. Mar 2017 another virginia SOR was denied entry to UK/London LHR for a cruise in which he had no plans to stay on land anywhere in the UK – held for 12 hours, placed on next flight back to US – neither had applied for a VISA. Hearing that, I applied for a VISA for my upcoming visit to the UK in 2018 and was denied a VISA and am barred from entering the UK since my single offense from 15 years ago with no reoffense and 10 yr suspended sentence with only 180 days of retained jurisdiction (Classified Non Violent Offense) was longer than a 4 year sentence. They also cited a general menace to society and referenced a second law for denying my VISA (V3.4(a) and V3.3). So I am travelling in a few months to Amsterdam and Paris, applied for a VISA via the Netherlands (Schengen Visa) – interviewed with the Consulate and notified them of my offense, registration, issues in Brazil and the UK, etc. They responded back within 4 days and were resolute, as an American Citizen with no travel restrictions, I am fully welcome to enter the Netherlands regardless of my past criminal record, current registration status, and they refused to process my VISA application (did not reject and did not deny my application) but were very clear that they wanted me to travel to the Netherlands with full assurance that I would have no problems entering their country. They even refunded all of my VISA non refundable application fees. So I am still a little worried but I would love to hear others travel stories since the best advice from the only law firm in the US who really provides advice is to seek as many stories as you can….and no I don’t work for them and have not used their services –
      but their advice is do not travel without a VISA regardless of the requirements for one –
      in many cases US citizens don’t require visas for travel – their advice –
      Always apply for a VISA.
      https://www.wksexcrimes.com/guide-to-international-traveling-for-registered-sex-offenders. Hope this helps others.

      • Tod

        Tom, I flew from Iceland (no problems getting in at all – DON’T FLY THRU CANADA!!!) directly to Amsterdam – Iceland is a great way to travel to EU! Once you are in a Schengen country, there is usually no passport check going into another schengen country – there wasn’t for me going into Amsterdam. So that was easy. I have heard that as long as you don’t need to get a VISA with a US passport, do NOT get one. It is automatically getting you flagged, so not sure what advice they gave you, I have never applied for one (been to 7 countries) and didn’t need it. As far as the UK, I flew into London (twice) and this was before I knew about all the restrictions, and was allowed in no questions. I have a F4 from 16 yrs ago, so not sure if they are restricting on the actual offense or not. If I were to go back, I would probably fly into another country, and take a train into London or the anywhere else in the UK. Again, once in a Schengen, especially on a train, MUCH easier to get into a country, not sure how tough it would be to get into Ireland that way, but I think a better chance. BTW, didn’t have any probs getting into the Czech Rep, and think eastern EU might be fine tooGood luck!!

      • Anonymous

        Have traveled to Germany, Switzerland, and France multiple times. The EU and Swiss don’t care about our draconian laws.

      • Tom

        Thanks Tod. But as I understand it you are flagged because of the SMART System and not because of the VISA. Per SORNA, once DOJ is notified, they notify DOS, who notifies INTERPOL, who notifies the host country of the arrival and departure dates and times. So with or without a VISA, they already know you are arriving. Again assuming you are still on the registry, SORNA requires every international trip to be registered at least 21 days in advance of the trip with all the required flight and travel itinerary information. And travelling without that notification is unto itself a violation of SORNA, so I make sure I register every single international trip I take. Thanks!

      • Anonymous

        I should add except for the UK (England, Northern Ireland, and Scotland). They will turn you away. They aren’t part of Schengen.

      • Jonathon

        I seems to me that the Netherland officials did not process your visa applications because no visa was needed to enter their Country with you being a US citizen. Same with France for US persons who want to visit for less than 90 days.
        People in Indonesia who want to visit France have to pay 1200 dollars for a visa to go there on vacation.

      • Tom

        Yes Thanks. I knew ahead of time that as a US citizen I did not need a VISA (just like the rest of the 26 or so Schengen Countries) – but advice from the US CBP/ICE officials after my detention experience in Brazil and legal advice I have received has recommended if in doubt – to apply for a VISA regardless. That way you are guaranteed an interview with a consulate or embassy official and can find out first hand if there are going to be issues when trying to enter a country before you travel. Especially since there is no clear or definitive information sources for those on the registry and with required SORNA notifications through Interpol. RTAG has a decent resource but even that has a disclaimer that their info is anecdotal at best. It appears now that Schengen travel is the least risky, but travel to the Far East is still pretty problematic with very inconsistent stories and experiences as is travel to the UK with as many people being stopped and barred as there are people entering without a problem. So my plans are to stick to Schengen Travel as I work through the process and court proceedings for removal from the registry (non-violent, low risk, one time offender).

  5. Tyler

    does anybody have any knowledge or first hand experience flying to Africa? I have a significant other who is a registered sex offender that isn’t on probation or parole, she is trying to become a travel agent and so traveling would be part of her job and we are trying to go to Cape Town with a bunch of other people. she was already denied at the Mexican airport and sent back home and made to feel like total crap and I’m trying to avoid this cause it makes me feel horrible to see her treated this way. she’s done her time and it just feels like the punishment never ends and now the IML being passed just makes things worse. from my understanding the main reason countries deny you is cause what the U.S. is sending other countries when they inform them you are going to be entering their country.

  6. David

    Although this is an old post, I’ll go ahead and add my 2 cents.

    I have entered and exited South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines this year with no problems.

    Recently I was traveling and heard that IML came into effect October 31st. I already had my travel plans made and was panicking about whether I would be able to go or not. I tried to use the email address provided on the DHLS website, but never got an answer. In the end, I called my senator and had his office find out for me.

    Unfortunately, they have passed IML but have not given any indication when and how the law will be enforced. Based on my what I have heard from my senator’s office, they said that the passports won’t be stamped until they are up for renewal. That of course could change at a moment’s notice.

    I urge people to try to find out what is going on and to share with others.

    D

    • What is wrong with you and what you are talking about is your exception ! The laws are changing to prevent registered citizens from traveling! Period ! The new identifier will increase the likelihood of denial by a great % ! Period ! Who can travel not knowing if all time and money is wasted and live as a fugitive ! The law was not meant or established to oppress people, but set them free ! Period ! IML will and has caused severe difficulties and losses ! and will continue to get worse ! Someone always pays a price when laws run amuck ! Do don’t be narrow minded or downplay any IML laws or SORNA etc ! It has and is getting worse for all registered people ! Do not be fooled or delute others ! ! !

      • Yes things will eventually change, like the Nazis after millions died and suffered and they were forced to stop ! It Ended ! But not one moment Sooooooner ! Those who traveled are able to do so, the entent for the new laws are to bring New bondage !…..if we tell ourselves it will be ok and we do not get involved to STOP IML and SORNA etc ! IT WILL GET WORSE ! IN ALL AREAS OF OUR LIVES !

    • a man without a country

      A few days ago, I was going to fly back to the US via SK from TH. I could not even get a boarding pass at check-in at the TH airport. I was told I should find another carrier (not Korean Air) and another route. I was also asked if I were travelling alone. (Of course, in my experience Koreans are a bit more retentive than some Asian countries.) Oddly enough, this would have been my fifth trip back to the US in five years, each time following the same route TH to SK to US. Thus, going “home and coming back to my adopted homeland” I’ve been through SK airport TRANSITING, folks! TRANSITING! eight times. No dice this time.

  7. Jonathon

    This is an update on my friend who left friday to fly to Indonesia to see his potential future wife.
    after landing in Singapore to change planes to Surabaya Indo he was stopped by the the Officials in the Airport who would not allow him to board his plane to Indonesia,, I strongly suspect because he would have been wasting his plane right to Indonesia where they would have kept him on that plane until it took back off to Singapore. He just landed in Atlanta one hour ago. he has worn the same clothes since Friday and has not seen his baggage. So a word to the wise. Don’t go to Asia on a plane.
    I sent an email to the Chinese embassy to inquire if I would be allowed a visa to go with my wife to see her parents. I will keep you informed of the outcome.

  8. Tod S

    I have heard people being denied entry into London and Ireland in the airports, I was not, and I entered twice. I am not sure if they look at the actual offense or what, but if there is any doubt, would fly into another schengen country and they take a train, or seperate flight – they usually don’t check passports within schengen countries – flying from Iceland to Amsterdam, they didn’t. Air travel is the most controlled, trains are easier – no gaurantees in any of them, do your homework.

  9. PG

    I’ve traveled to Germany, Switzerland, and France without issue. My offense isn’t even illegal there.

    Returning to the USA though was a nightmare and I was treated like a criminal. My passport was placed in a red bag and I was led to a secure detainment area in the inbound passport control area and questioned about my trip then eventually released.

    I haven’t traveled internationally since the new passport rules came into effect and my passport hasn’t been replaced with one bearing any mark.

  10. Maestro

    You mention being “out of the system”, does that mean you are off the registry or just off of supervision? Because the way I see it, if you’re out of the system entirely (fulfilled your registration time) why would you have to keep registering during travel?
    Could you elaborate on this a bit more?

    • Tod S

      I am no longer on probation and served my time, but due to SORNA, I have to continue to register for 10 years after I completed my term, which most have to do (maybe that might change with a major non ruling today by scotus). So as long as I have to register, I am required to notify of my international travel

    • a man without a country

      On “out of the system,” I moved overseas after being released from probation. I traveled back to the US eleven times in fifteen years. Only the last two or three trips back have been a headache with a brief questioning at a couple points of arrival (airports) upon first landing. I do not have an address in the States anymore although when I renewed a DL in a new state (where my parent had moved), the new DL in the new state caused some problems and checks to see if I resided there. The two or three delays after landing back in the US weren’t that bad–humiliating a bit because the airport staff pushing my wheelchair was standing a few feet away while a blue shirt/brown shirt questioned me from behind a desk. The biggest headache was a couple weeks ago when I tried to make a trip back and was refused TRANSITING in another Asian airport (with their nat’l airline) on my way back to the States. In the end, I was not even allowed to board my first flight in my adopted homeland

    • Tom

      Concur with Tod. While you may be finished with supervision (Probation), if you are still on the registry, SORNA requires that every international trip you take must be registered with the Dept of Justice’s SMART System. You must register your trip 21 days in advance of your trip. DOJ notifies Dept of State, who notifies INTERPOL, who then notifies the countries you intend to visit – which is how they know you are arriving. You must provide details of your travel itinerary, flight plans, hotel plans, travel plans, etc. I have found that the system allows you to enter generic information (ie if you don’t have firm hotel plans yet – it still allows you to enter the trip) for just about everything but your flight arrival and departure plans – which are required. Just remember that providing false info is a crime unto itself so I don’t recommend trying to fake out the system with dummy information. Also if you fail to register your trip, you are committing a crime. But this is how and why the host country knows you are coming, when you are coming, and when you are leaving.

  11. Fred

    That is very encouraging. We recently had a question from someone about this. I wish I had known to direct him to this article. Thank you for sharing. I hope to do some similar traveling in a few years.

  12. Bob

    Thank you for this info. I’m glad to see that there are so many places you can visit without worrying about being sent back (that’s my only worry, being sent back after all that flying and money spent) . I agree with you with some of the places that are troubling like Mexico. I’ve been there many times before and yes, at least to me it is not impressive at all and dont really care for it – as well as the other places you’ve mentioned. I’m glad Europe is pretty tolerant because thats where I want to go. Especially the places you’ve mentioned.

    I only have one question. You said you have been to London but give warning of the UK. I thought the entire UK was off limits and would send you back? Which of course, the UK includes London ? Unless you mean taking a train to the UK from Europe?

    Like you, I can’t wait as well untill all this crap is over and the registry dies. Nothing is forever and it will eventually meet its end. Hopefully sooner than later.

    • Fred

      I am wondering about that myself. I think he means take a train from Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK that you will already be in, into the Republic of Ireland, which is not part of the UK.

      • gene

        Im a level 3 which a rouge sheriff imposed on me after I returned back home from London Ontario 5 years ago ,they put a level 1 on me there, Ive been kicked out of 2 churches , I lost a girlfriend after I told her about the wicked witch that lied to the cops there in London that I had molested her granddaughter its a long ugly story as all of you know. Ive not tried to travel abroad ,but I do know if you catch a flight from New York to Shannon Ireland airport youll be in the R. of Ireland, then you can travel to Europe from there, I dont know if the R of I. will turn you away . its been 15 years that my deceased wife and I did it. good luck all of you .

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