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Allows felons

Denied If Discovered

Denied up front

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Countries that Don't Allow Felons 2024

When preparing to visit (or immigrate to) another country, one might have to go through the process of applying for a visa from the destination country. A visa is a document, usually stamped in a person’s passport, that gives that person official permission to enter a particular sovereign country. The process of applying for a visa varies from country to country. Some countries do not allow people who have a felony on their criminal records to obtain a visa, so they are unable to visit.

It is notable that the destination country may have different regulations regarding what constitutes a felony. This can impact the granting or denial of a visa. For example, a traveler from Australia hoping to visit China may have committed a criminal act that is considered a regular offense in Australia, but if China defines that same act as a felony, the Chinese government may still deny that visitor a visa.


In Australia, tourists who wish to visit but who have a criminal record must first apply for a visa. Certain offenses can generally disqualify someone from obtaining permission, but whether or not a visa is an issue is up to the discretion of the official reviewing the paperwork. If the offense occurred a long time in the past and the person has been in good standing since then, a visa may still be granted. However, if your crime resulted in a prison sentence of a year or longer, you will likely not be allowed to immigrate to Australia.


Canada reserves the right to refuse entrance to any would-be visitors who have a criminal history. This includes those who have committed felonies, primarily if the offense resulted in a 10-year prison sentence. However, if the person was officially pardoned or considered to be rehabilitated (according to the Canadian law definition of the term), they may still be allowed to enter the country. Similarly, people who wish to immigrate permanently are subject to extra scrutiny if they've committed crimes such as theft, assault, manslaughter, dangerous driving, DIU, or certain drug-related offenses. The potential immigrant must wait until five years after their sentence is completed and demonstrate to Canadian authorities that they've been reformed.


Japan allows visits of up to 90 days without a visa. However, a visa is required for a longer stay, and visitors who have been imprisoned for more than a year (or have a drug-related conviction) are likely to be denied a visa. Similarly, Japan has a zero-tolerance policy against immigrants with drug-related convictions.

New Zealand

Those wishing to immigrate to New Zealand must not have committed a crime that resulted in imprisonment in their original country of 12 months or longer within the past ten years. Those sentenced to five or more years in prison are also not allowed, no matter how long ago the sentence was handed down.


One must fill out a visa application and list any criminal convictions on the form to visit Russia. If severe enough, those convictions can disqualify someone from obtaining a visa.

United Kingdom

Visitors to the United Kingdom who have an American passport do not need to apply for a visa. However, for people with passports from a country for which the UK requires an advance visa, the government will conduct a background check. The permit may be declined if the officials reviewing the application believe that the person intends to commit harm while in the UK. Additionally, the immigration official at the border may refuse entrance.

United States

The United States may have the world's largest foreign-born population and attract immigrants from all over the globe, but that doesn't mean it lacks entry requirements. Those who have been convicted of offenses that would be defined as aggravated felonies in the United States—which is loosely defined as any offense that merited imprisonment for a year or longer in the person's home country—are unlikely to be granted entrance or permanent residency.

Countries that will deny entry to felons if discovered

Some countries have laws prohibiting people who've been convicted of a felony, but don't actively screen visitors' criminal records. In these countries, a person convicted of a felony may be allowed in on good faith, but kicked out if and when their criminal record is discovered.

  • A criminal record will not result in an individual being refused entry to these countries unless that person's felony is entered into the Interpol database and they are deemed a security risk. Border officials are unlikely to ask about a person's criminal record upon their arrival.

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ArgentinaDenied up front
AustraliaDenied up front
AustriaAllows felons
BelgiumAllows felons
BrazilDenied If Discovered
CambodiaDenied If Discovered
CanadaDenied up front
ChileDenied If Discovered
ChinaDenied up front
CroatiaAllows felons
CubaDenied up front
Czech RepublicAllows felons
DenmarkAllows felons
Dominican RepublicDenied If Discovered
EgyptDenied If Discovered
EstoniaAllows felons
EthiopiaDenied If Discovered
FinlandAllows felons
FranceAllows felons
GermanyAllows felons
GreeceAllows felons
Hong KongDenied If Discovered
HungaryAllows felons
IcelandAllows felons
IndiaDenied up front
IndonesiaDenied If Discovered
IranDenied up front
IrelandDenied If Discovered
IsraelDenied up front
ItalyAllows felons
JapanDenied up front
KenyaDenied up front
LatviaAllows felons
LithuaniaAllows felons
LuxembourgAllows felons
MacauDenied up front
MalaysiaDenied If Discovered
MaltaAllows felons
MexicoDenied If Discovered
MoroccoDenied If Discovered
NepalDenied If Discovered
NetherlandsAllows felons
New ZealandDenied up front
NorwayAllows felons
PeruDenied If Discovered
PhilippinesDenied If Discovered
PolandAllows felons
PortugalAllows felons
SingaporeDenied If Discovered
SlovakiaAllows felons
SloveniaAllows felons
South AfricaDenied up front
South KoreaDenied If Discovered
SpainAllows felons
SwedenAllows felons
SwitzerlandAllows felons
TaiwanDenied up front
TanzaniaDenied If Discovered
TunisiaDenied If Discovered
TurkeyDenied If Discovered
UkraineDenied If Discovered
United Arab EmiratesDenied If Discovered
United KingdomDenied up front
United StatesDenied up front
showing: 64 rows

How many countries deny felons up front?

The names of 16 countries deny felons up front.

Which countries deny felons up front?

The following countries deny felons up front: Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Cuba, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Macau, New Zealand, South Africa, Taiwan, United Kingdom and United States.

How many countries deny felons if discovered?

The names of 22 countries deny felons if discovered.

Which countries deny felons if discovered?

The following countries deny felons up front: Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine and United Arab Emirates.

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